Greening the Blue

News article |

Volunteers planted more than 500 seagrass sprigs in the shallows at Brownlow Beach near Kingscote during a community seagrass planting festival last week.

Natural Resources Kangaroo Island’s Coast and Marine Technical Officer Kym Lashmar said regular sightings of sand octopus, crested weedfish and pebble crabs meant there was always something for the younger participants to be excited about. ”Seagrass meadows provide refuge, foraging and nursery habitat for a diverse range of fish and invertebrate species. Seagrass also plays a vital role in carbon processing, nutrient recycling and helps to stabilize the sea floor,” Mr Lashmar said.

“Loss of seagrass often results in an increase in wave height and intensity, which leads to coastal erosion.”

Members of the Australian Government’s Green Army, who are studying conservation and land management while gaining on-ground experience through Kangaroo Island’s natural resources programs, also helped with the planting.

Natural Resource Management Board Presiding Member Richard Trethewey said seagrass meadows were incredibly important for the marine environment.

“Over the past 60 years, several thousand hectares of seagrass meadows have been lost from Western Cove, but this program is helping to restore some of the areas that have been lost,” Mr Trethewey said.

“Results from previous plantings have been extremely encouraging, with about 80 per cent of all seagrass sprigs surviving, and growing to more than twice their size in just two years.

“Over time, these sprigs should expand to a point where they form new meadows.

“We’d like to thank all the volunteers who took part on the day.”

This was the fourth seagrass planting event, supported by the Kangaroo Island Natural Resources Management Board, through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Programme.

The planting site is in a habitat protection area of the Encounter Marine Park. To find out more about Kangaroo Island’s marine parks, visit http://www.environment.sa.gov.au/marineparks/find-a-park/kangaroo-island

If you would like to know more about the seagrass program, visit the NRKI website http://www.landscape.sa.gov.au/ki/home or drop into the natural resources centre, 37 Dauncey Street, Kingscote.

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