Sunshine Coast Council’s Blue Heart project, which aims to further understand Blue Carbon ecosystems and undertake restoration, has received an additional $2 million through the Federal Government’s Blue Carbon Ecosystem Restoration Grants.
Sunshine Coast Council was one of five project recipients to receive the funding, alongside its grant partners.
The grants support on-ground projects that restore degraded coastal wetland ecosystems in Australia.
This new federal grant is in addition to a further $1.5 million in in-kind contributions that is being provided by partners.
Sunshine Coast Council Mayor, Mark Jamieson, said the Blue Heart was one of five successful Blue Carbon restoration projects the Federal Government was supporting across Australia.
“Blue Carbon is carbon that is stored in marine and coastal ecosystems and includes carbon stored in the bodies of plants and animals as well in debris and soil,” Mayor Jamieson said.
“Our Blue Heart will contribute to further progressing our collective understanding of Blue Carbon ecosystems and the benefits they provide to biodiversity, fishing, water quality, recreation and coastal protection.
“As Blue Carbon ‘farming’ is a potential economic opportunity for Blue Heart private landholders, the grant funding provides a timely opportunity to demonstrate Blue Carbon restoration and the associated benefits.
“The Blue Heart is another way Council is planning and taking action in response to climate change, as the Blue Heart project area will be further impacted by sea level rise, which was identified in the development of our Coastal Hazard Adaptation Strategy.
“It’s a crucial aspect of achieving our vision of Australia’s most sustainable region – healthy, smart, creative.”
Sunshine Coast Council Environment and Liveability Portfolio Councillor, Maria Suarez, said the funding was a great encouragement to the project and reinforced just how important the Blue Heart was to the region as one of the major green spaces.
“The project to restore Blue Carbon ecosystems on public land in the northern section of the Blue Heart will be implemented over the next four years (2022-2025) with a focus on restoring degraded or destroyed Blue Carbon ecosystems,” Cr Suarez said.
“Council plans to do this by implementing various ecosystem restoration activities, including introducing tidal waters onto selected public lands and working with nature as it transitions from former canelands to Blue Carbon ecosystems.
“We’ll now be able to implement this across a larger space due to our most recent Blue Heart land acquisition along River Road, Maroochy River, extending Council’s conservation footprint across the Sunshine Coast.”