On October 6, 2023, a new $15 million program was announced in Australia to restore coastal habitat whose degradation is adversely affecting the Great Barrier Reef.
The program will rehabilitate and restore blue carbon ecosystems including seagrasses, mangroves, saltmarsh, and wetlands.
These important ecosystems act as carbon storages and filters for nutrients and sediments, improving the quality of water entering the Great Barrier Reef.
They’re also vital habitat for precious Reef creatures like dugongs and marine turtles.
Special Envoy for the Great Barrier Reef, Senator Nita Green, said “We know there is still a lot of work to do, but we’re committed to protecting and restoring the Great Barrier Reef for generations to come.”
“These grants will allow us to build resilience and future-proof the Reef in the face of climate change,” she added. “By working together with Traditional Owners and our partners in science, tourism and agriculture, we can keep our Reef beautiful and vibrant for all to enjoy.”
The funded projects are intended to:
- rehabilitate degraded or previously destroyed Reef coastal ecosystems;
- boost community participation and partnership building, including involvement with First Nations peoples; and
- improve the health and resilience of Reef coastal habitats and ecosystems, accelerating the progress towards water quality targets.
Minister for the Environment and Water, Tanya Plibersek, said “The Great Barrier Reef is one of our most precious natural assets. That’s why we are investing in programs to restore and protect the Reef for our kids and grandkids.”
“Blue carbon ecosystems are critical in protecting the Reef from run-off as well as providing important habitat for protected species such as dugongs, migratory shorebirds, and marine turtles. With the support of First Nations and conservation groups, this program will encourage community participation to improve the health and resilience of the Reef,” she added.
“Together with our record $1.2 billion investment and increased climate action, we are committed to protecting the Reef and supporting the 64,000 jobs that rely on it,” Plibersek concluded.
Up to $2 million per project will be available to eligible applicants through the new grants program.
Applications for the 2023–24 Reef Coastal Restoration Program grant round are open until 5:00pm AEDT Monday, November 20, 2023.
Photo of Great Barrier Reef via Adobe Stock.