Seagrass meadows are being given a helping hand by scientists from the South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI) off Grange, near Adelaide. Completed works has seen 2000 hessian sandbags position in place as part of a trial aimed at rehabilitating Adelaide’s ailing seagrass meadows.
Sustainability, Environment and Conservation Minister Ian Hunter said the trial was being carried out by SARDI with funding from the Adelaide Mt Lofty Ranges Natural Resource Management Board.
“Previous trials of this process at Grange have shown great promise,” he said.
“The metropolitan coast is quite exposed with high levels of water and sand movement, so traditional methods of transplanting seagrass seedlings don’t work because they simply get washed away.
“When dropped into the water, the biodegradable hessian sand bags allow more seagrass seeds to take root and grow – and continue to grow.”
Agriculture, Food and Fisheries Minister Leon Bignell said trials using biodegradable hessian bags have been under way for some years, and monitoring shows that rehabilitated areas are still growing more than five and a half years later.
“Seagrass is vital to the health of South Australia’s marine habitat. Seagrass meadows provide food and feeding grounds for many marine animals, including fish such as King George whiting and garfish.
“Yet, during the past 50 years, more than 5200ha of seagrass had been lost from the Adelaide coastline. Unfortunately, increasing coastal development and runoff from stormwater, wastewater and industry are to blame.”
SARDI divers will return to the site in six months to evaluate the success of the latest trial.