Envirotech Blog

Nature Conservancy Oyster Reef Project

05/04/2022 12:00:00 AM / by Steve Andrews, PhD

Envirotech met with Wandiny Aboriginal Corp, Nature Conservancy, Noosa Integrated Catchment Association, Noosa Environmental Education Hub and Noosa Community Biosphere Association to discuss potential linkages and partnerships with the Oyster Reef Regeneration Project happening in the Noosa River. The Noosa River, like most of the estuary and bay ecosystems in Australia had large oyster reefs before they were extracted for building and food in the early 1900’s.

Nature Conservancy has been granted over $20 million dollars for Oyster Reef regeneration in Australia and is leading the way for this critical habitat to come back. We discussed the potential training of Kabi Kabi leaders through our Healing Sea Country program to work on oyster reef regeneration and the vision of Traditional Custodians leading the regeneration of their sea country. We also discussed the potential of aligning our practicals so that students can assist with the project.


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With the impacts of the recent floods on our estuaries and on Moreton Bay becoming more and more evident, it is imperative that we restore and regenerate the Oyster reefs. The impact of the amount of sediment and pollution entering the bay is potentially catastrophic for the seagrass beds, corals and marine animals. The last major flood to hit the bay in 2011 led to 80% seagrass mortality and it took 7 years to regenerate. These floods have 5-10 times the sediment load, so what will happen to the bay in the coming months? We urgently need oyster reefs to filter and clean the bay and the estuaries of our bioregion!


‘Globally 85% of oyster-dominated shellfish ecosystems have become extinct as a result of overharvesting, disease, and poor water quality.

Bringing back Australia’s most threatened marine ecosystem, these native shellfish reefs, also bring back a wealth of benefits for people and nature. This includes:

  • improved local fish populations as beds and reefs act as fish nurseries
  • better water clarity due to the filtration power of shellfish
  • extra feeding habitat for threatened migratory shorebirds
  • an overall increase in biodiversity’ - TNC



Noosa oyster ecosystem restoration project 

The Nature Conservancy Australia

The Nature Conservancy, Noosa Shire Council, the Noosa community, and support from the Thomas Foundation and Australian Marine Conservation Society are working together to rebuild oyster beds and reefs in the Noosa River.

The project will improve habitat for fish and marine life, filter the water, and help to keep Noosa’s much-loved estuary clean and clear for locals and visitors to enjoy. With support from our partners, we’re planning to double the size of the planned reef from 1 to 2 hectares. We’ve also signed formal partnerships with three local groups to help deliver the community-led Noosa oyster gardening project and engagement activities in secondary and junior schools across the Noosa catchment.


Meet our partners

Oyster Gardening Project

UWG Archives - Page 5 of 12 - Noosa Integrated Catchment Association

TNC partnered with NICA to facilitate oyster gardening in Noosa. Oyster gardening is an activity whereby locals grow out local oysters, provide by the project, in baskets, or ‘oyster gardens’ suspended from jetties. The volunteer gardeners care for the gardens, keep citizen science records of their experience and become better educated about oysters and oyster restoration in the process.  Once the juvenile oysters are large enough to survive on their own, they are carefully placed onto the oyster reef patches in the project’s restoration sites. These oysters help kick start ecosystem recovery.


Senior Schools Project

Noosa EEHubTNC continued its partnership with Noosa Environmental Education Hub (EEHub) to deliver the Senior Schools Project. 

This project engages local secondary schools in curriculum-centred student activities, which celebrate the values of the Noosa River, the role that oyster ecosystem restoration plays, and the important connection between the Kabi Kabi Nation.  Dalia Mikhail has been working closely with local schools to identify activities, which will be rolled out to schools during 2022.


Junior Schools Project

Noosa Community Biosphere Association | Our People - Our Places - Our Future

TNC continued its partnership with the Noosa Community Biosphere Association (NCBA) to deliver the Noosa Junior Schools and Community Awareness Project. 


This project engages local junior schools and the general Noosa public in actions which lead to local participation in on-ground activities, which raise awareness about the oyster restoration project and the importance of environmental restoration.


Want to collaborate?
Get in touch with us: www.envirotech.edu.au / info@envirotech.edu.au



Topics: Environment, oyster, marine life, natureconservancy

Steve Andrews, PhD

Written by Steve Andrews, PhD

Dr Steve has a PhD in Marine Education & Ecopsychology and BSc in Marine Conservation and Resource Studies. He has been teaching marine and terrestrial ecology at the University of QLD for the past 6 years and is passionate about inspiring new innovative ideas for regenerating our ocean ecosystems. Steve is also a passionate underwater photographer and touring singer/songwriter. He believes that creativity is essential for telling stories and inspiring people to heal and restore our land and sea.

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