One of only five recipients to share in a $9.5 million coastal blue carbon ecosystem restoration investment from the Federal Government, the project focuses on re-introducing salt-water tidal flows to degraded wetlands through the removal of bund walls, leading to blue carbon sequestration, and improved biodiversity and water quality.
Blue carbon is carbon stored in coastal and marine ecosystems. Sequestered 30-50 times faster than terrestrial forests, blue carbon is globally recognised as a key nature-based solution to tackle climate change while simultaneously building resilience to environmental pressures such as storm surges and sea level rises.
With increasing international and domestic demand for blue carbon credits, the Mungalla Blue Carbon project provides the Nywaigi People with an opportunity to participate in Australia’s growing environmental markets through the potential creation of carbon credits and reef credits. The project is working in partnership with the Nywaigi people and the Great Barrier Reef Foundation to understand the potential for the project to be registered to generate Australian Carbon Credit Units (ACCUs) in 2023 under the Clean Energy Regulator’s recently released Tidal Restoration of Blue Carbon Ecosystems method.
The project is now in initial stages with activity underway including the formation of a project reference group; hydrodynamic modelling of the wetland; and the establishment of baseline assessments for carbon sequestration and water quality, as well as co-benefit metrics such as birdlife and aquatic fauna. A critical component is engaging First Nations rangers in project co-design and training to undertake ongoing project monitoring and maintenance.
Greening Australia’s Director of Reef Aid Dr Lynise Wearne says the Mungalla Blue Carbon project is an exciting milestone as Greening Australia continues to pioneer innovative nature-based solutions that benefit communities, economies and the environment:
“Blue carbon ecosystems can sequester two to four times more carbon than terrestrial forests on an area basis. They also provide high priority habitat and support numerous ecosystem services. The Mungalla Blue Carbon project is another powerful way for Greening Australia to help tackle the environmental challenges we face today.
“But the true strength of this project lies in its capacity to bring together a diverse group of locals – including the Traditional Owners of the landscape we are working in – to ensure the environmental, social and economic benefits flow back into the community for decades to come.”
Nywaigi Traditional Custodian and Director of Mungalla Aboriginal Business Corporation Jacob Cassady says he is looking forward to strengthening and expanding the existing relationship with Greening Australia as the project partners work together to care for Sea Country:
“Our people have been on this country and utilising its resources for thousands of years – it’s part of who we are and that’s why it’s so important that we keep looking after Country.
“With Country, everything is connected. This project is about seeing the intrinsic relationships between the health of people and of nature, the connections between land and sea, and it’s about tackling environmental challenges with a combination of traditional and new scientific knowledge. It demonstrates the role that First Nations peoples can and should play in co-designing innovative environmental solutions to heal Country.”
The Mungalla Blue Carbon project is being delivered by Greening Australia through its Reef Aid program, in partnership with Nywaigi Traditional Owners, the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water, the Australian Government’s Reef Trust and the Great Barrier Reef Foundation, Birdlife Australia, TropWATER, and Canopy (Greening Australia’s environmental markets business).