Greening Australia has welcomed the announcement by the Australian Government of an additional $5 million of matched funding for Reef Aid to help restore priority wetlands of the Great Barrier Reef.
The government will match any donations raised by Greening Australia through appeals and private donors dollar-for-dollar up to $5 million.
Working in partnership with landholders, the organisation is restoring 700 hectares of priority coastal wetlands in support of the Reef 2050 plan.
Onground work kicked off last year, with the start to restoration of 200 hectares of wetlands across two sites, the West Haughton River wetlands and Palm Creek, to improve water quality on the Reef.
“The results so far have exceeded all expectations. Over three kilometres of weed choked channels cleared in three weeks, and native bird and fish species already making a comeback less than two months later,” says Brendan Foran, CEO of Greening Australia.
Before and after shots of the first Reef Aid wetland restoration taken just three weeks apart
“We have shown that we have the ability and capacity to effectively restore wetland areas quickly and with remarkable effect. We are delighted that the government has recognised the benefits our work is already delivering for the Reef by providing additional funding for Reef Aid. The new funding from the Reef Trust will allow us to expand and ramp up our efforts to improve water quality on our World Heritage Reef.”
But with over 50 per cent of the wetlands in in the Great Barrier Reef catchment lost since European settlement, Greening Australia is calling on all of Australia to throw their weight behind the effort.
“Last year we launched a public appeal to raise $20 million for the first stage of Reef Aid. The response we have had from government and private donors like Virgin Australia and the Ian Potter Foundation to date has been excellent but the scale of the problem is huge and will take many years to solve. To really make a difference we need the rest of Australia to help out too.”
“With sufficient funding and by working in partnership with the government, landholders and local communities, we can have a significant impact on the health of our Great Barrier Reef.”
“It has also been a pleasure to work with such committed and capable people from organisations like Conservation Volunteers Australia, Birdlife Australia, TropWater at James Cook University and Terrain and NQ Dry Tropics NRMs. We look forward to working with many others across the Reef catchment as we expand our work.”
Other major supporters of Reef Aid include Accor Hotels, Prior Family Foundations and Brains Design.
“No problem is too big, you just need the right people and the right attitude to get started.”
To donate to Reef Aid visit www.reefaid.org.au