Fishing conservation charity OzFish Unlimited and researchers from UNSW are calling on Lake Mac residents and recreational fishers to do their bit for local seagrass meadows.
A restoration initiative aptly named, Operation Posidonia is hosting an official launch on Saturday 26 June at Lake Macquarie Yacht Club, and the community is encouraged to get involved in the habitat restoration project.
The launch event will feature scientists fishing personalities and project partners, and provides an opportunity for the local community to learn about the project and how to get involved.
Community members are needed to collect Posidonia seagrass shoots along the shoreline which wash up after strong winds and storms. The volunteers then place them in coordinated spots to be replanted by the research team in areas ideal for their survival and where Posidonia has been damaged.
The project follows on from a successful pilot in Port Stephens led by Associate Professor Adriana Vergés and her research team.
“In Port Stephens, we saw an amazing response from the local community,” she said.
“Our Operation Posidonia ‘storm squad’ volunteers collected over 1500 Posidonia shoots over one year, which we replanted underwater. This allowed us to re-establish lost seagrass meadows that underpin biodiversity and fisheries.
“Lake Macquarie is a really exciting new venture because we know the community value the Lake for its fishing and clean water, to which the health of seagrass meadows are undeniably linked.”
Seagrass meadows have become severely threatened by human activities and have been declining on average at the same rate as coral reefs – one soccer field every half hour.
“The Lake essentially acts as a big basin for the region, capturing stormwater run-off, sediment from erosion, and in some instances contamination,” OzFish Project Manager for Coastal NSW, Angus Fanning said.
“By working on restoring these endangered seagrass meadows, we are essentially enhancing a vegetation community that buffers these impacts and in doing so, creating a more resilient and healthier ecosystem for everyone.”
To find out how you can get involved, head to Lake Macquarie Yacht Club on Saturday 26 June from 12pm.
Registrations are essential so head here to secure your place.