Author: Sunshine Coast Council, Queensland Department of Environment and Science, and Unitywater
A pioneering collaborative partnership between Sunshine Coast Council, the Queensland Government’s Department of Environment and Science, and water and sewerage services provider – Unitywater, will see wetlands within the Maroochy River floodplain on the Sunshine Coast become a world leading showcase for environmental innovation.
The Blue Heart project focuses on restoring more than 5,000 hectares of natural floodplains in the Maroochy River catchment. It is a critical flood storage area which protects the natural and built environment from flooding impacts. It is also influenced by tidal inundation and projected sea level rise. This restoration activity will encourage the return of native vegetation and local fauna to the area as well as improving water quality in the Maroochy River.
Blue Heart Sunshine Coast seeks to manage land within the Maroochy floodplain, which is already impacted by tidal inundation, as it continues to transition to a regionally-significant complex of estuarine wetland and floodplain ecosystems due to climate change and projected sea-level rise. This transition will provide opportunity for new land management practices and funding sources, such as blue carbon farming.
Yandina Creek Wetland Trail Walk and Bird Hide. Photo: Unity Water.
Blue carbon refers to the carbon stored in the plants and soils of coastal wetlands. Its a priority area of research and environmental market development for the Queensland Government’s Land Restoration Fund. It is also a potential new carbon farming method where Queensland has a distinct advantage due to our large coastline.
In addition to environmental, economic and community benefits Blue Heart Sunshine Coast is also an important opportunity to work with representatives of the Kabi Kabi First Nations peoples. The partnership will examine new opportunities which celebrate and respect Kabi Kabi heritage and recognise the cultural significance of the Maroochy River catchment to their community.
An Australian-first collaboration – Blue Heart Sunshine Coast, is a promising wetlands initiative leading to positive outcomes for the environment, community and economy.
Black Neck Stork. Photo: Geoff Hunter.