ECF is pioneering the first local, citizen science, shellfish restoration project in the Port River. This project is part of broader efforts to restore shellfish reefs dominated by the native Ostrea angasi flat oyster which once existed along 1500km of South Australia's coastline. Today, oyster reefs are amongst the most endangered marine systems on earth - with 85% global loss over the past 150 years.
|📸:ECF volunteers and BSAC divers deploying oyster bags in the Port River.|
Oyster restoration projects provide an opportunity to restore the ecological foundations of marine ecosystems. When oysters cement together, their aggregations form complex habitat creating homes for a great diversity of invertebrates, boosting the density and diversity of the little animals that feed the broader coastal food web. But that’s not all, oysters feed by filtering particles from the water; in doing so, they improve water quality and encourage neighboring seagrass to grow. A single oyster filters up-to 150 litres of water a day. Now, can you imagine the water filtration capacity of an entire reef! Nature really does do it best.
While the Port River and Barker Inlet Estuary is home to numerous shellfish, the once plentiful native angasi flat oyster is now found only occasionally. Angasis have been classified as “functionally extinct", not only in the Port River but throughout South Australia. Restoring angasis to the Port River will provide substrate for existing shellfish, improve water quality, help stabilise shorelines, and enhance the ecology of the estuary.
|Students deploy their rig in the Port River.|
|Final touches on rig assembly.|
|Rig built by students affectionately named "Cavan" after the tech teacher.|