Partnering to connect communities to Corio Bay’s coastal ecosystems

GeelongPort is delighted to announce a new partnership with Deakin University’s Blue Carbon Lab to deliver a Citizen Science Program aiming to connect our GeelongPort community to Corio Bay’s coastal ecosystems and climate change research.

The two-year program will aim to help:

  1. educate the GeelongPort community and raise awareness of sustainability practices,
  2. collect publishable data on the ability of Australian coastal wetlands to mitigate climate change, and
  3. positively contribute to health, wellbeing and team-bonding of GeelongPort staff.

Dr Lisa Mills, Environment and Sustainability Manager, said, ‘We are committed to meaningfully contributing to scientific research into Blue Carbon Ecosystems and excited to be partnering with Blue Carbon Lab to deliver this Citizen Science Program in Corio Bay.

‘Initiatives such as this one set us on our way to becoming Australia’s most sustainable bulk port and contributing to the long-term sustainability and resilience of our region.’

GeelongPort is surrounded by significant ecosystems, and Corio Bay has a wealth of blue carbon ecosystems (saltmarshes, mangroves and seagrass beds) that are important for mitigating climate change as they serve as natural carbon sinks and biodiversity hotspots.

‘It is important that GeelongPort employees and the local community understands their value and advocates for their protection for climate change mitigation and adaptation’, explains Professor Peter Macreadie, head of Deakin’s Blue Carbon Lab.

The partnership between GeelongPort and Blue Carbon Lab supports the delivery of  GeelongPort’s Environment Strategy and key focus on responsible management and protection of Corio Bay. It will also help transform GeelongPort employees and community members into citizen scientists, who will help advocate for the protection and restoration of Victoria’s coastal wetlands and contribute to local blue carbon research.

The program is seeking to engage 150+ GeelongPort staff and community members in the program.

GeelongPort is currently seeking registrations of interest from community members, #BlueCarbonArmy participants, to commit to one day of research over the next two years.

#BlueCarbonArmy participants will join Deakin University scientists in a field campaign throughout Corio Bay to learn about coastal wetlands (aka blue carbon ecosystems) and how to monitor their carbon stores and climate mitigation potential.

Data collection will include surveying saltmarsh species, collecting soil samples for carbon stocks analysis, measuring greenhouse gas fluxes, and recording saltmarsh elevation.

Results from this program will be used to quantify the gains from saltmarsh restoration and build the case for the restoration and protection of coastal wetlands for blue carbon offsets in Victoria.

For more information, go to GeelongPort citizen science – Blue Carbon Lab and to submit your registration of interest, go to GeelongPort Citizen Science program | Engage GeelongPort.