Summary:

Improving the condition and the long-term protection of the Coastal Saltmarsh Threatened Ecological Community by targeting the primary ecological threat of Rice Grass and through brokering and establishing conservation agreements with landholders to maintain and protect saltmarsh on or adjoining their properties.

Project description:

Robbins Passage – Boullanger Bay includes the largest wetland complex in Tasmania (28,000 ha) and provides habitat for the largest aggregation of migratory birds in the state including more than 20 species of trans-continental migratory waders. Coastal Saltmarsh, a threatened ecological community that covers 1300 ha of this project area, provides significant feeding habitat for many of these migratory species and resident birds. Coastal Saltmarsh provides further ecosystem services such as filtering surface water before it reaches the sea, carbon sequestration, habitat and important food and nutrient source for many marine and estuarine species, and stabilising and buffering the coastline.

The primary ecological threat to Coastal Saltmarsh in north-west Tasmania is the invasive weed, Rice Grass (Spartina anglica), that competes with saltmarsh vegetation whilst also restricting water and nutrient flow, invading commercial oyster leases, and trapping sediment causing build-up of banks that impact recreational areas. Historical works to convert saltmarsh vegetation to pasture and the establishment of levees, resulting in localised changes in hydrology, have also reduced Coastal Saltmarsh extent. In addition, sediment and nutrient transfer from the intensively farmed catchments upstream have a detrimental impact.

This project will improve the condition and protection of Coastal Saltmarsh in Robbins Passage – Boullanger Bay and surrounds by working with Circular Head Landcare Group to treat Rice Grass, and through establishing conservation agreements with landholders in partnership with the Tasmanian Land Conservancy.

Regional Land Partnerships projects are supported by the Cradle Coast Authority, through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program.