Restoring natural values back to Great Barrier Reef wetlands: Costs and benefits and case study evaluations

Nathan Waltham

Conservation and repair of Great Barrier Reef coastal wetland ecosystems have come into focus following media attention on reef health and resilience, with ecosystem protection and restoration cited as a key performance measure in long term strategic planning policies – e.g. 2050 Long Term Sustainability Plan. This NESP TWQ program worked closely with a multitude of NRM, NGO, government, industry and indigenous groups, to assess and examine different restoration projects – a series of cases studies including feral animal management, bund wall removal, aquatic plant management, ponded pasture freshwater protection and constructed wetlands to improve water quality. More restoration projects are on the horizon, funded directly through government, though interest in private funded restoration schemes where major investment companies sponsor wetland restoration – projects focused on improving water quality, carbon additionally or biodiversity conservation. For new and future projects to be successful, we need to look back at past wetland restoration projects, in order to make informed decisions on investment in wetland restoration and maintenance for future projects.