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Seagrasses of Australia

Conservation and Management

Many States have regulatory policies in place to protect seagrass beds. In a recent study, 15 of the 72 known species of seagrasses were listed as 'Endangered', 'Vulnerable' or 'Near Threatened' on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List.

Seagrass restoration can cost anywhere from AU$8,000 a hectare to hundreds of thousands of dollars per hectare. seagrasses are seen as important by government, public perception is a real problem. although there are many organisations like Seagrass - Watch and Waterwatch Adelaide which are involved in monitoring and restoration of seagrass meadows around Australia nad worldwide.

Mny government agencies are trying to involve the community in restoration efforts. For example, in New South Wales a project has been funded by the NSW State Government through it’s
Environmental Trust Program and they have released a publication called "Watching the Seagrass Grow – a guide for community seagrass monitoring in NSW".

While there is no international legislation that specifically protects seagrass, there are international conventions to which Australia is a signatory that recognise the importance of wetlands and coastal areas. These conventions include Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, and the Convention on Biological Diversity. Australia has developed national legislation to address these conventions.

Some simple ways to help protect seagrasses are:

  • Avoid anchoring in, or mooring boats over seagrass beds.
  • Avoid travelling across seagrass beds in boats at low tide in order to minimise the potential for propeller damage.
  • Protect river bank vegetation by controlling stock access to creeks and drainage lines and replant native vegetation to prevent bank erosion and downstream movement of sediment.
  • Design riverfront structures such as jetties, boat ramps and seawalls to avoid shading or physical damage to seagrass beds.
  • Ensure dredging and reclamation projects are sensitive to adjacent seagrass beds.
  • Replace decking of jetties with mesh decking to allow sunlight penetration to underlying seagrass beds.
  • Avoid walking through seagrass areas at low tide.
  • Avoid digging for bait in seagrass beds.
  • Promptly report sewer overflows.
  • Maintain septic tanks and pumps so that they do not leak.

from Primefact 629, seagrasses - DPI, NSW


A scientist studying seagrass habitat

Image from NOAA’s Damage Assessment, Remediation, and Restoration Program (DARRP)

Seagrass restoration seed tanks
Image from CoSEE Coastal Trends


Next: Photo Gallery 1 - Plants    ...   


Distribution and Diversity
Seagrass Animals
Seagrass Plants
Benefits and Uses
Conservation and Management
Photo Gallery 1 - Plants
Photo Gallery 2 - Animals


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