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
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