Oysters put to work in Pine River

Published 3:00pm 12 October 2023

Oysters put to work in Pine River
Words by Nick Crockford

The first 40 Robust Oyster Baskets (ROBs) have been installed in the upper estuarine reaches of the Pine River.

Part of the Oyster Reef Restoration Project, the ROBs are downstream of Unitywater's Murrumba Downs Wastewater Treatment Plant.

The project is studying the effectiveness and value of oysters to filter nutrients in waterways over the next five years.

Each 400sqmm triangular ‘reef’ basket is filled with 18kg of recycled oyster shells and will host species such as oysters, mussels and other molluscs.

Pre-seeded baskets are ‘soaked’ in Moreton Bay for a year before being placed in the Pine River. As they grow the collective effects of the reef increase.

The project could reshape the future of shellfish reef restoration and wastewater treatment practices with Unitywater’s innovation funding of $464,000.

Delivered by Unitywater, OzFish, UniSC and Healthy Land and Water, the Australian-first initiative is a nutrient offset under the QLD Water Quality Offset Policy.

“Unitywater’s commitment to net zero includes an ambitious goal of ensuring all nutrients from wastewater are diverted or offset from waterways by 2040,” Ivan Beirne, Unitywater Acting Executive Manager Sustainable Infrastructure Solutions, said.

“By looking for ways to reduce our operating footprint and support the natural environment to beneficially reuse water, Unitywater is committed to sustainability while enhancing water and wastewater services for our local communities.”

Robbie Porter, OzFish senior project officer for shellfish reef restoration, was delighted to be part of this ground-breaking initiative.'

More pictures - click through

“By joining forces with Unitywater, The University of Sunshine Coast and Healthy Land and Water, we have a unique opportunity to explore the potential of shellfish reefs in restoring our aquatic ecosystems, improving wastewater treatment practices, and the possibility of supporting sustainable aquaculture,” he said.

“This collaborative effort brings together each partner’s expertise, resources, and passion to drive meaningful change in marine conservation and environmental stewardship.

“This research will open up opportunities for restoration and has the potential to look at shellfish reef restoration as a meaningful path for offset.”

“It will paint a bigger picture about how important shellfish reefs are to our ecosystem and give real data to showcase the work they do in filtering nutrients.”

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