More projects

Blue carbon futures

Blue carbon is carbon stored in coast and marine ecosystems. In Adelaide, this includes saltmarshes, mangroves, seagrasses, tidal flats and supratidal forests (forests above the high tide line). These can capture and store large amounts of carbon in plants and sediment.

Over the last decade, works have been undertaken to conserve and restore coastal habitats like these.

This has involved working with our partners to investigate carbon values of certain habitats and create demonstration projects, like the Dry Creek Salt Field tidal restoration project, which shows how improving an environment can help it capture more carbon.

The Green Adelaide Blue Carbon Futures Fund facilitates these collaborations and partnerships, helping implement the Blue Carbon Strategy for South Australia 2020-25 along our coast.

You may be familiar with offsetting carbon. Historically the focus on these schemes has been tree planting and agricultural projects. What we’re hoping is that eventually, you might be able to opt to restore coastal environments, which may capture carbon a lot faster than forests on land!

So far, there’s a gap in what’s needed to make buying and selling blue carbon possible, so our funding aimed at helping assess what’s possible and improving knowledge about sites on the Adelaide coast, to prepare for a time when blue carbon can be traded.

2021-22 Blue Carbon Futures Fund

This year’s grants have been awarded to four research projects in Adelaide.

The projects involve significant collaboration and co-investment across universities and researchers, and Green Adelaide’s $163,620 investment has leveraged projects with a combined value of $590,000.

We’re also providing support for protecting local saltmarsh and other blue carbon habitats.


Project Organisations Description
Blue Carbon opportunities through tidal restoration and avoided disturbance Flinders University (lead), University of Adelaide, Airborne Research Australia, and the Department for Environment and Water To understand what tidal flows are, think of the natural rise and fall of the ocean – and then imagine something being put in the way of the waves, stopping them from going where they normally would. Reintroducing tidal flows to coastal areas can help restore them and also increase their ability to store carbon. This project will figure out how much carbon can be captured by the Dry Creek Salt Fields when tidal flows are reconnected. This information will be used to give a dollar value to tidal
Carbon storage of coastal sedgeland in relation to use of fire for habitat enhancement Flinders University (lead), University of Adelaide, EntoSearch, Green Adelaide This project will find out how much carbon stored is stored in Gahnia sedgeland, a type of nationally threatened coastal saltmarsh. Restoring this habitat and, in particular, thatching grass (Gahnia filum), has been an important part of making the reintroduction of the regionally extinct yellowish sedge skipper butterfly possible. Fire and slashing also seem to be important in maintaining the habitat for the butterfly and so, this project will also explore carbon stored in various stages of burnt and unburnt sedgelands.
Advancing the mapping of Green Adelaide’s blue carbon University of Adelaide (lead), Unmanned Research Aircraft Facility, University of Adelaide, Flinders University This project will improve blue carbon maps in the Green Adelaide region by sampling carbon stocks (how much is stored) at a range of sites. This will add to data collected about coastal ecosystems across South Australia. Drones will be used to track vegetation changes at Mutton Cove, a blue carbon site, which was re-connected to tidal flows in 2016.
Potential for Zostera seagrass recovery and rehabilitation to enhance blue carbon in SA University of Adelaide (lead), PIRSA/SARDI Aquatic Sciences This project will assess whether it is feasible to use Zostera, a nearshore seagrass commonly known as eelgrass, to enhance blue carbon storage off the Adelaide coast. Nearshore seagrasses are important because they help hold sand together, reducing waves and currents, as well as providing a home and food for marine animals. The project will include assessing the right time to collect seagrass seeds and trial planting some of them near Torrens Island. If successful, this will open up opportunities for citizen science seagrass rehabilitation – imaging being part of that planting day!
blue-carbon-image-grid-credit-tony-flaherty - Green Adelaide
garden-island-pelicans-credit-tony-flaherty - Green Adelaide
pied-oystercatcher-credit-tony-flaherty - Green Adelaide
Photos: Tony Flaherty