The last couple of years Reef Ecologic and partners have been working on the restoration in Blue Pearl and Manta Ray Bay in the Whitsundays on the Great Barrier Reef.
We’ve been trialling a few different techniques and methods. Some things have worked really well. Others have not been so great, like the biodegradable rope that did what it was designed to do and biodegraded…but a little too fast. We’re using this pilot project to demonstrate that it can actually have significant effects in in these small locations where we are conducting this coral gardening.
Just being out on the reef this week and seeing the growth and development of some of the corals has been amazing. There’s been colonies that are starting to fill a lot of the gaps on the reef and show that it’s quite a diverse and complex reefscape rather than the rock and turf algae covered bare substrate that we’ve been used to in many locations in the Whitsundays.
It’s really exciting to see not only the development of some of those corals we’ve been nurturing for the last 12-18 months. We’ve also had some issues where predation and damage has broken up some of the colonies into multiple pieces, and there was a particular Pocillopora coral that got smashed into a dozen pieces. Last year we picked up all those pieces off the bottom and planted them around the ‘mother colony’ and it was great to see them all securely attached to the reef growing and thriving really well. From that one we’ve now created a dozen colonies. It’s just cool to see those aspects of the restoration work that we’re doing really develop turning this place back into something that could be really special, like people may have remembered it before.
So yes, it has been a slow burn, but when you start to see some of the really positive results like we’ve seen today, it makes you feel, feel good, makes you feel excited about you, know what might be possible going forward.
If you have the opportunity to get out here and then see this wonderful part of the world, I can’t recommend it highly enough.
Our work has been conducted on the sea country of the Ngaro Traditional Owners. We pay our respects to their elders past present and emerging and are eternally grateful for their permission to allow us to undertake these important stewardship activities on their land.
This project was made possible through the collaboration of many partner organizations and supporters. We can’t thank them enough.