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Tour of US inspires Australian coastal restoration

TropWATER’s Dr Ian McLeod joined restoration experts from The Nature Conservancy on a tour of US coastal restoration sites in December 2016. The team visited restoration projects in Texas, Louisiana, New Jersey and Virginia and met with scientists, Government workers and practitioners to share knowledge and discuss collaborative opportunities.  

Ian (second from left) with TNC staff from China, the US and Australia. They are standing on a recently-deployed 'oyster castle' structure. Oysters will grow on this structure and help protect the shoreline from erosion

Highlights included learning about the logistics of a US$100,000,000 oyster restoration project in Harris Creek (Chesapeake Bay), seeing the effectiveness of oyster reef restoration for shoreline protection and attending the Restore America’s Estuaries (RAE) Summit in New Orleans. Dr McLeod and the team also met with the President and Board of Restore America’s Estuaries to discuss greater collaboration between the US and Australia.

“It was really inspirational to see that large-scale restoration of important coastal habitats such as saltmarshes, seagrasses and shellfish is possible. Coastal restoration is a multi-billion dollar industry in the US and much of the inspiration for this restoration is coastal protection and job creation for coastal communities", said Dr McLeod. 

 "I've come back with my mind buzzing with new ideas about how to answer important research questions to empower the scaling-up of coastal restoration in Australia", said Dr McLeod.

Funding for the trip was provided through a James Cook University Rising Stars Award. Dr McLeod is the Principal Investigator of a National Environmental Science Programme-funded coastal restoration project led in Partnership with The Nature Conservancy, Australia. Read more about the project here.

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Oysters growth a year after 'oyster castle' deployment in Virginia
 

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