The Nature Conservancy Australia: 2021 Winner – Healthy environment and Premier's Recognition Award

Last updated: 23 November 2021
scuba diver floating above ocean floor covered in oyster shells The Nature Conservancy Australia is the Industry Leader award winner in the 2021 Premier's Sustainability Awards – Healthy environment category and winner of the Premier's Recognition Award 2021.

Bringing Back Victoria's Lost Oyster Reefs

The Bringing Back Victoria's Lost Oyster Reefs project was designed to improve one of Victoria's most prized assets – Port Phillip Bay.

The project, with the help of community members, sought to restore one hectare of native oyster reef in Corio Bay and test a new reef restoration methodology to determine the most effective methods for degraded reef ecosystems.

To date, there have been 6 hectares of reefs restored at Port Phillip Bay. Even at this scale, the reefs provide important water filtration benefits as each oyster can filter 100L of water per day. The project aims to turn rubbish into reefs through their 'Shuck Don’t Chuck' program, with over 415 tonnes of shells recycled by wholesalers, restaurants, markets, and craft bars.

Despite the COVID-associated hurdles, 44 volunteers from 16 different groups were involved in the project, participating in multiple online Restore the Bay sessions, aimed at educating the community about the benefits of shellfish reef restoration.

The group looks to combine efforts of government, community, and the private sector to restore reefs for the benefit of all Victorians.

Healthy environment 2021 finalists