Marine expert applauds stormwater harvest funds

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

University of Adelaide researchers have applauded the Federal Government's $200 million investment in national stormwater recycling projects, announced yesterday, which will help fund initiatives to restore Adelaide's coastal ecosystem.

Marine biologist Associate Professor Sean Connell says a collaborative approach by all tiers of government will go a long way towards returning Adelaide's coastline and Fleurieu Peninsula to its pre-urban state.

"Our research shows that the coastal ecosystem collapse in South Australia is linked to discharge of polluted water from the urban environment. Recycling stormwater will help remove these pollutants that cause weedy species to take over the sea's kelp forests," Dr Connell says.

The marine expert will expand on his research in this area at a public seminar tomorrow night (Wednesday 25 March) at the University of Adelaide in the Horace Lamb Lecture Theatre from 5-7pm.

Our Changing Coastline is the theme of the Climate Futures seminar presented by the University's Environment Institute. Professor Connell and other experts from the Institute will address the impact of land-based activities on marine environments.

"By learning more about our coastal ecosystem and the events that have led to its collapse, governments at the local, state and federal level can work together to help restore and recover these environments.

"Stormwater harvesting initiatives will help bring back kelp forests and sea grasses that have disappeared from St Vincent Gulf. These habitats provide astonishing biodiversity and act as nursery grounds for fish.

"By reducing stormwater input, we can reverse the loss of kelp forests and restore them back to their pre-urban state with the aid of minor and sustainable restoration programs."

Dr Connell paid tribute to the "pioneering efforts" of the Federal Minister for Climate Change and Water, Senator Penny Wong, the State Minister for the River Murray and Water Security, the Hon Karlene Maywald, and Salisbury Council for its local leadership on the issue of stormwater recycling.

"South Australia has a history of leadership in recycling initiatives, including the 30-year-old recycling bottle policy and the recent banning of plastic bags. We hope to continue this reputation with innovative stormwater harvesting projects," Professor Connell says.

For more details about the public seminar, email


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