Oysters reefs in Noosa River may be making a big comeback.
Oysters reefs in Noosa River may be making a big comeback. Contributed

Bid to bring back oysters reefs as council and researchers shell out

THE world must seem like an oyster to the Noosa Council as it applies to itself to proceed with a key Bring Back the Fish river restoration project.

Planning staff have recommended the councillors approve the oyster reef development permits at 15 sites throughout the Noosa River.

Councillors will vote next Thursday on the Noosa Parks Association inspired project which sees each restoration unit set to occupy 12 square metres.

The grounds for approval which include the development does not pose a risk to public safety, does not rely on vegetation removal in the tidal water and does not impact the local amenity and character.

A report to council notes site 11 is the only reef proposed on the southern bank of the river which is contrary to the Watercourses Works Code, but staff argues this unit "will actually restore the natural amenity and environment".

Mayor Tony Wellington said delays in getting state permits has put the program behind its schedule, but said thanks to the "exciting” research work done to date with such things as fish monitoring, "we already no more about our estuary than almost any other estuary in Queensland”.

Oysters were once removed from Noosa by the millions and research shows one oyster cleans the equivalent of one bathtub of water every single day.

The project stems from the Nature Conservancy's study into Noosa River oyster species which council environment officer Jan Maddin said were once abundant in the Noosa River.

These reefs formed "an important part of a healthy aquatic ecosystem, providing habitat and a rich food source for fish".

"This study found that oysters grew in moderate numbers at all of the 12 Noosa River estuary test sites, with a couple of those sites recording high rates of spawning," Ms Maddin said.


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