We are pleased to announce the purchase of Little Dog Island near Wilsons Promontory in South Gippsland, with our partners Nooramunga Trust, Rendere Trust and EcoGipps.
The private 150-acre island is located within the sheltered waters of Corner Inlet, in South Gippsland, in close proximity to Wilsons Promontory to the south. Corner Inlet is a Ramsar site and Wetland of International Importance, and provides a haven for migratory birds, including the Critically Endangered Orange-bellied Parrot.
Little Dog Island represents an outstanding example of coastal saltmarsh, a distinctive ecological community found within inter-tidal zones with suitable mudflats. Saltmarsh habitat has become increasingly scarce, due to degradation from multiple sources, including urban development along Victoria’s coast, altered drainage, and sea-level rise.
Saltmarsh communities also include a range of habitats such as mangrove wetlands, saline meadows, grasslands and sedgelands. These habitats support many threatened fauna species including fish, migratory waders, small mammals and reptiles.
Island offers Blue Carbon potential
Many of us are familiar with the role trees play in capturing and storing atmospheric carbon (Co2), but did you know that mangroves and coastal ecosystems capture carbon at a much higher rate? Mangrove forests are able to store three to four times more carbon than forests found on land!
The term ‘blue carbon’ has been given to coastal and marine habitats that store carbon in plants or in coastal sediments. If undisturbed, these incredible ecosystems are instrumental in combating climate change, and government bodies and researchers are increasingly recognising their importance.
By returning tidal ecosystems to their natural state, more blue carbon can be sequestered. This opens up possibilities for landowners to acquire blue carbon credits through protection and restoration- a new and emerging market. Furthermore, for a business looking to offset their emissions, blue carbon is the most efficient form of carbon capture, meaning less units are required to offset a balance.
Experts weigh in on the quality of habitat
Other partners in the project include Tim D’Ombrain and Karl Just, who have more than 40 years’ experience in surveying, mapping and managing remnant vegetation communities. Tim and Karl first identified the island’s environmental values during a property visit and are quoted below:
“Little Dog Island contains an outstanding representation of estuarine plant communities and suitable habitat for many threatened species. This purchase is of strategic importance in protecting more saltmarsh habitats within a well-managed reserve system. If the island is not purchased for conservation, it is alternatively likely to be purchased for the use of agriculture or recreation, which would be fully supported by the current zoning for farming.”-Tim D’Ombrain and Karl Just
What’s next for the Island?
The project team are committed to the protection and enhancement of this special habitat, and we are very excited to explore the possibilities for conservation, ecotourism, education, and research on Little Dog Island.