Be the RE-Generation
About The Program
Restore, research, revegetate our foreshore ecosystems…be the RE-Generation! Young people (15 – 25 years) met at the beginning of St Kilda Pier every week to help protect the biodiversity of our beloved Port Phillip Bay.
Victoria is Australia’s fastest growing state, two-thirds of the people living in Victoria reside around Port Phillip Bay and an estimated 25% of Victorians are aged between 15-25. Be the RE-Generation was a big help in protecting the biodiversity of our beautiful natural environment. The Baykeeper RE-Generation Project trained youth in creating a resilient Port Phillip Bay.
Penguin Habitat Enhancement
Using our strength as a team, we carted buckets of sand and seaweed from the shoreline up towards the end of the breakwater. Here we propagated sea plants to protect the Habitat of our furry little friends.
At various points around Port Phillip Bay, Inter-tidal sandy seabed levels are recorded every 2 metres along a 30m transect using a home made water level. We used a special water proof temperature probe to record temperatures in the seabed which is really important stuff in the climate changing scenarios. This is important science because as we know, an increase of 2 degrees could completely eliminate some species or displace them. This can be carried out by anybody, to monitor erosion and track climate change for real.
Live Mollusc Surveys
Seabed samples are collected with a spade every 4 metres along the transect. Samples are sieved and live molluscs recorded, measured and photographed. As animals that live on and in the seabed, they play a vital role in transferring nutrients higher up the food chain. The results from this activity will give us a true insight into the health of our beloved bay. It’s important to remember that we wouldn’t have dolphins and penguins without molluscs.
Plastic Pollution Audits
A multitude of micro-plastic pollution, often from single-use consumer items, has escaped attention for decades. The Baykeeper of Port Phillip Bay has created a new data-sheet that incorporates the best aspects of existing methods allowing data input to the National Marine Debris Database. It’s a simple single page that allows for record of an array of items that cause long term harm to the environment. The surveys have been designed to measure the extent of the problem and identify common plastic pollutants that need to be eliminated for example, straws, plastic spoons, bottle tops, coffee cup lids. Local litter audits and investigations on beaches and streets in stormwater catchments around the Bay will identify litter hotspots and inform local litter reduction strategies. The transect method will primarily allow schools, corporates and community groups around the bay to quickly capture data (4 people could do 2 transects in under an hour) and accurately repeat surveys of the same site, resulting in a clear indication of whether specific user items are increasing or decreasing. This information will be used to guide local management and litter prevention plans.
Guided walks along our coast, urban canals, creeks and underground river systems provided us with an opportunity to learn about local wildlife, conservation and land management issues. It also gave us a chance to identify the more severe litter hotspots, so that we could track the pollution back to the polluters and hold them accountable. Many people that live in the suburbs don’t know that litter on the streets will find its way to the bay through the storm water systems.
Environmental Campaigns for Change
At the end of each session we had some time as a group to debrief and discuss important environmental campaigns for change.
Participation in the project was an opportunity for young people to:
• meet new people of like-minded nature
• spend time in health-promoting activity in an iconic and vibrant inner urban setting
• learn principles of ecology and sustainability
• be part of a team to achieve a major habitat enhancement
• participate in citizen science to inform coastal planning and decision-making
• learn skills related to employment opportunities
Participants implemented citizen science methods and understand the benefits of networked, amateur data collection in partnership with scientists. Environmental data on plants, animals, water quality and plastic pollution was provided for policy-makers and researchers. This data strengthened campaigns for the government and community to invest in the protection of Port Phillip Bay.
The Port Phillip EcoCentre would like to thank the Helen Macpherson Smith Trust Fund for their kind support towards this project.