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An innovative environmental project to restore important fish habitat and improve water quality at Corner Inlet has secured $400,000 from the Federal Government.

Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester has announced the West Gippsland Catchment Management Authority would receive the money for its Corner Inlet Posidonia Partnerships project.

Mr Chester said the project would create natural buffers between waterways and nearby farmland.

“The project involves fishers, farmers and Landcare volunteers working together to restore 12 hectares of seagrass along rivers and streams leading to the inlet and improve water quality,” Mr Chester said.

“The revegetation work will reduce sediment and nutrient loads in these waterways in the Corner Inlet catchment that threaten seagrass meadows further downstream. Twelve hectares of Broadleaf Seagrass habitat will also be restored in Corner Inlet.

“A healthy and productive fishery is good for the environment and will support local jobs in the fishing industry and draw more recreational anglers to our region, which is great for the visitor economy.”

Recreational fishers will be involved in all stages of the restoration activities, contributing their boats, time and expertise to collect broadleaf seagrass fruit, assist germination on shore and deploy seed in priority areas.

Assistant Minister for Forestry and Fisheries Jonno Duniam said the project would improve the health and productivity of fish habitats.

“Australia’s waterways are some of the best in the world,” Assistant Minister Duniam said. “It’s critical we keep these fish habitats healthy so we can continue to enjoy our world-class fishing into the future.

“This program will benefit Australia’s natural resource base and the broader community, including recreational fishers.”

The Fisheries Habitat Restoration Program will provide $8 million to 28 projects that will restore the health and functionality of coastal and estuarine fisheries habitats across Australia. East Gippsland Catchment Management Authority will receive $500,000 through the program to restore the health of fish habitats in the Snowy River Estuary.

Yarram Yarram Landcare Network has received a total of $250,000 from the Federal Government since June 2019 to restore seagrass habitat in Corner Inlet and increase the productivity of the fishery. It’s the largest community-led seagrass restoration project ever attempted in Australia.

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