South Australia's marine and estuarine systems are critically important to the global conservation of biological diversity. Marine systems damaged by human activities can be very difficult to restore and some damage is irreparable. Science tells us that action to maintain, protect and restore valuable marine and estuarine resources is essential.
The department, in partnership with leading marine scientists from research institutions and with community organisations, worked together to help protect and manage our marine systems through creating a network of marine parks. Scientific research has shown that marine parks are highly effective in maintaining healthy marine ecosystems.
South Australia's marine parks are based on years of scientific study and long-term monitoring programs. Part of this work includes biological surveys to determine the diversity of species in our marine waters.
Further, marine habitats on the sea-floor have been mapped using high-resolution photography, satellite imagery and, in deep waters, underwater video and acoustic sounding, to gather detailed information not previously available.
In addition, the department in collaboration with Flinders University and the South Australian Research and Development Institute has made significant progress in developing methods to restore the approximately 6,000 hectares of seagrass meadows lost off the Adelaide coast since the 1950s.
Other research efforts focus on beach replenishment, the mapping and protection of sensitive areas, revegetation and weed eradication, climate change and sea level rise and its effects on coastal processes, water quality, pollution and waste management, and wildlife management.
The Coast Protection Board has established long-term monitoring programs to provide the detailed understanding of local coastal environments needed to manage our metropolitan beaches successfully.