Skip to content
Environment, General News

Pioneering project investigates nature-based solution to nutrients in waterways

OzFish Unlimited 2 mins read
The North Pine River project.

Researchers are hoping to uncover a nature-based solution to the problem of nitrogen in Australia’s waterways with a pioneering research trial underway at the North Pine River, north of Brisbane.   

Restoring shellfish reefs could be the answer to removing nutrients in our waterways and a joint project between OzFish Unlimited - Australia’s fishing conservation charity, Unitywater, Healthy Land and Water and the University of Sunshine Coast will study their effectiveness over the next five years.   

Up to 95 per cent of the reefs have disappeared and are now considered functionally extinct and these reefs historically played a major role in nutrient removal. OzFish’s successful shellfish reef restoration in Moreton Bay has provided the catalyst for this nutrient removal pilot.  

Purpose-built shellfish reefs using Robust Oyster Baskets (ROBs), developed by OzFish volunteers, were deployed recently at intertidal zones of the North Pine River near Murrumba Downs Wastewater Treatment Plant. 

“Unitywater’s commitment to net zero includes an ambitious goal of ensuring all nutrients from wastewater are diverted or offset from waterways by 2040,” said Unitywater Acting Executive Manager Sustainable Infrastructure Solutions Ivan Beirne.  

“Through continually optimising our operational processes, last year we reduced the volume of nitrogen returned back to the environment across all of our networks and phosphorus, but we want to do more.” 

Mr Beirne said Unitywater was continuously looking for ways to reduce its operating footprint and supporting the natural environment to beneficially reuse water. 

Dr Ben Gilby, a senior lecturer and esteemed expert in marine ecology, fish biology, and marine ecosystem management at the University of Sunshine Coast, will lead a team of researchers to monitor them to see what nutrients the reefs can sequester.  

Robbie Porter, OzFish's senior project officer for shellfish reef restoration, said the project holds the potential to reshape the future of wastewater treatment practices throughout the country.    

“Nitrogen can be very detrimental to fish habitats because it contributes to algal blooms and high algae areas mean that oysters have fewer areas where they can grow on. The phrase we’ve been using to describe this project is that we‘re researching if a nature-based solution for removing nitrogen could be oysters.”  

This project will be delivered by Unitywater in partnership with University of Sunshine Coast, Healthy Land and Water and OzFish Unlimited. It is also supported by BCF – Boating, Camping, Fishing.

A dropbox of images and vision is available to use (please credit OzFish Unlimited in all usage):

If you would like to become a member of OzFish ,log onto or contact 1800 431 308.   

About us:

About OzFish


OzFish Unlimited is a national environmental conservation charity established to improve the health of our rivers, lakes and estuaries. It is a member-based organisation dedicated to make our fishing grounds healthy, vibrant and more productive. Their active work includes; habitat restoration such as resnagging, riverbank planting, clean-ups, fishways, shellfish reefs and educational and community capacity building programs.

Contact details:

If you would like further information or to interview Robbie Porter, please contact OzFish Unlimited Communications Manager Paul Suttor. 

0421 491 229 |


More from this category

  • General News, LGBTQIA
  • 01/03/2024
  • 09:00
Australian National Maritime Museum

LGBTQIA+ SEA: Collecting Australian Queer Water Stories

1 MARCH 2024 Collecting Australian Queer Water Stories The Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras is widely celebrated every year. This year the Australian National Maritime Museum is launching a research program to highlight queer maritime histories. This program will explore the experiences of LGBTQIA+ people living and working on our seas, rivers, lakes, and waters. The Museum is inviting people to share their stories (anonymously if preferred) for our archive and for an exhibition in 2025. They could include experiences in the navy, merchant marine, travel and tourism, on wharves and ports and in surf-lifesaving, swimming and sailing communities.…

  • Contains:
  • Environment, Political
  • 01/03/2024
  • 08:00
The Australia Institute

***MEDIA ALERT*** Tasmanian, federal independents advocate for pathway out of native forest logging

Media alert | Friday, 1 March 2024 Tasmanian independent MP for Bass Lara Alexander, federal independent MP for Mackellar Sophie Scamps and Australia Institute Executive Director Richard Denniss will hold a media conference in Launceston today following Premier Jeremy Rockliff’s decision to expand logging. It will be followed by a public forum with Dr Scamps and Dr Denniss, A Pathway Out of Native Forest Logging, from 1pm. Where: Launceston Conference Centre (auditorium 2) When: 12.30pm Friday, 1 March 2024 Who: Lara Alexander, Tasmanian independent MP for Bass Dr Sophie Scamps MP, federal independent member for Mackellar Richard Denniss, Executive Director…

  • Community, General News
  • 01/03/2024
  • 06:01
Ahmadiyya Muslim Community

Imam of Adelaide’s Largest Mosque opens doors for Iftar Dinner on Sunday, March 17

The Imam of Mahmood Mosque, Imam Kamran Tahir, is inviting all members of the community to an Iftar Dinner at Mahmood Mosque. The Iftar, represents the breaking of the fast, and is marked by Muslims every day during the Holy month of Ramadan. Date: Sunday 17th March 2024 Time: 6.15pm (The breaking offast(Iftar) will happen at 7.31pm and will be followed by a complimentary dinner) Address: Mahmood Mosque (6-8 Toogood Avenue Beverley SA 5009) The program will include an Interfaith symposium where Abrahamic Faith leaders will talk about the concept of Fasting in their respective religions, which will be followed…

Media Outreach made fast, easy, simple.

Feature your press release on Medianet's News Hub every time you distribute with Medianet. Pay per release or save with a subscription.