From Salt to C: carbon sequestration through ecological restoration at the Dry Creek Salt Field
Professor Sabine Dittmann, Flinders University
Flinders University, University of Adelaide, UniSA, Department for Environment and Water (DEW)
This project will scientifically assess whether the restoration of the Dry Creek salt fields will be a pathway towards assisting carbon neutrality for the South Australian Government. The main outcome of this interdisciplinary research project will be a feasibility assessment of Blue Carbon and co-benefits derived from salt field restoration, with a market ready pathway to carbon accounting and registration that is relevant for achieving South Australia’s climate ready policy.
Progress Update and Key Findings
The investigations will generate knowledge and data on bio-sequestration and carbon abatement through revegetation of salt fields. As salt production has recently ceased at Dry Creek, the activity is new and emissions abatement through carbon sequestration and/or emission avoidance is additional, as revegetation would not be possible had the ponds remained as a salt field. The project outcomes are thus meeting the key Offset Integrity Standards and will be utilised as offset for South Australia’s carbon neutral policies with medium to long-term prospects. The project will produce practical guidelines for using the verified carbon standard VM0033, the Human Induced Regeneration accounting method for the Emissions Reduction Fund and, once available, the Australian Emission Reduction Fund methodology for Blue Carbon.
Adoption and Impact
The outcomes will be based on field investigations and experiments from a tidal reconnection trial, and adjacent control areas, in combination with co-benefit analyses and geospatial up-scaling to the northern Adelaide region. This approach will deliver a science based proof of concept of the carbon sequestration potential and wider economic and ecosystem service benefits from large scale restoration of the Dry Creek salt field. These outcomes will inform decision making on restoration options, and grow the research expertise in South Australia to further advance science on climate action and healthy ecosystem.
After 18 months of tidal reconnection, it is getting green inside the salt pond under investigation by the â€˜Salt to Câ€™ research team from the Goyder Institute for Water Research. Tidal re-connection is a top priority activity recommended by a national blue carbon working group for establishing a methodology under the Emissions Reduction Fund for blue carbon.
The Goyder Institute for Water Research Salt to C project is the first study in Australia to investigate the effects of tidal reconnection of a salt pond for carbon capture. The project report released this month outlines their finding that restoration of salt fields through tidal reconnection leads to a net gain in soil organic carbon stocks and rapid revegetation.
A report released this month by the Goyder Institute for Water Research summarises the most comprehensive data available for blue carbon in South Australia, outlining the blue carbon ecosystems within the state and their estimated blue carbon stocks and sequestration rates.