Minderoo Foundation has donated $100,000 to Busselton Jetty Inc (BJI) to support the rehabilitation of the jetty and environmental conservation activities.
Minderoo’s support will be directed to three key projects; the development of a marine laboratory, rehabilitation of the jetty piles and construction of new underwater structures to enhance local habitats.
“The Busselton Jetty is an incredible, heritage-listed structure that promotes tourism and supports the local ecosystem,” Minderoo Foundation chairman Andrew Forrest said.
“Rehabilitating the jetty, sustaining the artificial reef that flourishes beneath it and engaging visitors in marine research and conservation are all important priorities that Minderoo Foundation is thrilled to support to help sustain and advance the jetty for future generations.”
The Marine Lab will provide opportunities for the community to learn about marine research and environmental conservation. Located at the end of the 1.841 kilometre jetty, the lab will be a multi-purpose space which provides interactive scientific activities including aquariums, a touch pool, multi-sensory and participatory activities, illustrative media and interpretive signage. The lab will also offer educational opportunities, with the goal of increasing the community’s environmental awareness and contribution to marine science.
The 695 wooden piles beneath the jetty create one of Australia’s greatest artificial reefs, hosting over 300 marine species including cuttlefish, octopus, sea-stars, rays, crustaceans and fish. However, regular maintenance is needed to stop the progression of wood borer worm and prevent structural damage to the jetty.
The restoration work will apply a grease layer to each pile before wrapping them in PVC and mesh. The treated piles are then rehabilitated with damaged invertebrates including sponges and sea corals secured to the mesh.
The development of new underwater structures near the seaward end of the jetty will provide enhanced habitats for the marine creatures which inhabit the jetty. Marine invertebrates create local habitat complexity and provide a food source for fish species. The structures will be strategically placed, with some in view of the proposed Australian Underwater Discovery Centre and others visible to snorkelers and divers.
BJI chairperson Jenny Sheehan thanked Minderoo for its generous donation to support the conservation of the jetty and its environmental initiatives.
“This recognition by Minderoo is a wonderful endorsement of the work undertaken by Busselton Jetty in the marine environmental space, especially as Minderoo is such a well-known and respected organisation,” Sheehan said.
Busselton Jetty is the longest tourist jetty in the Southern Hemisphere, attracting more than 500,000 visitors each year. Operations on the jetty are managed by BJI, a not-for-profit organisation, with a large community membership base. The proceeds from jetty tours go back into the preservation of the heritage listed 154-year-old jetty for future generations to enjoy.