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A 'good news' story brought to you by Murray Trembath and team at the St George and Sutherland Shire Leader.
Underwater forests of a seaweed variety called crayweed were wiped out by the pollution, which continued from the Cronulla sewage plant outfall at Potter Point until 2003 when tertiary treatment was introduced. In late July, a team of divers attached reproductive crayweed plants to rock shelves in two to five metres of water off Inscription Point, adjoining Captain Cook's Landing Place.
It is expected the implants will reproduce and spread, transforming a barren underwater desert into forests of crayweed that will attract certain species of fish, rock lobsters (crayfish) and abalone back to the area.
It is underpinned by financial support from the Breen Group, which conducted sandmining on the Kurnell Peninsula and now operates a landfill and resource recovery centre. Breen Group director Tom Breen said, when the proposal was put to him, he "quickly realised the environmental and local significance of the project and wholeheartedly supported it financially".
"I felt it was a most apt project to support, particularly culminating in the Captain Cook 250th anniversary year and with some of this submarine reafforestation being undertaken at Cook's landing place."
Dr Ziggy Marzinelli, from The University of Sydney, who is leading the research component, said the project was a committed team effort, which had delivered major environmental benefits to other coastal areas of Sydney and was expected to be just as successful at Kurnell.
Photo: Tom Breen (foreground) and SIMS Operation Crayweed Researchers at Kurnell. Credit: Chris Lane