Reef Restoration Hub

Local Reef Restoration

The Cairns-Port Douglas region is home to a number of coral reef restoration and stewardship projects led by Traditional Owners, scientists, tourism operators and the community.

The Cairns-Port Douglas Hub will build on and accelerate work underway on local Reef site stewardship, and to connect local action with large-scale restoration research.

The Hub is a partnership between the Great Barrier Reef Foundation and the Reef Restoration and Adaptation Program (RRAP), supported by funding from the Australian Government’s Reef Trust Partnership.

It will be supported with in-kind investment through the National Environmental Science Program’s Tropical Water Quality Hub’s local-scale restoration toolkit. 

$1.7m is being invested in total to establish the Hub as well as to deliver an integrated suite of local-scale restoration projects through to 2024.

Expressions of Interest (EOIs) for a diverse range of local-scale Reef restoration projects closed on 17 July 2020. These projects seek to bring together science, management, business, community and Traditional Owner partners in the Cairns-Port Douglas region to deliver impactful science-based local-restoration approaches that accelerate the natural recovery of coral reefs at specific sites and support reef stewardship. EOIs are being assessed and applicants will be contacted in late August 2020.

Frequently Asked Questions

#Frequently Asked Questions

Questions and answers will be posted below as we engage with Traditional Owners, tourism operators, scientists and the community on the establishment of the Cairns-Port Douglas Reef Restoration Hub.

#FAQs: EOI for Local Restoration Projects

Why are you using the term restoration?

Reef restoration is an active intervention that aims to assist the recovery of reef structure, function, and key species in the face of rising climate and other human pressures. Restoration operates across a range of scales and activities including:

- local-scale reef restoration projects which have a strong focus on protecting and restoring coral cover specific high-value sites

- large-scale reef restoration which aim to deliver ecosystem scale outcomes and requires new techniques and substantial spatial scaling up of projects.

Well-designed reef restoration activities are a tool to help protect and restore sites of critical value to bridge a gap while efforts to address climate change and indirect management actions are underway. Under climate change it is not always feasible or possible for restoration to return reefs to the same condition they were in before being damaged.

The proposed program looks to link local scale and large-scale reef restoration work. Restoration is one tool in supporting and building resilience for reefs and reef-facing communities.

Who decides how projects get funded?

An independent assessment panel will review Expressions of Interest (EOIs). Each EOI will be rated against the selection criteria by an Assessment Panel.

The EOI assessment will also consider the range of benefits offered through the activities and how the portfolio of projects recommended to progress to application could provide a strong collective impact.

The assessment panel may recommend opportunities to support more collaborative delivery approach for stronger collective impact.

This will lead to a short-list of potential projects that will be invited to refine their project and submit a formal funding application.

This process will be managed by GBRF with external representatives contributing to the assessment panel.

How much of the investment is going to funding on-ground projects?

A $1.7m investment was announced as part of the Hub launch and opportunities starting FY 20/21.

The currently open EOI will fund up to $850k for local-scale reef restoration projects.

A future investment of up to $500k will support Traditional Owner designed and led activities. Other funds will support coordination, design and support for the Hub.

What is the funding application process to upscale already active reef restoration projects?

The current EOI is open to both existing and new projects.

The Project rationale section in the grant criteria specifically mentions how the project supports the design and testing of innovative local-scale restoration approaches, including offering scalable approaches, within the scope of what is considered low risk intervention (as outlined in Applications for restoration/adaptation projects to improve resilience of habitats in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park).

For a Hub project EOI, would you consider a well-integrated approach that looks to include community-led measures perhaps not directly focused on coral restoration itself but assisting the long-term outcomes of restoration work through integrated maintena

EOI’s should clearly demonstrate how they propose to:

• apply practical, impactful science-based local-restoration approaches to accelerate the natural recovery of coral reef sites and support reef stewardship

• enable meaningful community, tourism and Traditional Owner engagement and capacity building in Reef restoration activities and associated Reef stewardship actions

• apply collaborative project delivery approaches that bring together a range of partners

• deliver economic, social, cultural and ecological benefits with enduring outcomes

• monitor changes to support enhanced understanding, learning, communications and project adaptation in the rapidly evolving reef restoration sector.

Particularly given that multi-year projects are encouraged, there is scope for projects to outline approaches to maintain, support and monitor restoration and relevant stewardship efforts.

How will the Hub design process and local projects be linked with the Community Action Plan process also underway through the RTP Community Component?

The Wet Tropics did not have applications to participate in the Community Action Plan (CAP) program. The CAP process will bring together science, management, business, community and Traditional Owner partners to identify local actions which address regional priorities for Reef protection outcomes. The Foundation will invite the Hub Engagement Coordinator as an observer for the online collaborative design process with CAP Leaders from across the GBR to learn about the approach and consider applicability for the Hub and projects.

Can EOIs apply to monitor existing restoration projects?

EOIs should carefully consider alignment with the assessment criteria when deciding to submit an application.

#FAQs: RFPs for Engagement Coordinator

We are working with partners – can we apply for a collaborative service model approach to delivering the Coordinator role?

The RFP offers a flexible approach to delivery for the Engagement Coordinator role. Applicants can propose their recommended model. If there are multiple individuals/organisations involved in the RFP, then roles should be clearly defined and there should be consideration to how the model will offer a cost-effective and efficient approach that clearly demonstrates how it will increase coordination efforts.

#FAQs: Establishing the Reef Restoration Hub

How do I get involved in the Hub?

In coming months (between July and September) a series of consultations will be undertaken with GBR Traditional Owners, and, regional and industry stakeholders in the Cairns-Port Douglas region. These consultations will help define the aims and structure of the Hub and how it can best support local restoration networks and best practice. We are proposing to seek nominees from representative groups to participate in an Interim Hub Reference Group to inform the Hub design and the development of a regional engagement plan to guide to the Coordinator in supporting key relationships in the region. We see inclusivity as an important principle of the Hub and we anticipate it will connect a much wider network of interested parties.

How will this program link with the Reef Restoration and Adaptation Program (RRAP)?

A range of initiatives in the region are already supporting reef restoration and protection.
The Hub aims to build on this existing work, strengthening coordination, information exchange and partnerships.

The Cairns-Port Douglas Reef Restoration Hub will bring multiple groups together to share experience, knowledge, resources and cutting-edge technologies.

The Hub will also provide a network for connecting local researchers and practitioners with larger-scale programs such as the recently announced Reef Restoration and Adaptation Program (RRAP).
Over the coming months, we’ll be working with a range of partners to design the framework for the Hub to best support shared goals and priorities – this will include the details of how the Hub and Hub Engagement Coordinator will help to support projects and partners, with a specific focus on supporting knowledge and information between local projects and RRAP.

How can I access the RRAP feasibility report?

The RRAP Feasibility report is publicly available at:

Would you consider calling this a resilience building hub?

We’re using the term reef restoration to describe active intervention that aims to assist the recovery of reef structure, function, and key species in the face of rising climate and other human pressures.

Restoration is one tool in supporting reef resilience. A resilience hub would have a much broader scope.

We see restoration as a mechanism to support site stewardship at high value sites and to prompt broader resilience approaches including linking with other management actions, building understanding, offering meaningful engagement and empowerment, and promoting action on climate change.

The design of the Hub over the next several months offers an opportunity to discuss terms, language, and communication in greater detail and then consider how this influences shared communications approaches, including the name.

How will the Hub build upon existing local efforts rather than start from scratch?

The Hub is very much about support for information exchange and collaboration amoungst projects in the area, and with RRAP (and beyond!)
The Hub goals and framework will be designed working with a range of people and organisations over the coming months.
The Hub will be supported through a locally based Engagement Coordinator role.
Existing projects are encouraged to apply for funding through the EOI process open now.

Does GBRF have a production team to produce regular communications?

GBRF has an in house communications team.
Projects will be communicating their story and GBRF will support where we can to provide additional reach and impact to amplify communications.
The Engagement Coordinator will support cohesive communications for the portfolio of projects and where suitable for the Hub.

Will there be consideration to streamline costs by supporting the already existing 'hubs' with funding?

Existing networks/platforms/groups will be considered in design of the Hub.
The Request for Proposal for the Engagement Coordinator role looks for the role to ideally be hosted through a local organisation
Supporting a Coordination role and strengthening information exchange is designed to increase efficiencies by supporting collaboration and reducing duplication.
The Hub also provides a streamlined connection point to the RRAP program.

Does membership in the Hub Interim Reference Group create a conflict of interest, if that person is also connected to an application? How can this be handled? Is membership only available to people who are not involved in applications?

The Interim Reference Group for the Cairns-Port Douglas Reef Restoration Hub will provide strategic advice and feedback to support the design of the hub model and help to identify regional priorities to support successful implementation and impact of the Hub.

We understand that those with interest and experience who may like to contribute to the Interim Reference Group may also be part of projects. We plan to closely manage this through transparent Conflict of Interest statements and management plans.

The Interim Reference Group representatives are intended to be a voice for the perspective for their sector and sharing their experience/learnings – not representing their organisations.

The Interim Reference Group is not involved in assessment of project funding.

Will new projects be required to include strong public engagement and/or education aspects - and if so, how do you plan to ensure that accurate information is communicated? How will the Hub support cohesive messaging about the health of the Great Barrier

The selection criteria outlines that projects should:

- enable meaningful community and Traditional Owner engagement and capacity building in Reef restoration activities and associated Reef stewardship actions, as well as

- offer compelling and measurable end of project outcomes (including social, cultural, ecological and economic outcomes) with enduring benefits.

We expect that project partners will carefully craft and deliver accurate information.

There are opportunities through the Coordinator and Hub to support some shared key messaging.