A new monitoring program is set to identify what fauna species are living on our coastal reserves and measure the success of ongoing conservation works.
The Great Ocean Road Coast Committee (GORCC) is working with volunteer groups to establish a monitoring system which will gather data using a range of techniques including infrared cameras, and mammal surveys.
Flora surveying will also be conducted, with transect lines and photo points to be set up on conservation sites.
GORCC Environmental Projects Manager, Alex Sedger said that the program will provide an in-depth analysis of the different species living along the coast and help GORCC and volunteers to develop conservation strategies.
“It is important that we are able to quantify the fauna in the area to direct resources in the best strategic way.
“Our conservation has primarily focused on weed control and pest eradication, so it will be interesting to analyse what impact our work is having on the environment,” Ms Sedger said.
GORCC has engaged local consultant Luke Hynes from Beacon Ecological to assist with the revision and implementation of the organisation’s Native Vegetation and Weed Action Plan.
Mr Hynes, who recommended the implementation of a monitoring system, said the infrared cameras are an important tool in evaluating the health of the environment.
“The data collected from the cameras will provide valuable information for GORCC’s land management and will help educate volunteer groups about the animals in the area,” Mr Hynes said.
The cameras will be set up in several different locations to record both native and pest animal activity in each area.
Parks Victoria has successfully used infrared cameras in the Otways region and most recently in Wilsons Promontory to monitor fauna, capturing a number of native animals including endangered and threated species.
“The results of their research is very encouraging and we hope the monitoring we undertake in our local area will have similar results,” Ms Sedger said.
It is hoped that the cameras will also capture feral pests with a particular focus on their impact on vulnerable species such as the Hooded Plover.
Ms Sedger said the project would include collaboration with the many environmental volunteer groups working on the GORCC –managed coast.
“Volunteers are very keen to see this type of monitoring take place and we are looking forward to working with them and supporting their invaluable work,” she said.
More information on environmental volunteering is available at www.gorcc.com.au.
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