The image of a kangaroo and her joey are among the new images capturing some of the coast’s diverse fauna as part of the Great Ocean Road Coast Committee’s (GORCC) motion-sensor, infrared camera monitoring. Read more
New technology helps track feral cats
An innovative feral cat mapping and reporting ‘app’ is helping land managers and communities tackle the ongoing issues caused by feral cats. Read more
Volunteer chick protection effort
Local volunteers are working around the clock in an effort to help recently hatched Hooded Plover chicks survive on busy Surf Coast beaches this breeding season. Read more
Elusive fauna captured on camera
The Southern Brown Bandicoot and rare Rufous Bristlebird have been captured on infrared, motion-sensing cameras in Aireys Inlet.
The cameras, which were recently installed by the Great Ocean Road Coast Committee (GORCC) as part of a new conservation monitoring program, record and identify animal activity in coastal habitats.
The below footage shows the Rufous Bristlebird amongst the vegetation:
The footage was collected within weeks of placing the cameras on coastal restoration sites. GORCC Education Activity Leader Peter Crowcroft said the sighting of a bandicoot, in particular, was unexpected and exciting.
“We are very fortunate the Southern Brown Bandicoot wandered into the monitoring area. We weren’t expecting to have such a good sighting of a bandicoot, especially within the first week.
“We are thrilled to have images of these animals in the area as it provides photographic evidence that the work we are doing is valuable for their survival. Until now there was no real way to confirm that rare species are living in the revegetated areas along the coast, so this evidence is very encouraging,” he said.
Read the full media release here.
Are there any rare species you hope our infrared cameras will find? Let us know in the comments below!
Snapshot of the coast
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.
What do you think about the new monitoring systems? Have your say below.
Sensors to stop stealthy predators
Data collected by Parks Victoria using infrared camera trapping is helping keep track of threatened species and monitor the control of predators like cats and foxes. It sounds very technical but according to a recent Surf Coast Times article it’s easy, cheap and causes minimal disturbance to native wildlife.
How does infrared camera trapping work?
Digital cameras are set up at various montitoring sites and help researchers to determine the effectiveness of their current fox and cat control methods. The cameras not only collect images of predators but have taken some great pictures of rarely seen native wildlife.
The monitoring is helping to collect data on mammals and birds where is the past information was based on estimates and guess work.
Where are the cameras located?
Monitoring has taken place over 4 years in more than 40 sites in the Anglesea Heath and the Great Otway National Park.
The results so far…
The data collected has shown small mammal numbers are increasing and rare animals like the Bandicoot are being spotted more frequently.
The research has also found rainfall is a key factor in wildlife population changes. When there is better rainfall in a season more animals were caught on film. This is because better plant growth means more insects for the wildlife to feed on which then results in a better breeding season with more babies.
Have the cameras caught anything interesting?
Two male Scarlet Robins were caught having a territorial dispute.
Also spotted were the White Footed Dunnart, Southern Brown Bandicoots, a long-nosed Bandicoot, Button Quail, Owlet NightJars, Echidna, Possum and Currawong.
To read the full article click here.
More information about Parks Victoria and this project is available at www.parks.vic.gov.au or by calling 131 963.
Cats and foxes are highly prevalent on the Surf Coast to learn more about these predators check out these links.
Who let the cats out? A blog about cat curfews on the Surf Coast.
Predatory pests targeted in Juc a blog about fox trapping in Jan Juc.
Click here to learn about more ways you can help to protect native wildlife.
Next steps to realising our future
The forum generated various ideas for the next steps that could be taken towards realising our future aspirations as coast carers. These ideas could be grouped into four key themes.
In the conversations we have from now onwards, we need to:
- continue to talk about the BIG questions that we hold and find ways of communicating the key messages simply – with each other and with others (e.g. Why is our work important? What does it matter?)
- create opportunities for more conversations between our community and the various agencies involved in coast care
- look for opportunities where people are gathering to talk about related topics (e.g. fire management) and draw links to our purpose and activities, and
- reframe the language we use when communicating with others (e.g. refer to ‘vegetation’ as ‘habitat’ – see Birds Australia publications for good examples of simple, accessible language).
We also need to use the stories we share as a foundation to:
- create an ‘interpretive story’ for visitors to experience on the soon-to-be-built Surf Coast Walk
- set a mission that everyone shares the stories (i.e. what we do and why) with as many people as we can and then invite them to join us in taking action
- capture and share the great stories that we all know about (and start to actively collect these stories in words, photos and video), and
- use our broader network to create its own online space that is accessible and simple, and allows local groups to upload and share stories, photos, event details, questions and video.
In the work we do together, we can start to:
- fund and prioritise ongoing monitoring programs to inform our learning and outcomes
- make our activities more visible to other people, starting with working bees and other activities on the Great Ocean Road (Note: during the forum, Coast Action/Coastcare provided a sign template that groups could use to promote their activities)
- start to research and document (e.g. in a story) the extent to which we are ‘winning or losing’ the battle to save key ecosystem species/the war against environmental weed species, and
- begin looking to the philanthropic sector as a possible funding source for our projects (e.g. www.ourcommunity.com.au).
By networking more we could:
- find a central point of contact that works across all the agencies (e.g. Coast Action/Coastcare)
- update our own lists of all current volunteer groups, starting with centralised information sources (e.g. Surf Coast Shire, Great Ocean Road Coast Committee), and
- make the effort to do more ‘volunteer exchanges’ when doing on-ground works.
If we focus on implementing some or all of these ideas as we talk, share, work together and network, we will move forward together and achieve more on-ground success in caring for the coast!
Taking the initiative
The Eagle Rock Marine Sanctuary is regularly frequented by a group of local snorkelers from Anglesea and Aireys Inlet. Some 12 months ago, this informal group identified that, while the Friends of Point Addis group encompasses Eagle Rock, there was certainly room to establish a standalone friends group.
With Eagle Rock right on the snorkelers’ doorsteps, the group recognised the importance of the sanctuary to the local community – who share a sense of pride in it – and to the snorkeling/diving community (several times a year, it produces conditions for snorkeling and scuba diving that would be hard to beat anywhere in the world).
In addition, members felt that the sanctuary itself would benefit from an organisation that provided opportunities for the general public to engage with it in more meaningful ways (e.g. monitoring, stewardship, training).
Consequently, the Friends of Eagle Rock Marine Sanctuary group was created to work on projects specific to the sanctuary.
Noticing that the Eagle Rock Marine Sanctuary Management Plan (which is incorporated within the Point Addis Management Plan) recommends regular monitoring to compare locations inside and outside of the sanctuary’s boundary, several group members have since put up their hands to bring this monitoring to life.
The group will work with Reef Watch, Sea Search, the Great Victorian Fish Count and Eco-Logic to engage local and visiting school groups, and members of the public in the monitoring project. Plans are also afoot to create an interactive website to educate and engage sanctuary visitors. This would include underwater footage, monitoring data, visitor information and the like.
As the Marine Parks and Sanctuary system is still relatively new, the group is also interested in the management plans for these parks, including how recommendations should be addressed to make the pending review of these documents worthwhile. With questions around the role and importance of marine parks and sanctuaries on the political agenda, the group believes a true understanding of their economic, ecological and social values is yet to be determined.
While still early days, the establishment of the Friends of Eagle Rock Marine Sanctuary group illustrates:
- the value of people who enjoy a common interest joining together to share their passion with others
- how identifying an existing shortfall can create new opportunities
- the benefits of taking the initiative on an issue rather than waiting for someone else to take action, and
- the importance of putting something back into the community or environment rather than taking it for granted.
Story by Andy Gray, Director, Eco-Logic Education and Environment Services