Friends of Point Addis (FoPA) volunteers are working with Parks Victoria to monitor the health of marine national parks as part of a state-wide coastal data collection project.
The Sea Search program is a Parks Victoria initiative which sees local volunteer groups conduct research into marine wildlife populations and environmental processes in marine protected areas.
Counting the number of algae and invertebrate species, particularly sea snails, has been FoPA’s main focus since becoming involved in the program.
Parks Victoria Ranger Peter Hayes hopes the data collected will be used to support efforts to tackle environmental threats and to encourage others to take responsibility for their coastline.
“The information we gather will help us to identify the number of different species, especially algae and invertebrates, in the area and to monitor their health,” he said.
Pest species are also identified, with information collected used to assist in the prevention of outbreaks and reduction of threats.
“We are also tracking a number of invasive species with particular focus on the Northern Pacific sea star and Japanese Kelp,” said Mr. Hayes.
FoPA President Bronwyn Spark said the ongoing program will provide reliable data about the number of species local to Point Addis and how to protect them.
“The data we collect will tell us what is living in our backyard and will be reported back to the community.
“The project has provided FoPA with more information than ever before about the variety of species in the area,” she said.
“The program’s ongoing nature results in a good snapshot of the health of the area and helps us to identify if a trend is seasonal or long term,” said Mr. Hayes.
Parks Victoria provides an experienced ranger and equipment to support volunteers as they conduct the comprehensive research.
“Sea Search is about getting people in the marine sanctuaries, discovering what is there, teaching people to identify the different species and helping educate others,” Mr Hayes said.
More information on the program is available at Parks Victoria.
To learn more about the Friends of Point Addis and other environmental volunteer groups operating across our region, visit www.gorcc.com.au.
Have you thought of volunteering? Visit our website for more information.