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Community-based monitoring of Victoria´s marine national parks and marine sanctuaries

posted on 2005-01-01, 00:00 authored by Rebecca Koss, Patrick Gilmour, Kelly MillerKelly Miller, Alecia BellgroveAlecia Bellgrove, J McBurnie, Geoffrey Wescott, Ashley Bunce
This study investigated community-based monitoring in Victoria’s Marine National Parks (MNPs) and Sanctuaries (MSs) from January to May 2004. The primary aim of this study was to evaluate the potential for community-based monitoring projects to assist in the collection of data for the management of Victoria’s MNPs and MSs. The pilot habitats that were assessed included subtidal reefs at the Merri MS, intertidal reefs at Ricketts Point MS and seagrass beds at Corner Inlet MNP. The three main objectives for this study were to:
 - Develop a template for the monitoring of marine habitats by community groups.
 - Assess the quality and integrity of data collected by community volunteers.
 - Determine a sustainable model for community monitoring of marine habitats.
Three standard operating procedures (SOPs) in the form of a “how to” manual, were developed for each habitat type. The SOPs were adapted from scientifically robust studies and developed in consultation with community volunteer groups by means of field trials. Volunteer feedback assisted in the final SOP design. The SOP will allow Parks Victoria Rangers to develop community-based programs within the parks. The SOPs are accessible as Parks Victoria Technical Series Numbers 16, 17 and 18. Data collected by volunteers across the three habitat sites were assessed and compared to that collected by scientists. It was found that data quality collected by volunteers was dependent on habitat type and the type of measurement the volunteer was required to assess. Volunteer estimation measurements were highly variable across all three habitat sites, compared to quantitative data collection. Subtidal monitoring had the greatest potential for inconsistency in data collection. Intertidal monitoring is the most sustainable of the three habitat monitoring procedures. Sustainability of community-based monitoring programs is dependent on continued support and training by the management authority of Victoria’s MNPs and MSs. For the expansion of the monitoring programs to other MNPs and MSs, the management authority could expand strong relationships with the community volunteer groups.



Parks Victoria technical series ; no. 19


Parks Victoria

Place of publication

Melbourne, Vic.






'March 2005'

Publication classification

A5 Minor research monograph

Copyright notice

2005, Parks Victoria

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