ACT and Region Biodiversity Monitoring (Vegwatch) is a community science monitoring program designed around the ACT Vegetation Survey and Monitoring Manual by Sarah Sharp and Lori Gould. The Molonglo Conservation Group have tested the repeatability and robustness of volunteer data gathered using the manual against data gathered by professionals using the same process via an ACT Environment Grant. The project found that the manual was a suitable tool for a community based biodiversity survey.
The project builds on the experiences gained from Waterwatch and Frogwatch in the design of the program, including the use of QA/QC procedures and refresher training to ensure the data is credible and can be used by decision makers with confidence. The M-CHiP-style central reporting mechanism will also be mirrored as will the Waterwatch method of communicating results to volunteers via monthly and yearly reporting, taking the form of a seasonal run-down of results and a yearly report.
The project will deliver:
- identification/development of a central reporting hub for data gathered
- training for volunteer groups and landholders across the ACT and region
- consultation with key stakeholders to identify key sites for monitoring to ensure a broad coverage of the ACT and region
- establishment of a twice yearly survey period including monitoring kits for each group
- professional assistance with plant identification
- feeding the data gathered up the chain to key decision makers via the Conservation Council’s Biodiversity Mapping project
- WoNS and threatened species data gathered and mapped across the ACT and region, this will be dependent upon these species being present in survey areas
- reporting back to groups and landholders the results across the ACT and region
The ACT and Region Biodiversity Monitoring Project is is being implemented with assistance from the Australian Government’s Caring for our Country and the ACT Government.