- Monitoring focuses on providing information that informs improved park management.
- Monitoring provides relevant, reliable information that park managers use to make decisions and to evaluate the effectiveness of actions (which flow from those decisions).
- The level of monitoring for each park is guided by the Monitoring and Research Strategy.
- Basic monitoring will be carried out for all parks, using health check indicators to monitor the condition of key values.
Monitoring and the QPWS Values-Based Management Framework
Monitoring is an important part of our Values Based Management Framework (VBMF)—allowing us to track the condition of park values and our efforts toward managing them. Monitoring includes collecting and processing relevant, reliable data and information on park values. Monitoring allows us to evaluate our performance through evaluating and then fine-tuning our management strategies and/or objectives.
Our monitoring programs are focused on key values, and provide information that can help improve park management (i.e. conditions and trends of key values). Our planning process determines which values require monitoring.
Sharing of monitoring information is critical to inform our decision-making and improve on-ground management—so information collection and sharing must be timely and easily accessed by park managers. Information that we capture through the park evaluations and health checks aligns with international evaluation frameworks and supports our high level reporting as well as our on-ground management. Park value condition data gathered will be stored within park systems for easy analysis.
Determining the level of monitoring for each park
Routine ‘health checks’ will be undertaken on all parks to see if key values are ok. They will help us to know the current condition of key values and, over time, whether their condition is stable, improving or getting worse. Such information is critical to making good management decisions. More detailed monitoring can be undertaken where specialist information is needed to confirm the condition of values and to evaluate values whose condition cannot be determined through ‘health checks.’
The level or complexity of monitoring for each park is guided by the Monitoring and Research Strategy. Generally lower Level of Service (LoS) parks will require only health checks or basic monitoring, while high priority LoS parks and those with exceptional values will require more detailed monitoring and targeted research. However, more complex monitoring and research may be undertaken on lower LoS parks where there are high values/species.
Health checks will be used to evaluate the condition of key values identified through values assessment workshops. The health check uses simple, visual assessment cues and requires no specialist skills or equipment. Please refer to the resources section below to read the Health Checks guides, which provide instructions to land managers in how to undertake Health Checks. Health Checks enable the condition and trend of values or assets to be evaluated over time and emerging issues to be identified and addressed early to prevent degradation. There are three guides—one for monitoring natural values (e.g. remnant vegetation communities); another for visitor values (e.g. campgrounds); and the third for historic or post European values (e.g. shearing sheds). The concepts and methods are very similar across all three Health Checks.
Basic monitoring will be undertaken on high priority parks by park managers and Regional Technical Support staff as part of their normal duties. Examples include mapping the distribution of a priority weed species and monitoring pest animal activity using sand pads, to evaluate the effectiveness of control programs over time.
Detailed monitoring will be focused on very high priority parks which require management action to protect or enhance significant values. Detailed monitoring done by the Ecological Assessment Unit is targeted, well designed, fit-for-purpose and adequately resourced. It is also scrutinised to ensure that data continues to be captured, analysed and used to inform management. Targeted research done by external researchers may be needed for parks with exceptional values.
- Scope: Routine health checks of key values is undertaken across all parks as part of routine duties of park managers. Other basic monitoring is undertaken only as required in association with activities such as fire and pest management.
- Skills and training: Minimal training and no specialist skills required.
- Data collection: Simple, standard methods, protocols and proforma. Methods rely on structured observation (qualitative) and simple measures or indices.
- Data management: Data stored on corporate systems, obtained when monitoring key values using standard performance indicators, and will be stored on the values assessment database.
- Scope: Undertaken as part of a coordinated effort and approved project plan because of the scale (temporal and/or spatial) and/or resources required.
- Skills and training: Usually requires specialist skills or advice (at least initially) and some training.
- Data collection: The same fit for purpose methodology is used across all sites for a given project. Control sites will usually be required. Methods may include structured observations (qualitative) and quantitative measures/indices (more often the latter).
- Data management: Data stored on corporate systems.
What is the next step?
We will use information gathered through monitoring programs to evaluate and report on whether management actions have been effective in achieving a range of desired park management outcomes.
For more information on the monitoring approach contact:
Rhonda Melzer, Manager Ecological Assessment
Ph: (07) 4936 0552
- Natural Values Health Checks guide
This guide provides information and instructions for undertaking health checks to monitor the condition of natural values that are ecosystem-based, such as regional ecosystems, vegetation communities and fauna habitat.
- Visitor Values Health Checks guide
This guide provides information and instructions for undertaking health checks to monitor the condition of tangible visitor values such as campgrounds, walking tracks, scenic lookouts and day-use areas.
- Historic Values Health Checks guide
This guide provides information and instructions for undertaking health checks to monitor the condition of tangible historic (post-European contact) values such as historic homesteads, shearing sheds, cemeteries and orchards.