Floodplain infrastructure is designed to target specific ecological results at each site. Objectives have already been identified for key ecological themes, including vegetation health, birds, fish, frogs, carbon, and water flows.
Monitoring these objectives helps site managers keep an eye on the health of the floodplain and informs decisions about future watering and land management activities at the site. It allows us to see changes at each site and adaptively change watering and land management practices to respond appropriately.
Monitoring involves scientists visiting the sites and recording data about the ecological themes. For example, the relationship between floodplain watering and the response from waterbirds is well understood. Objectives for waterbird abundance and breeding have been identified for wetlands at each site. To monitor whether these objectives are being met, scientists will visit selected locations at each site and record the number of species present, evidence of breeding and how much time each species spends feeding.
Catchment Management Authorities (CMA) are responsible for the ecological monitoring program for VMFRP sites in their area.
Ecological monitoring programs began at the nine VMFRP sites in 2021
The VMFRP watering infrastructure is planned to be operational by 2024 (pending government approvals). It is important to start this ecological monitoring now, so we can collect a few years of baseline data before we start watering the sites. This information will help us understand the health of the floodplains before and after VMFRP watering begins.