Project: RAMSAR Pest plant mapping.
Client: Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources
This Pest Plant Mapping project was an initiative of the Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources (DEWNR), with on ground works provided by Mapping Services Australia (MSA) and local Natural Resource Management consultants.
The Riverland RAMSAR Site is located adjacent to the River Murray between Renmark and the Victorian / New South Wales borders and covers approximately 30,600 hectares of semi-arid land which is absolutely dependent on the River Murray, its backwaters and tributaries.
Mapping Services were contracted to map pest and plant infestations on selected properties, which would provide stakeholders critical data to help make important decisions in improving the ecological character, health and sustainability of these recognised wetlands.
The initial scope of the project included 18 properties (located on the southern side of the Murray River, between Paringa and the Customs House), with approximately 3950 hectares surveyed to complete the project.
Due to the nature of the landscape (sandy cliff ridges and cliff gullies), most surveying was done on foot, but were terrain allowed a quad bike was used. Data was stored on a Getac PDA device with easy upload, download and syncing abilities to ensure ongoing access to the most up to date data.
At the completion of the field work, both overview Plant and Pest maps were produced together with individual property maps with supporting statistical data. The maps were used for both further landholder consultation and project reporting purposes, with a final report provided to DEWNR to assist with future management of the area.
Funding has since been secured to continue the project over five years, with additional landholders coming on board for the second survey period, while previously surveyed landholders have been able to see the results of control measures initiated following the first data collection using comparative property maps.
The success of the project was further demonstrated with it being a Semi-Finalist in the Premiers NRM Awards in 2013.