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Coastal zone to benefit from collaborative work on indicators

The Environment Division's Coastal and Marine Branch is playing a key role in developing a set of indicators that will ultimately improve the management of Tasmania's fragile coastal zone.

The branch is working with a large group of specialists, coastal managers and the State's three Natural Resource Management (NRM) regions.

The National NRM Monitoring and Evaluation Framework requires NRM regions to report on their activities (eg habitat restoration, revegetation, etc) and the degree to which these have maintained or improved natural resource condition (eg water quality, spread of invasive species, etc).

Estuarine, coastal and marine habitat integrity is one of the 10 "matters for target" being addressed through the regional NRM strategies.

In an earlier national project, the Coastal Co-operative Research Centre was commissioned to identify indicators for coasts and estuaries, and produced the report ยก"Users' guide for estuarine, coastal and marine indicators for regional NRM monitoring".

This was the starting point for the current Tasmanian Estuarine, Coastal and Marine (ECM) Indicators Working Group.

Over the past year, in collaboration with all other jurisdictions, 19 indicators have now been selected for national reporting.

These cover marine and coastal habitat extent and species abundance, a range of water quality parameters, and coastal processes.

The indicators are:

Extent and Distribution of key habitat types
Dissolved oxygen
Algal blooms
Animal or plant species abundance
Chlorophyll a
Presence / extent of litter
Coral bleaching
Salinity (EC)
Vertebrates impacted by human activities
Sedimentation/erosion rates
Mass mortality events
Shoreline position
Pest species (number, density, distribution)
Targeted pathogen counts
Toxicants (in water / sediments / biota)
Turbidity / water clarity

The ECM Indicators Working Group has now identified existing data sets, monitoring programs, methodologies and standards that relate to these indicators and produced a draft Tasmanian Coastal, Estuarine and Marine Indicators Compendium.

The Working Group has been greatly assisted by the "Trialing Resource Condition Indicators for the coastal Zone" project run by Richard Mount, UTAS, with funding support by the National Land and Water Resources Audit.

The ECM Indicators Working Group will be continuing to refine the compendium, and has begun the challenging task of looking at data management and useful information products.

For further information about resource condition indicators for Tasmania's coastal zone visit:
www.dpiw.tas.gov.au/coasts and go to the indicator link, or call Eloise Carr in the Coastal and Marine Branch on 6233 3947.

For further information about Natural Resource Management visit: