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Governor's Environment Scholarship

14 April 2011

River management, beach erosion and the carbon sink values in coastal wetlands will be the focus of research undertaken by this year’s winners of the Governor’s Environment Scholarship.

The scholarship is available to University of Tasmania students undertaking an honours or masters project, in any faculty, which relates to management of the environment. Three, one-year scholarships each worth $5000 have been awarded in 2011 and the EPA is one of several sponsors helping provide the funds.

Anne Garratt’s project will analyse river management at Dasher River, which is part of the Mersey River catchment in north-west Tasmania. Using desk analysis, Anne will review a number of completed, short term projects, followed by field surveys and stakeholder interviews.

The 28-year old mother of three lives in Devonport and says the aim of her thesis is to explore the effectiveness of river management practices and changing needs of the catchment with evolving challenges.

“The river is my backyard and I love the fact I now have the opportunity to help tell this story,” Anne says.

Launceston based Kim Beasy’s project will examine the carbon sink values in coastal wetlands. Kim’s work will compare the quantity of carbon in native salt marsh relative to introduced rice grass. She intends to develop a general model that can be applied to all coastal environments as well as inland ecosystems.

21-year old Kim is honored to receive the scholarship. “I am really passionate about this research and believe that I wouldn’t have been able to do it without the funding,” Kim says.

22-year old Hannah Walford lives in Hobart but her research spotlight is on the state’s west coast. Hannah aims to investigate recent evidence suggesting erosion at Ocean Beach has been accelerated during the last few decades. She will examine a range of possible causes including sea-level rise and human interference.

“I will actually only be on site at Ocean Beach for a couple of days,” Hannah explains. “The majority of my time will be spent using air photographs to reconstruct spatial changes of the coast over time, surveying the beach profile, showing the geomorphology of erosion sites along the beach and examining sand samples to gain an understanding of the movement of sand along the beach.”

The scholarships were presented by His Excellency The Honourable Peter Underwood AC, Governor of Tasmania at a ceremony at Government House attended by EPA Board members Ian Abernethy and Alex Schaap and staff from the EPA Division.

All three scholarship recipients are from the UTAS School of Geography and Environment Studies and their Honours work will be supervised by Dr Joanna Ellison.