Community based monitoring is valued by the SA MDB NRM Board and the following resources and support is available to help you increase your knowledge.
There are numerous community monitoring groups and monitoring activities taking place in the SA MDB region, information on some of these activities can be found in the Community Monitoring Online Database (see below) and the following link community & additional monitoring activities.
Community Monitoring Online Database
The Community Monitoring Online Database for the region became operational in March 2010 and it allows for:
- Direct entry of community surface water data
- Information about surface water monitoring groups
- Public access to the collected data
- Greater uptake and use of data collected
- Designed for use by individuals with limited computer experience
The database contains surface water information on over 100 sites. By making information publicly available, communities can showcase how they are part of natural resource management in this region.
The database increases the ability to add value to the data collected and includes metadata outlining the quality rating. The public have access to quality controlled data sets and can view a map of the monitoring sites.
Community groups, schools and individual landholders can log in, upload their own data and more easily access their own and other group's monitoring data, which will encourage and facilitate interaction between groups, landholders and education institutions.
Community Based Monitoring Review and Framework
A Review of Community Based Monitoring in the SA MDB NRM region (1.4mb) was undertaken in 2005. The study consulted representatives from community based monitoring groups about the motivation, level of participation, benefits and obstacles to participating in community based monitoring.
While community groups had confidence that their monitoring programs were contributing to local planning and action, there was generally lower confidence that they were having an impact on regional decision-making.
A follow up review was conducted in August 2011 which provides an up-to-date picture of participator monitoring in the SA MDB region.
Review of Participatory Monitoring in the South Australian Murray-Darling NRM Region (3mb)
As a result of the first review, a Community Based Monitoring Framework (843kb) was developed to provide guidance on how to implement community based monitoring so that the greatest benefits are achieved for the participants, the regional NRM board and the wider community. The Framework includes:
- How community monitoring can be used to support the SA MDB region’s broader monitoring, evaluation and reporting needs
- How to assess the quality of community-based data
- How to build the community’s capacity to gather this information
- The tools needed to transfer this knowledge
- Roles and responsibilities, and
- Planning for community groups.
Implementation of the Framework identified gaps in tools required to meet monitoring groups’ needs, which led to the development of a Community Monitoring Framework Toolkit
Community Monitoring Framework Toolkit
For long-term monitoring of natural resource change, data and information must be comparable over time and by location. It is recommended that groups involved in monitoring activities, plan and coordinate their efforts through the use of tools in evaluation and reflection, communication, quality data collection, management and analysis. This ensures that information gathered at the local level is as useful as possible at the local and regional scale.
The Tool Kit includes extensive practical resources to help community groups to get started or improve their existing programs. Toolkit is not a prescriptive monitoring manual nor is it intended to be the primary resource for setting up and running a community monitoring groups. It seeks to bring together a broad range of information but is not designed to replace the support of technical expertise.
The Toolkit is divided into the following sections for ease of downloading:
Getting Started: includes ‘why monitor’ and tips for new of established monitoring group Planning and Coordination: A Monitoring Plan Example (169kb), a Monitoring Plan Template (284kb) and Further Reading (84kb). Communication: includes Guidelines for Preparing a Communication Plan (175kb), Media Release Tips (82kb), Media Release Example (50kb) and Briefing Paper Example (50kb). Data Collection: Introduction to Quality Assurance and Quality Control (151kb) , Quality Control Sampling (48kb) and Compiling a QA/QC Plan(76kb) Example QA/QC Proformas (158kb): include examples of calibrating recording instruments, training checklist, volunteer training log, checking mystery samples and checking testing protocols and equipment through shadow testing. Quality Assurance & Quality Control Checklists Guidelines for Data Management (115kb): some general information about how to organize and keep track of data Data Analysis and Interpretation – includes an Introduction to Analysis, Interpretation and Control Charts and a Control Chart Example (166kb) Tips for Recruiting and Retaining Volunteers (125kb)
The Toolkit is also available for copying from the following natural resources centres:
- Berri, Wade Street, Berri, Telephone: (08) 8580 1800
- Mt Barker, Upper Level, Corner Mann and Walker St, Mt Barker, Telephone: (08) 8391 7500
- Murray Bridge, Mannum Rd, Murray Bridge, Telephone: (08) 8532 9100
- Strathalbyn, 6 Katherine St, Strathalbyn, Telephone: (08) 8536 8125
Quality Assurance & Quality Control Checklists
Quality Assurance (QA) and Quality Control (QC) checklists have been developed for a range of monitoring activities to help you produce data of known quality and enhance the credibility of your group in reporting monitoring results.
The following checklists are available:
QA/QC Checklist - Birds (59kb) QA/QC Checklist - Fish using nets (59kb) QA/QC Checklist - Frogs (59kb) QA/QC Checklist - Groundwater (59kb) QA/QC Checklist - Macro Invertebrate (60kb) QA/QC Checklist - Small reptile and mammal (58kb) QA/QC Checklist - Surface Water (59kb) QA/QC Checklist - Tortoise (58kb) QA/QC Checklist - Vegetation using line transects (59kb) QA/QC Checklist - Vegetation using photopoints (58kb) QA/QC Checklist - Vegetation using weed mapping (59kb)
Support for existing community monitoring programs is provided by Natural Resources SA MDB staff. These include annual upskilling and new training opportunities are provided on an as needs and interest basis. The community drive the process by identifying their areas of interest and support needs.
Topics include water quality testing, bush condition monitoring (see below), data analysis, group capacity building and working safely.
Register expressions of interest to attend workshops by contacting Greg Lundstrom.
Bushland Condition Monitoring
Natural Resources SA MDB is working with the Nature Conservation Council of South Australia to deliver field based, hands on training to the community to increase our knowledge of the condition of bushland. Monitoring condition and understanding the major threats is an important part of preserving stands of native vegetation.
The South Australian Murray-Darling Basin Bushland Condition Monitoring Manual was completed in late 2009 and is an excellent resource used to support the training. The manual comprises three volumes; Field Guide; Bush Condition Indicators; and Vegetation Communities of the SA MDB region.
To register interest in Bushland Condition Monitoring training or to find out more about the monitoring project contact Greg Lundstrom or visit the Nature Conservation Council of South Australia’s Bushland Condition Monitoring web pages.
Previous Community Monitoring Projects
In 2006 the SA MDB NRM Board partnered with the Australian Government, through the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry’s Bureau of Rural Sciences (BRS), to undertake four interconnected salinity monitoring community focused programs across the region. The project supported communities within the region by providing them with the means to identify areas within their catchments that are at risk from salinity.
The information and recommendations generated through this project provided valuable learning, which is still being drawn on to develop new projects to support community monitoring in the SA MDB region.
The following is available to download:
Evaluation of Community Stream Sampling and Community Mapping Project 2006-2008 (280kb)
The Executive Summary, recommendations and full report are available by contacting:
See also the links on the remainder of this web page, community & additional monitoring activities and the following:
River Murray Waterwatch & NRM Education Community Wetland Management Resources Wetlands Baseline Survey e-Tool Waterwatch Australia Environmental Monitoring Tools - Victorian Department of Primary Industries Land Manager's Monitoring Guide - Queensland Natural Resources and Water