The Hunter-Central Rivers Catchment Management Authority (HCRCMA), through recent
engagement with volunteer groups, has realised that they may have the capacity to conduct
research that complements the NSW marine habitat mapping program currently being
undertaken by the NSW Department of Environment and Climate Change (DECC). This report outlines the first stage in an attempt to facilitate collection of sound and relevant data that will augment the more formal research program.
The aims of this project were to:
- Identify all NSW underwater volunteer groups currently undertaking, or with the capacity to undertake, marine research programs;
- Develop a database on marine volunteer groups, which details each group’s experience
levels and marine research activities to date;
- Catalogue the experience and capacity level of the volunteers;
- Identify training programs and trainers that have provided support for volunteer groups;
- Liaise with managing authorities to determine activities considered suitable for volunteer
groups that would help to address specific management questions;
- Provide support and training to two volunteer dive groups with different capacity and
experience and make recommendations regarding survey methods and survey design;
- Evaluate quality assurance and quality control measures used within the groups to
standardise data collection; and
- Make recommendations for ongoing engagement with volunteer groups that will promote
standardisation of data collection and their ability to provide robust and accurate data to
inform specific management issues.
The full report can be acessed through the following link.