Through the Regional NRM Planning for Climate Change Project, the South West Catchments Council is updating its Regional NRM Strategy to address issues of Climate Change and ensure relevant information is available in a spatial format to assist with decision making in relation to the Australian Governments Carbon Farming Initiative
The main outcome of this project is to produce an updated Regional NRM Strategy incorporating Climate Change. A key component to achieve this outcome is undertaking consultation with relevant stakeholders including the NRM and broader Community, Local, State and Federal Governments and appropriate industry sectors. The Regional NRM Strategy will identify priority landscapes for carbon plantings and address Climate Change impacts on natural ecosystems.
The Strategy development will build on existing information and data available with the incorporation of new Climate Change data. The Strategy will use the best information available to develop actions based on collaboration with community, government and other stakeholders.
As part of the project, 14 Changing Climate workshops have been held across the South West Region to engage with the relevant stakeholders to develop and update the strategy, with the first and second draft already produced.
Salinity Risk and Biosequestration reports and maps have been developed to determine where in the landscape trees can be planted taking into consideration salinity risk, high quality Agricultural land, hydrology and biodiversity. These reports were produced using MCAS-S (Multi Criteria Analysis Shell-Spatial), a decision support tool that uses data and a consultative process to analyse and develop appropriate maps.
A Climate Change website has also been developed as part of a publicly accessible GIS portal. In 2015, the consultation with stakeholders will be ongoing and training in the use of MCAS-S will be provided. The final release of the Climate Change website, which will incorporate the GIS portal – Stage 2, will spatially represent the Regional NRM Strategy incorporating Climate Change.
It is dedicated to increasing community awareness and understanding of South West coastal natural resources and involves two collaborative approaches. One is to engage Aboriginal peoples in natural resource management and the other is to strategically engage coastal communities and continue to build on their capabilities developed through participation in past and current projects. This will enable them to continue contributing to coastal zone management within this South West coastal strip.
Through capacity building, education, awareness raising and partnerships, the coastal community were encouraged to embrace coastal natural resource management projects and succeed in achieving on- ground outcomes in their area. The community gained a better understanding of coastal zone management and developed an increased appreciation and ownership of the coastal issues facing them. This will result in positive behaviour change and a willingness to partner other groups within their communities in caring for the coast. The project also aims to increase interest and uptake in coastal projects by aboriginal people and to become actively involved with other groups in their communities to rehabilitate degraded coastal areas and help manage the coast to minimise further damage and degradation.
The project has seen 35 ha of beach cleaned, 5960 seedlings planted, 2.9 ha of land brushed and planted by over 700 volunteers. There are currently 12 on ground sites from Walpole to Preston beach and around the South West, 27 capacity building events, public displays at schools, festivals and workshops were attended and supported.
Over the next year most on-projects will continue at the same sites. This will involve engaging the local communities to join in on planting days, dune brushing, marine debris clean-ups, wind fencing dune blowouts and meeting to discuss management of their coastlines. Some projects will move into the next phase of their rehabilitation. Where coastal wind erosion fencing has been installed local provenance seed will be collected and then seedlings grown for later planting of the site. Where no coir logs have been positioned to moderate wind and sun exposure, logs will be installed and tree guards as well to test the effectiveness of these protective measures on seedling success. Work at the mouth of the Five Mile Brook in Capel, Broke Inlet on the south coast and at Walpole with Marine Parks are all exciting new and developing projects with new partnerships.