Researcher's new conservation tool: a wooden post

Mar 09, 2012

The latest tool for protecting one of Victoria’s most important wetlands is a simple wooden post.

Victoria University researcher Dr Martin Fluker has just installed 30 ‘Fluker Posts’ at Werribee’s Western Treatment Plant, which as well as being a major sewage treatment facility is also a Ramsar-listed wetland with significant waterbird populations.

The posts, which are placed at points in need of significant monitoring, contain a small platform for a camera and instructions on where to point, shoot and email the photo. These photographs, taken by Melbourne Water staff or by amateur birdwatchers visiting the facility using their own cameras, are then uploaded to a central site (tinyurl.com/77sepud) allowing land managers to monitor these points over time.

“The success of this design is its simplicity,” Dr Fluker said. “It has minimal set-up or maintenance costs yet delivers on the need for monitoring large and often remote natural environments. “

The $30,000 project funded by Melbourne Water will initially run for one year with a view to maintaining and extending coverage with the Fluker Posts in coming years.

Melbourne Water biodiversity scientist Dr Will Steele said the simple posts had great value to land managers in providing a cheap yet effective way to monitor wetland vegetation condition and water levels in habitat ponds.

“We hope that the many birdwatchers who visit the Western Treatment Plant will contribute to our management of the site by taking photographs from these Fluker Posts and emailing them in,” he said.

While new to the Werribee wetlands, Fluker Posts have been in use for a few years at the You Yangs, Brisbane Ranges and the Great Ocean Walk in Cape Otway in conjunction with Parks Victoria where around 420 photographs have been contributed with more than half those from the general public.

Parks Victoria ranger Nick Alexeyeff said the innovative method to collect data was working well.

“By positioning the Fluker Posts in remote locations I am able to gain information from these sites without using resources from here,” Mr Alexeyeff said. “This has cost benefits for me by not having to regularly send staff out to monitor these sections, which in turn frees up my team for other work.”

He said they had also proved useful in the Otway Ranges for monitoring changes in trail conditions over time and providing visual records for how repairs last.

In fact, six more Fluker Posts will soon be installed in Cape Otway to monitor conditions on newly installed trails.

Explore further: NASA image: Signs of deforestation in Brazil

Provided by Victoria University

5 /5 (3 votes)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Scientists discover first dinosaur trail in Victoria

Aug 10, 2011

Two sandstone blocks discovered by palaeontologists have provided the most extensive evidence of dinosaur footprints in Victoria. Found at Melanesia Beach, near Cape Otway, they represent 85 per cent of the ...

Study tracks safety of underground CO2 storage

Dec 13, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- In a paper published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, an international team of geoscientists, including Simon Fraser University groundwater expert Dirk Kirste ...

Big brands being snubbed by Facebook fans

Jan 30, 2012

(PhysOrg.com) -- It wouldn't be much of a friendship if you said 'hi' then didn’t speak again for the next few years, yet that’s a fair summary of the relationship many Facebook users have with brands ...

Recommended for you

NASA image: Signs of deforestation in Brazil

1 hour ago

Multiple fires are visible in in this image of the Para and Mato Grosso states of Brazil. Many of these were most likely intentionally set in order to deforest the land. Deforestation is the removal of a ...

Sunblock poses potential hazard to sea life

2 hours ago

The sweet and salty aroma of sunscreen and seawater signals a relaxing trip to the shore. But scientists are now reporting that the idyllic beach vacation comes with an environmental hitch. When certain sunblock ...

Is falling recycling rate due to 'green fatigue'?

3 hours ago

It's been suggested that a recent fall in recycling rates is due to green fatigue, caused by the confusing number of recycling bins presented to householders for different materials. Recycling rates woul ...

Study to inform Maryland decision on "fracking"

5 hours ago

The Maryland Department of Environment and Department of Health and Mental Hygiene released on August 18, 2014, a report by the University of Maryland School of Public Health, which assesses the potential ...

User comments : 0