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: How to avoid water wars between 'fracking' industry and residents

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

Drought may take toll on Congo rainforest, study finds

12 hours ago

(Phys.org) —A new analysis of NASA satellite data shows Africa's Congo rainforest, the second-largest tropical rainforest in the world, has undergone a large-scale decline in greenness over the past decade.

User comments : 0

More news stories

On global warming, settled science and George Brandis

The Australian Attorney General, Senator George Brandis is no stranger to controversy. His statement in parliament that "people do have a right to be bigots" rapidly gained him notoriety, and it isn't hard to understand why ...

When things get glassy, molecules go fractal

Colorful church windows, beads on a necklace and many of our favorite plastics share something in common—they all belong to a state of matter known as glasses. School children learn the difference between ...

FCC to propose pay-for-priority Internet standards

The Federal Communications Commission is set to propose new open Internet rules that would allow content companies to pay for faster delivery over the so-called "last mile" connection to people's homes.

SK Hynix posts Q1 surge in net profit

South Korea's SK Hynix Inc said Thursday its first-quarter net profit surged nearly 350 percent from the previous year on a spike in sales of PC memory chips.