SWRDC. Ten-year Work Plan.
Benefits of the Plan. Over the past 20 years, our group has worked across the many different ecosystems which occur along this 15km section of coastline. We have learnt how to deal with a multitude of weed species and how to control them. The full regeneration history of the site and the detailed knowledge of what has occurred over the past 20 years was known by a relatively small number of our members.

As a result, it was decided to develop a detailed 10 year plan for the future, and record as much of the history and knowledge of this particular site as possible. The aim is that this would then provide an enduring record for future Dune Care volunteers and other land managers, who can then carry on the work, and build on previous experience without needing to "reinvent the wheel".

The Plan will be reviewed and updated regularly as work progresses. The work has been detailed, but we feel that it is delivering several key benefits:-

  • The Plan provides a clear framework for the many volunteers, contractors, and mutual obligation workers, and integrates their activities with the Council and NPWS across several land ownership boundaries. Work can then easily be co-ordinated and directed to the specific areas as required, thus providing a effective and common reference point for all involved.
  • The Plan provides ready identification of the diverse mixture of habitats, weed species, and environments throughout the work area, and forms a base for a clear rehabilitation strategy.
  • The Plan gives us the ability to rank individual work areas according to the severity of the threats, and helps prioritize the tasks to be done. and so gives us optimal use of limited resources.
  • The Plan permits accurate progress measurement as individual tasks are completed, and thus demonstrates what we have done, are doing, and plan to do. By increasing awareness of our progress, we hope to attract increased future funding.

What is in the Plan? The Plan is divided into four volumes. The four volumes are Background, Mapping, Action Plan, and Monitoring. Rather than directly include all details here, each volume is described briefly so the reader can get a feel for the scope - then links are provided for download or viewing of the full Plan at the reader's leisure,

Full plan documentation is viewable via the "Downloads"-"Documents" tab on the menu bar.

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View to Green Isle
Volume 1: Background. This volume provides information on landform, geology, climate, native vegetation, past land use, fire history, weeds and weed control activity.

A section on past land use practices describes the logging, significant sand mining, farming and grazing activities that contributed to the clearing and degradation of the area before the park was declared in 1972.

Fires have had a significant effect on the park, and there is a description of the fire events that have taken place. There is also a discussion on the role fire plays in weed spread, and its potential for weed control.

There is a brief description of the main ecological communities, two of which are Endangered Ecological Communities. There are also over thirty native plant species listed, and found on site, which have been identified as being "at risk" from weed invasion.

Weeds are listed and their distribution mapped. Weed control methods are discussed and compared. The section ends with a summary of progress to date.

You can see the Background Table of Contents here. More details of the main work environments can be found under the "Activities - Environments" tag on the drop-down menu.

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Mapping Tools
Volume 2: Mapping. SWRDC has created a wide range of maps detailing land ownership, fire events, native plant communities, weed species distribution, ecological communities, work areas and work plans.

Web tools and the advent of GPS have made powerful mapping tools available to SWRDC. We have chosen to use Google Earth (GE) to record our geographical information in an easily maintainable and readily viewable form, by adding overlays to the aerial photographs.

GPS has been useful to us. While in the field we can pinpoint and record the location of a weed occurence or rare plant, and easily revisit the site later on.

Right now (April 2012) we are exploring the new GE "Tours" function which will let us display moving aerial views, with voice-over and annotations, of our work areas.

View our maps in the "Visuals"-"Maps" tab of the menu bar. View a sample GE land ownership map here.

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Using spreadsheets
Volume 3: Work Planning. This section deals with the detailed weed control management actions required to rehabilitate the entire subject area.

Spreadsheets have been used as a basis for the documentation, as they allow us to readily combine and resort the data by area, species, and actions.

To strategically plan our activities we have:


  • Divided the entire area into Catchments or Precincts. Originally there were nine, however NPWS has recently engaged SWRDC to include all the northern section of Hat Head National Park within the 10 Year Weed Management Action Plan. This has increased that number to fourteen.
  • Subdivided each Catchment into Work Management Units, more than 80 so far.
  • Then, for each work management unit, there is a note of the major issues, an assigned priority, and the estimated costs for remedial work projected for the next ten years.

View a sample page for some workareas in Catchment One here

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Quadrat check
Progress Monitoring. As work is done, it is "marked off" against the plan, so that we can guage and report on both our financial and work progress.

In 2009-10, NPWS set up 13 quadrats as part of a "Caring for Coast" grant, in order to monitor changes in vegetation in representative plant communities across the site. Each quadrat will be monitored regularly via a photo survey, and fully re-surveyed after two years.

As major new work areas are established, new quadrats are established.

A quadrat is a small area of say 20m x 20m or 10m x 10m. Within that area, inventory is kept of the number and species of trees, shrubs, low plants, and grasses, together with the percentage cover for each species. We thus have an accurate measure of change in plant population over time.

View a sample page quadrat report here