MARINE ENVIRONMENT MONITORING
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This record provides an overview of the NESP Marine and Coastal Hub Research Plan 2023 project "Guiding research and best practice standards for the sustainable development of Offshore Renewables and other emerging marine industries in Australia". For specific data outputs from this project, please see child records associated with this metadata. -------------------- Australia is entering a phase of rapid development of offshore renewable energy (ORE) projects and there is an immediate need to ensure these developments occur in a socio-ecologically sustainable manner. This project will identify existing environmental and cultural data and best-practice monitoring standards to inform the sustainable development of ORE projects (primarily wind) in Australia and enabling regulatory decisions to be compliant with Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act and the Offshore Electricity Infrastructure (OEI) Act requirements. This project plans to run in conjunction with a second project that focusses on the immediate priorities of regulators, with a focus on the confirmed area of declaration for ORE off the east Gippsland coast, Victoria. Critical to informing the direction and focus of these projects is guidance from an ORE Program Steering Committee, that will comprise representatives from relevant sections within DCCEEW, NOPSEMA, and MaC Hub partners involved in this project. Outputs • Inventory of existing information and associated sources for the following thematic areas: seabed geomorphology and habitat, oceanography, species and habitats, affected indigenous communities, ongoing monitoring needs and associated best practices, potential impacts of installation and operation [data inventory] • Final project report [written]
This record provides an overview of the NESP Marine and Coastal Hub Research Plan 2023 project "Identifying priority datasets of relevance to the Gippsland declaration area and pathways for their use in guiding decision-making". For specific data outputs from this project, please see child records associated with this metadata. -------------------- Australia has entered a phase of rapid development of offshore renewable energy (ORE) with one declaration area and one notice of proposal to declare an area for ORE infrastructure announced in late 2022 and early 2023 respectively. There is an immediate need to ensure that assessment and regulatory processes can access relevant information on species protected under environmental legislation comprehensively and efficiently, to ensure that decisions are evidence based, gaps in understanding are identified and future research and monitoring is directed to fill those gaps. This project will undertake a rapid exploration of information on a priority subset of species identified by the Department of Climate Change, Energy, Environment and Water (DCCEEW) and the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environment Authority (NOPSEMA) identified as critically endangered or endangered under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 in relation to the Gippsland declaration area. The project aims to 1) identify datasets and information sources relevant to these priority species; 2) identify the level of accessibility of these datasets and information source;, 3) based on the outcomes of 2), evaluate the utility of information identified for assessments required to be undertaken by DCCEEW and NOPSEMA; and 4) identify what activities would need to be undertaken to improve the accessibility and utility of datasets and information sources not currently accessible in useable formats. This project does not intend to duplicate the efforts already being undertaken by NESP project 3.3 in identifying information on marine ecosystems nationally and producing an inventory of recognised best practices for monitoring, mitigation and management of interactions and impacts that can be applied from installation to decommissioning, to be delivered in March 2024, but will fast-track some of the information that can be incorporated into project 3.3. Outputs • Inventory of datasets relevant to the Gippsland OEI declaration area, particularly with respect to priority species identified by DCCEEW and NOPSEMA in association with the Gippsland declaration area [data inventory] • Final project report [written]
An assessment was made of the state of research knowledge in the Australian Marine Parks (2022 boundaries). This quality assessment is specifically of the suitability of data streams for deriving habitat maps. Five nationally-aggregated data streams were used in the assessment: (1) Seamap Australia (seafloor habitat) (2) AusSeabed bathymetry survey extents (bathymetry mapping) (3) Squidle+ imagery deployments (habitat observations) (4) GlobalArchive video deployments (habitat observations) (5) Geoscience Australia's Marine Sediment Database (MARS) From these data streams, quality ratings (0-5) have been made for the state of research knowledge for three research disciplines: (A) bathymetry maps; (B) habitat observations; and (C) habitat maps. Data quality assessments are reported for each AMP Network and Park. Assessments can be accessed in context at https://seamapaustralia.org/region-reports, via the State-of-Knowledge functionality in the Seamap Australia mapping portal: https://seamapaustralia.org/map, or as a stand-alone file in the 'Downloads' section of this record. This data is live and is refreshed weekly.
This aim of this project is to identify and map critical habitats for Australian sea lions (Neophoca cinerea) to assess the ecological value of different habitats for sea lions and identify risks to their populations. Through this project we collected animal-borne video, GPS, time-depth and accelerometer/magnetometer data from eight adult female Australian sea lions from Olive Island (n=4) on the western Eyre Peninsula and Seal Bay (n=4) on Kangaroo Island in South Australia. Sea lions were instrumented with animal-borne cameras with integrated accelerometers/magnetometers (CATS Cam, 135 x 96 x 40 mm, 400 g) and satellite-linked GPS loggers with integrated time-depth recorders (SPLASH-10, Wildlife Computers, 100 x 65 x 32 mm, 200 g). Sea lions were sedated and anaesthetised and bio-logging instruments were glued to the pelage on the dorsal midline. Bio-logging instruments were recovered after a single foraging trip (~1-6 days). Populations of the endangered Australian sea lion have declined by >60% over the last 40 years. Australian sea lion populations show a marked uneven distribution in abundance across their range, which suggests that localised risk profiles from threats vary at small spatial scales. Fine scale differences in habitat-use are thought to underpin these differences. However, knowledge of the habitats that are critical to Australian sea lions is poor and their vulnerability to human impacts and threats at the fine-scale is not well understood. The data collected in this project provides fundamental information on critical benthic habitats for Australian sea lions, the differences in foraging behaviour of individual sea lions and their prey preferences. The information collected under this project improves our understanding of threats to sea lion populations and will support future conservation actions to recover the species. EMBARGO Data is currently embargoed until June 2024 and will be made available via this record at that time.