Environmental Monitoring

Environmental Monitoring

We propose that it is important to resource any monitoring program in terms of both people and finances. Building a team, both internally and externally, builds support and provides additional sources of information and knowledge about both the immediate area of interest and how your program might fit into broader strategies and programs. Teams have their limitations. It is still your program and you have to provide the direction and make the decisions; the team can help but the outcome is still your responsibility.

It is usually best to form a group or team to contribut to the monitoring. The group activity promotes:

  • Community support;
  • Additional knowledge to understand the problem;
  • Additional skills to design and implement the program;
  • Ownership by other parts of the Council and external agencies for the program.

This is important because a waterway or waterbody is a shared resource, and there will be many people who care, and/or have responsibility for what happens to it.

Potential internal supporters and stakeholders include staffs from:

  • Catchment management/Bushcare;
  • Stormwater management (planning policy/engineers);
  • Environment education;
  • Planning; and
  • Parks and Reserves.

Potential external supporters and stakeholders include:

  • Schools;
  • Landcare or conservation groups;
  • Community groups;
  • Industry, local businesses;
  • State Government agencies and neighbouring councils;
  • Catchment boards; and
  • Interested individuals.

Through a team approach, you can spread the workload. A team has more contacts than an individual and can more easily collect local knowledge and the oral history of the waterbody. With teamwork, the monitoring project is more likely to be kept on the schedule chosen for it and to be continued for a useful number of months or years.

Stakeholders need primarily to represent their interests and/or provide input from their area of expertise. You need to expect that there will be differences of interest and opinion around the table. Experience with early catchment management models, where agencies were represented by staffs without the power to make decisions, was that this reliance on an external authority effectively undermined the process. You need to be clear where accountabilies lie and that where there are negotiated outcomes that they are still within the domain of acceptability of each stakeholder or the process could be undermined at a later time.

Some additional resources

What resources do we need?
Establishing resource requirements for a WQM program is likely to be an iterative process. During program design a number of factors need to be considered, such as: scope (including the number of sites, geographic area, range of parameters); intensity (number of samples taken); and duration of the monitoring program. Each of these factors can influence the cost of the program.

Core conflict problems 144KB
An overview of issues from conflict resolution to understand the basis of conflict and ways to address.

Community engagement handbook prepared for Planning NSW.

Community participation in environmental sampling 176KB
We need to be clear why participation is important and what makes for effective participation. Participation is about relationships; it is also about being creative and flexible to build and maintain those relationships. The old saying: "You can't steer a ship unless it is moving " is a useful reminder about the dynamics of change compared to the idealism of theory.

Estimating consumer preferences for water quality improvement using a citizen jury and choice modelling: A case study on the Bremer River catchment, South East Queensland

STRATEGIC QUESTIONING An Approach to Creating Personal and Social Change by Fran Peavey edited by Vivian Hutchinson. Knowledge is like a river, and if we dip into it what we see today is different from what we saw last week. Strategic questioning promotes the ongoing exploration of knowledge and engages others in the process.

What Randomness and Deliberation Can Do for Community Engagement Carson L &Hart P


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