Understanding the condition of riparian vegetation is an essential element of Melbourne Water’s Healthy Waterways Strategy 2018 which sets out performance objectives and targets for Melbourne Water’s five major catchments and 69 sub-catchments. This project is critical in evaluating the success of the strategy reflecting the importance of maintaining and restoring native vegetation within riparian zones. Melbourne Water engaged Alluvium and EcoFutures to undertake the Streamside Vegetation Condition Assessment project in 2021 and 2022.
The project included two types of vegetation assessments – rapid vegetation visions and detailed botanical structure and species composition assessments. These assessments were completed for 508 sites with detailed assessments for a subset of 80 sites. The project is a showcase of EcoFutures’s ability to manage large-scale monitoring and condition assessment across the landscape, involving multiple external subcontractors, close coordination with client and landholder for site access and approval. The challenge to this project is meeting the evolving working requirements under COVID restrictions and implementing best practice biosecurity measures. Field surveys are also collected systematically using ArcGIS online survey and field data are post-processed to ensure it meets the highest standard of data quality and assurance.
Image credit: Catherine Clowes