Western Ringtail Possum Conservation
Nature Conservation's Western Ringtail Possum conservation work is progress in the second year of a partnership with the Shire of Augusta Margaret River funded through the Shire's Environmental Management Fund. The partnership is focused on raising public awareness of the status of the Western Ringtail Possum and increasing understanding of possum distribution within the Shire through volunteer surveying.
Following on from a volunteer survey training course conducted in September 2017, survey sites and methodology have been further refined as part of a coordinated citizen science survey program. Volunteer teams have been formed and surveying commenced at some sites. Surveying is continuing with Friends of Reserve Groups in various reserve areas and a number of survey transects have been established along the Wadandi Trail through a range of vegetation communities. Volunteers will survey transects at least once in each season to gain an understanding of seasonal variations as well as population variations with different vegetation communities.
Public awareness raising for Western Ringtail Possum conservation has continued primarily through Facebook. A Western Ringtail Possum and your property guide and a guide for possum spotlighting are due for release in the coming weeks.
As part of Earth Hour 2018 Nature Conservation ran another successful Community Possum Night on Saturday 24 March. 35 keen participants spotlighted on the trails in the A Class Reserve on the banks of the Margaret River and were rewarded with the sightings of numerous individuals as well as young possums.
Nature Conservation is also encouraging community reporting of Western Ringtail Possums and other native fauna to the Atlas of Living Australia (ALA) Australia's National recording database. Recording local fauna will assist Nature Conservation to protect threatened species and biodiversity of the region.
Project Officers: Drew McKenzie
Margaret River Hairy Marron Conservation
Nature Conservation's work to conserve the critically endangered hairy marron is currently on hold whilst the Hairy Marron Recovery Team makes important decisions and sources funding for the next steps to conserve the species.
The 2017 Hairy Marron Community Update provides details of previous conservation action work and the possible direction of future conservation action.
Project Officer: Lyndsey Cox
Field Coordinators: Steve Fairbairn and Sean Fergusson
Check out our YOUTUBE video of Sean Fergusson, Field Coordinator releasing hairy marron back to the wild. Hairy Marron Release
Great Cocky Count over for another year
The 2018 Great Cocky Count was conducted in the Margaret River region with 58 registered people heading out to 36 roost sites, often with friends and family. the number of volunteers across the State were similar to 2017 and both counts have been the best so far. Many volunteers checked out our roost sites with a practice count a few days before the Great Cocky Count enabling them to pick the best spot to see the Black-Cockatoos coming in, without disturbing them.
Prior to the Great Cocky Count Nature Conservation in partnership with the Shire of Augusta Margaret River and the Capes Bird Group held a community presentation for registered volunteers and other interested community members to learn all about Black-Cockatoo ecology, biology, behaviour and threats and also to learn tips on how to conduct the Great Cocky Count survey.
Earlier preparations for the count included checking some sites to make sure they really were night-roost sites. As a result nine of the 2017 roost sites were removed from the 2018 survey list. To balance this six new night-roost sites were located and included in the 2018 count. It looks like there are more roost sites to be found as another four roost sites were located just days before the count. One of these was able to be included in the Great Cocky Count while the others we will make sure get included in next years count. There is always more to learn about the Black-Cockatoos and the areas they use at different times of year. Each year we get better at tracking them down and landholders are the best at knowing what they are up to from day to day.
The results of the 2018 Great Cocky Count will take a while to come in and are not expected from Birdlife WA until late May. A further presentation to communicate the results to the community will be conducted at that time. Birdlife WA has advised that so far the count for the whole of the south west has totaled 19,971 for White-taileds and 5,282 for Forest Red-taileds.
The Great Cocky Count is a BirdLife WA Project. Local participation in the 2018 Count was coordinated through Nature Conservation's partnership project with the Capes Bird Group and the Shire of Augusta Margaret River and funded through the Shire's Environmental Management Fund.
Project Officers: Shapelle McNee
Aquatic biodiversity monitoring
Nature Conservation is establishing a citizen science aquatic monitoring program to provide vital information to protect threatened native fish populations of the Margaret River.
A two day aquatic biodiversity training course was conducted in late 2017. Delivered by the Murdoch University Freshwater Fish Group research scientists, the training course provided interested community members with an understanding of monitoring techniques and equipment to enable them to contribute to a citizen science aquatic monitoring team.
The team will be brought back together soon to further trial monitoring techniques in the field and develop an ongoing biannual monitoring program for strategic sites on the river. The focus of the monitoring program will be the upper pools of the Margaret River where baseline surveys have previously been undertaken.