Western Ringtail Possum Citizen Science Surveying

Nature Conservation’s Western Ringtail Possum conservation project run in partnership with the Shire of Augusta Margaret River with support from its Environmental Management Fund has launched into a new phase with the first month of formal citizen science surveying completed in August.

Following the development and testing of a survey methodology with input from the Western Ringtail possum Recovery Team, we have run two volunteer training nights and selected nine transects to be the initial focus of the project.

Volunteers survey three different transects within one month, four months per year (spread across the four seasons) to gain an understanding of seasonal variations as well as population variations within different vegetation communities. Much of the research to date on this species has happened either on the Swan Coastal Plain or well inland from here and it is important to have a better local understanding of how ringtails use different habitats and what represents core habitat within the Margaret River regional environment.

If people would like to be involved in the ongoing surveys they should contact Drew McKenzie on 9757 2202 or [email protected] A gathering of the citizen science survey team including a presentation of data collected from the first month of surveys will be held at the Brewhouse on Thursday 11 October. Contact Drew for details.

Nature Conservation is once again conducting the Spring Possum Tally with counting kicking off on 8 October. Whether you live on an urban block, adjacent to an area of bushland or on a rural property you can contribute to Western ringtail possum conservation by counting the the possums you see. Find out more about this year’s Tally at the link below.

A community nightstalk targeting Western ringtail possums will also be run as part of our annual Margaret River Bioblitz on 20-21 October so keep a look out for event location and program.

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.