Department of the Environment

About us | Contact us | Publications

About us header images - leftAbout us header images - centreAbout us header images - right

Publications archive - Annual reports

Disclaimer

Key departmental publications, e.g. annual reports, budget papers and program guidelines are available in our online archive.

Much of the material listed on these archived web pages has been superseded, or served a particular purpose at a particular time. It may contain references to activities or policies that have no current application. Many archived documents may link to web pages that have moved or no longer exist, or may refer to other documents that are no longer available.

Supervising Scientist Annual Report 2000-01

Environment Australia, 2001
ISSN 1441-9335

4 National Centre for Tropical Wetland Research

4.1 Introduction

The National Centre for Tropical Wetland Research (nctwr) is a collaborative venture between the Environmental Research Institute of the Supervising Scientist (eriss) and three university partners: James Cook University, Northern Territory University and the University of Western Australia. The nctwr conducts research and training with the aim of providing information and expertise to assist managers and users of tropical wetlands to use these valuable habitats in a sustainable manner.

4.2 nctwr activities

4.2.1 Advisory Committee

This year has seen the establishment of the nctwr Advisory Committee, which guides nctwr activities and advises the Board of Management on research and training priorities, research issues and directions. The inaugural meeting of the Committee was held on 5 September 2000, and chaired by Dr Bill Phillips. Nine individuals from agencies and community groups representing tropical wetland management interests in northern Australia and the Asia-Pacific region attended the meeting. The Committee discussed priority issues for tropical wetlands, highlighting five issues they considered top priority: hydrological change, invasive species, economic value of wetlands, ecological character of wetlands and tidal power.

This discussion continued at the second Advisory Committee meeting, held on 2 March 2001, when the Committee worked together with Board members to develop project proposals and identify key research and training priorities for the nctwr. These proposals are now being further developed and funding pursued. Due to staffing changes within Environment Australia, the Committee is now chaired by Ms Alison Russell-French, who is currently responsible for the Wetlands programme in Environment Australia' Marine and Water Division.

A representative from the Queensland Department of Natural Resources was recently nominated to the Advisory Committee, so state agencies from Western Australia, the Northern Territory and Queensland are all now represented on the Committee. The membership of the Committee has been revisited. National representatives for the tourism and mining sectors are being sought.

4.2.2 Board of Management

The nctwr Board of Management met twice during the year, on 22 September 2000 and 5 March 2001. The Board confirmed the nctwr' research programme and the university partners undertook to develop a training strategy to identify both long-term academic and short-term 'on-ground' training courses and opportunities. New, collaborative research opportunities were further discussed and a number of project proposals have since been developed and submitted to funding agencies. A database of key contacts has been prepared, and potential funding sources reviewed. The development of a nctwr skills register is planned. All four partners agreed to contribute further funds for administration of the nctwr in 2001-02.

4.2.3 Research programme

The nctwr is currently undertaking a number of research projects, and pursuing funding for proposals covering a wide range of tropical wetland issues.
Current research includes:

Research under development includes:

4.2.4 Training programme

There is strong interest throughout the Asia-Pacific region for wetland training. The nctwr training programme is currently being developed and aims to utilise existing courses and develop new wetland training initiatives at all levels from on-ground through to Masters level courses. Discussions are also underway with Wetlands International, the Ramsar Bureau and the Organisation of Tropical Studies (OTS) Conference of American Universities based in Puerto Rico about potential wetland training links within the Asia-Pacific region.

In late May, a group of project partners from a wetland conservation and community development project in Vietnam visited Kakadu National Park on a study tour. The tour was conducted by the nctwr and funded by CARE International in Vietnam.

Also in May, two weed experts from Darwin visited Tram Chim National Park in the Mekong Delta, Vietnam, to conduct a training course on wetland weed control and management. Course participants came from Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand and Laos. The visit was supported by the nctwr and funded through the Northern Territory University' Asia-Pacific Wetland Managers Training Programme.

4.2.5 Extension activities

A nctwr information note, The Values and Benefits of Wetlands, has been published. Development of other promotional materials is well underway, with a website almost complete and a prospectus currently being published. The prospectus outlines the capabilities and resources of the nctwr and will be distributed to funding agencies and stakeholders.

In mid-2000 the nctwr coordinated the inaugural Australian Wetland Forum and the 39th Annual Congress of the Australian Society for Limnology, held in Darwin on 7-10 July 2000. The event attracted over 170 delegates from throughout Australia and featured presentations and discussion on issues relating to wetland science and management, and effective communication with stakeholders. It was an ideal opportunity to promote the nctwr and discuss collaborative research opportunities, and feedback from delegates was extremely positive.

In late April 2001, the nctwr teamed up with the Northern Territory Field Naturalists Club to host a slide talk and supper featuring renowned field naturalist and photographer, Greg Miles, on the theme 'A Year in the Life of a Wetland in Kakadu'. The evening talk was very well attended by the general public, and the nctwr received excellent feedback. Further such activities are planned.