National Environmental Research Program - Emerging priorities

National Environmental Research Program

A small proportion of National Environmental Research Program (NERP) funds were allocated during the life of the program to address rapidly emerging environmental research priorities. The projects must produce applied biodiversity research that better informs environmental management, policy and decision making. For further information please contact

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Emerging priority projects approved in 2013-2014

Enhancing long-term surveillance monitoring across Australia programme ($588,847)

Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Network (TERN) – University of Queensland

The programme will enhance the breadth and depth of Australia’s environmental condition monitoring and reporting at national and regional scales through building on the TERN AusPlots Facility. Specifically, this will be achieved by increasing the range and type of AusPlots field sites and monitoring, and through providing standards that will enhance environmental data quality.

Developing guidelines for agriculture development in Northern Australia to avoid and reduce accelerated erosion: the case of the Gilbert/Etheridge River Integrated Agriculture Project ($180,000)

NERP Northern Australia Hub – Charles Darwin University

This project will use the Gilbert-Einasleigh region of Queensland as a case study to demonstrate how new irrigation developments in northern Australia can be planned and implemented to minimise the threat of developing new alluvial gully erosion or exacerbating existing erosion (both associated with alluvial gullies and stream bank erosion).

Monitoring and tools to assist decision-making in Commonwealth National Parks ($30,000)

Parks Australia

Development of decision making software for guiding resource allocation in conservation management – developing and implementing custom-made software to assist managers of Commonwealth National Parks making investment decisions on alternative management actions around threatened species.

Baseline characterisation of the Tasman Fracture Commonwealth Marine Reserve ($300,000)

NERP Marine Biodiversity Hub – University of Tasmania

The Tasman Fracture Commonwealth Marine Reserve (CMR) has one of the few no-take zones within the Southeast CMR network and offers a unique opportunity to evaluate the effectiveness of this form of zoning in an area of active fishing. This project will take monitoring tools and statistical techniques developed within the NERP Marine Biodiversity hub for biological inventory and monitoring within CMRs and apply them within the Tasman Fracture CMR. The project will compare rocky reef assemblages within the no-take zone to rocky reef assemblages in adjacent zones open to fishing.

Determining the size and trend of the west coast white shark population ($379,000)

NERP Marine Biodiversity Hub - University of Tasmania

This project is developing and applying techniques to undertake a national-scale population assessment of white sharks in Australian waters. An assessment is necessary to understand whether the species is recovering and hence whether conservation actions under the National Recovery Plan for the species are producing tangible benefit. This project will complement the current NERP Marine Biodiversity Hub research on Australia’s eastern population of white sharks by identifying key habitat areas for juvenile white sharks in the western population. Identifying nursery areas will enable application of techniques developed in eastern Australia to assess the size and status of the western population.

Biological control of wandering trad (Tradescantia fluminensis Vell.). Phase I ($200,000)

CSIRO Biosecurity Flagship

This project initiates a classical biological control program against Tradescantia fluminensis, an increasingly invasive peri-urban weed across Australia. This project aims to select two biological control agents (an insect and a plant pathogen) from a suite of four already under study in New Zealand to undertake testing against Australian native plants. These tests will form the basis of the risk assessment required for acquiring a release permit application for a future biological control program for wandering trad.

Identification of potential keystone indicators species across the continent ($150,000)

NERP Environmental Decisions Hub – University of Queensland

This project aims to identify a national set of faunal indicator species (non-avian) which can be used to underpin regional environmental reporting and amalgamated to provide for meaningful national surveillance of environmental health, from a faunal perspective. It complements other projects relating to an Australian Bird Index (with Birdlife Australia) and enhancing terrestrial ecosystem monitoring (with TERN).

Emerging priority projects approved in 2012-2013

Research on the role of rivers, floodplains and associated wetlands in a broader landscape scale approach to wildlife corridors ($665,000)

Murray Darling Freshwater Research Centre

Growing national capacity in baseline environmental monitoring ($190,000)

Parks Australia

Enhanced on-line research tools for biodiversity data collection and management ($184,000)

Parks Australia

Improved fauna habitat quality assessment for decision making in the Pilbara Bioregion ($198,000)

NERP Environmental Decisions Hub

White shark abundance and population trends ($550,000)

NERP Marine Biodiversity Hub

NERP program evaluation ($79,200)

Vista Advisory Pty Ltd

Emerging priority projects approved in 2011-2012

Environmental Impact of Water Release Scenarios ($700,000)

Murray Darling Freshwater Research Centre

Research to support priorities identified in the 2011 Senate Report on Koala Conservation ($300,000)

NERP Environmental Decisions Hub—The University of Queensland

Expanding the development of Environmental Monitoring Protocols for Working on Country (WoC) Indigenous Rangers in the Kimberley ($300,000)

NERP Northern Australia Hub—Charles Darwin University

Tracking and analysis services to determine the error margin in national flying fox census figures ($700,000)


Environmental Research related to the Hendra Virus ($1m)

Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation

Early intervention options for crown-of-thorns starfish on the Great Barrier Reef ($300,000)

Australian Institute of Marine Science

Research into the control of crazy ants on Christmas Island ($847,000)

Parks Australia

Support the Lake Eyre Basin Rivers Assessment ($281,000)

The University of New South Wales, Kiri-ganai Research Pty Ltd, CSIRO

Economic social and environmental implications of population growth in outer suburban areas of capital cities ($700,000)

Institute of Sustainable Futures (University of Technology Sydney)

Support the review of Key Threatening Processes under the EPBC Act ($134,000)

SMEC Australia Pty Ltd, JK Elix and JA Lambert Pty Ltd trading as Community Solutions, Conference Logistics, Eco Logical Australia Pty Ltd.


National Environmental Research Program
Department of the Environment
GPO Box 787
Canberra ACT 2601
Phone: 02 6274 2589