National Environmental Research Program - Emerging priorities

National Environmental Research Program

A small proportion of National Environmental Research Program (NERP) program funds are allocated each year to address rapidly emerging environmental research priorities during the life of the program. The projects must produce applied biodiversity research that better informs environmental management, policy and decision making. Further information will be added to this page as project plans are developed. For further information please contact

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

Murray Darling Freshwater Research Centre
Implementation of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan will require the efficient use of limited volumes of environmental water if it is to optimise economic, social and environmental benefits. The Murray-Darling Freshwater Research Centre (MDFRC) will work collaboratively with management agencies to undertake a research project to improve our understanding of the relationship between environmental flows, ecosystem function and biodiversity to better inform water release strategies.

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

NERP Environmental Decisions Hub ·The University of Queensland
While there are a large number of recommendations in the Senate Report, a fundamental question remains regarding the distribution of koalas across eastern Australia. This project will use remote sensing to map (at individual tree scale) suitable food sources for koalas thereby providing fast information to identify potential habitat and effectively prioritise further on-ground surveys. This funding will widen the scope of an existing project in the NERP Environmental Decisions Hub from addressing a small study area to application at a larger landscape scale.

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
This project extends the scope of research already included in the Multi-Year Research Plan for the Northern Australian Hub, to add a freshwater monitoring project through an additional another Working on Country (WoC) Indigenous ranger group in the Kimberley. The research will, working closely with Indigenous communities, establish monitoring protocols to guide the ongoing collection of environmental data.

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

The Commonwealth, a number of States and the CSIRO are currently progressing a coordinated national monitoring program for flying foxes to gain reliable information on population size and distribution of the species. This information will inform decision making in a range of management contexts, including responses to emerging infectious diseases such as Hendra virus. This project will complement the core monitoring work, by estimating the error in census figures and identifying improvements to census methods.

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

Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation
This funding contributes to a package of research coordinated by the Intergovernmental Hendra Virus Taskforce to identify key factors in the transmission of Hendra virus from flying foxes to horses. The research funded by this contribution will determine trends in both the abundance and distribution of flying foxes, to enable better prediction and management of their associated disease risk and for their conservation management.

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

Australian Institute of Marine Science
There is mounting evidence from scientific monitoring and tourism industry observation that a new crown-of-thorns starfish outbreak is developing in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. This research will map emerging outbreaks of crown of thorns starfish, determine population movement trends and explore control strategies.

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

Parks Australia
This research package will inform the Christmas Island National Park Yellow Crazy Ant Program on the efficacy of chemical baits (the current control method) and explore alternative methods, including indirect biological control.

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

The University of New South Wales, Kiri-ganai Research Pty Ltd, CSIRO
This research package is designed to support the implementation of the Lake Eyre Basin Rivers Assessment Implementation Plan by providing information on waterbirds and invasive plants to support management decisions as well as information on an appropriate business model for the long term monitoring of the Lake Eyre Basin.

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)
This research will collect and assess existing community-level data against a range of sustainability indicators (economic, social and environmental) for suburban growth areas of capital cities and major regional centres, together with relevant demographic data, to identify key sustainability issues. The analysis will focus on the interrelationship between social, economic and environmental issues and identify current and emerging challenges and opportunities.

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.
This research package provides information to assist the department to develop an improved policy framework for the management of threats to biodiversity, by gathering stakeholder views, reviewing current processes and proposing alternative options for abating Key Threatening Processes.


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