Annual Report 2010-2011 | Australian Alps Program

Australian Alps Liaison Committee

Download

Foreword

In this reporting period, the hosting of the Australian Alps Program was handed from ACT Parks and Conservation Service across to another of the three state agencies – NSW Parks and Wildlife Service. Coinciding with the change of guard, a collection of new projects was launched, many of which are expected to take several years to complete.

These projects are powered along by the six reference groups who together make possible the mission of the Alps program – best practice co-operative management. With all seats filled during the period, the reference groups met regularly to make significant progress on a series of carefully designed projects and goals, each designed with this aim in mind.

Details of these projects and achievements appear in this report, listed under each of the Key Result Areas. Among them, four achievements are worth noting.

Firstly, the Alps Field Days which after a break of several years, brought together sixty operational staff from across the Alps to focus on day to day operational issues, in this case pest control.

Secondly, the Visitor Experience Workshops, centred around Parks Canada expert Frances Gertsch who facilitated a fresh look at how the visitor experience is enhanced in national parks.

Thirdly the Caring for our Australian Alps Catchments report which has been finalised, printed and submitted to the Australian Alps Liaison Committee – and the Water and Catchments Reference Group in particular – for consideration and direction.

And finally the launch of the set of multi-year feral horse management projects. Designed to explore feral horse impacts, density and public perception, these are being co-funded by the Department of Sustainability and Environment (Victoria), the Victorian Department of Primary Industries, the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, Forests NSW, the ACT Parks and Conservation Service and Parks Victoria.

Overall, the reporting period has again been a success. Much has been achieved on many levels – through the expertise and passion of those involved – as the Program continues to provide practical outcomes for the conservation of the Australian Alps national parks and beyond.

Steve Horsley

Convenor, Australian Alps Liaison Committee

Return to top

Australian Alps Cooperative Management

Australia’s alpine and subalpine environment stretches from Canberra through the Brindabella Range in the ACT, the Snowy Mountains of NSW and the Victorian Alps to West Gippsland. It is a unique part of our nation, a mountainous biogeographical region in a predominantly dry and flat continent.

The Australian Alps is a rich landscape. It contains: plants and animals found nowhere else in the world; significant examples of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal heritage; outstanding recreational opportunities. The Alps are also home to the headwaters of some of Australia’s most important rivers and streams.

In 1986, with the signing of the first Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), State, ACT and Australian government national park authorities formally agreed to manage this important national asset co-operatively. Through this spirit of co-operation, the Australian Alps Liaison Committee was formed to ensure that the parks and reserves in the Alps are managed as one biogeographical entity, to protect them for generations to come. In practical terms this involves: fostering a culture of goodwill, involving activities, projects, and supportive relationships; adding value to those relationships through associated economies of scale; going beyond line management and individual agency constraints; all to ensure consistency and best practice across borders.

The 11 national parks and reserves in the Australian Alps link across State and Territory borders. Together they comprise over 1.6 million hectares of protected areas. These parks and reserves are collectively referred to as the ‘Australian Alps national parks’, a conservation zone of international significance. Responsibility for strategic policy setting, planning and day-to-day management of the Australian Alps national parks listed in the MoU remains vested in the relevant participating agency.

Vision

To achieve best practice in co-operative management of the Australian Alps national parks.

Mission

Through the MoU, participating agencies agree to the following objectives:

  • to pursue the growth and enhancement of inter-governmental co-operative management to protect the important natural and cultural values of the Australian Alps national parks.
  • to co-operate in the determination and implementation of best-practice management of the Australian Alps national parks to achieve:
    • protection of the unique mountain landscapes;
    • protection of the natural and cultural values specific to the Australian Alps;
    • provision of outdoor recreation and tourism opportunities that encourage the enjoyment and understanding of alpine and subalpine environments;
    • protection of mountain catchments. Refer to the MoU for the Terms of Agreement that describe in detail the working arrangements agreed to by participating agencies.

Return to top

Organisational Structure

The following entities have functional roles in the Australian Alps Co-operative Management Program (ie the Australian Alps Program) under the MoU.

Australian Alps Ministerial Council

The Ministers responsible for participating agencies, which are in turn responsible for high-level intergovernment relationships and the MoU.

Australian Alps National Parks Heads of Agencies Group

The Heads (or their representatives) of participating agencies meet at least annually to consider strategic issues and direct the Australian Alps Liaison Committee on policy, priority and emerging issues.

Australian Alps Liaison Committee

The Australian Alps Liaison Committee facilitates the development, co-ordination and implementation of the Co-operative Management Program. Its members include a senior officer from each of the participating agencies in NSW, Victoria, ACT and the Australian Government.

Secretariat

During the period, Secretariat support previously provided by the Australian Government was absorbed into the Australian Alps Program.

Australian Alps Program Manager

The Australian Alps Program Manager is the only full-time employee of the Program and is responsible for co-ordinating the day to day work of the Program and ensuring the annual works program, as agreed by the Australian Alps Liaison Committee, is carried out. The Program Manager position is hosted by each of the State/Territory park agencies for three years at a time. During this reporting period the position was hosted by NSW.

Australian Alps Traditional Owners’ Reference Group

The Australian Alps Traditional Owners Reference Group was established in 2008. The reference group was established to advise the Australian Alps Liaison Committee on a range of issues relating to the co-operative management of Indigenous cultural values and issues across the Australian Alps national parks.

Reference Groups

A number of reference groups are established to advise the Australian Alps Liaison Committee on specific matters, and to assist with the implementation of the Co-operative Management Program. These groups usually have up to two staff from each of the co-operating agencies as members.

During the reporting period, six reference groups operated under the Australian Alps national parks Co-operative Management Program. They were the:

  • Natural Resource Management Reference Group;
  • Cultural Heritage Reference Group;
  • Visitor Experiences and Marketing Reference Group;
  • Climate Change Reference Group;
  • Water and Catchments Reference Group;
  • Stakeholder Engagement and Communications Reference Group.

The terms of reference for each Reference Group are set out in the Strategic Plan, and are aligned to the Key Result Areas in that Plan. In addition to the reference groups, the Alps Operational Group, the Australian Alps Walking Track subgroup, the Wild Dog sub-group, the Feral Horse sub-group and the Fire Science sub-group also met and advised the Australian Alps Liaison Committee on a number of operational matters.

Refer to Program structure at Attachment 1.

Alps Operational Group

The Alps Operational Group is composed of Rangers-in-charge; Area, District and Operational Program Managers, and other key operational staff. The Group meets annually to review the previous years work plan and provide advice to the Australian Alps Liaison Committee on the upcoming Annual Works Plan.

Return to top

Program Budget

To assist in achieving the objectives of the MoU, a financial contribution is made by participating agencies. The responsibility for financial management is generally vested with the agency providing the Australian Alps Program Manager position. In this reporting period, the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service provided financial management support for the Program.

An annual budget of $315,000 was provided from participating agencies, Victoria and NSW each contributing $120,000, the ACT $40,000 and the Australian Government contributed $35,000 in addition to website maintenance.

The Australian Alps Liaison Committee allocates funding to the Australian Alps annual co-operative works program, which is developed through the submission of project proposals addressing the Key Result Areas of the Strategic Plan. The 2010-2011 annual works program budgets are presented in Attachment 3.

Annual Reporting of Performance

The Strategic Plan 2008-2011 requires the Annual Report to:

  • evaluate the success of the MoU and the Australian Alps national parks Co-operative Management Program;
  • detail the outputs of the program’s projects and their benefits to Australian Alps national parks;
  • communicate this information to the Australian Alps national parks Heads of Agencies group, relevant Ministers, and other interested parties.

Return to top

Key Result Area 1: Climate Change and Adaptation

Objective

Implementation of contemporary approaches to planning, responding and adapting to climate change in the mountain protected areas and determining needs and mechanisms for further research, particularly related to the impact of climate change on natural heritage conservation.

Outcome

The level of knowledge amongst agency staff and other stakeholders is increased regarding climate change impacts on the natural values of the Alps and the measures required to address them, with a number of activities implemented that are designed to adapt management to those changes.

GLORIA

The Global Observation Research Initiative in Alpine Environments (GLORIA) began 12 years ago and currently stretches over every continent (bar Antarctica). Participating research teams collect data every five to ten years following strict protocols and standardised methods to produce information on vegetation, soils and climate – for comparison purposes locally and world wide. The Australian Alps GLORIA site is located in Kosciuszko National Park – most recently visited by the survey team in January 2011. While data from this most recent survey is still being entered, there is evidence that plant species are occupying locations at higher altitudes in response to a warmer climate.

Podocarpus Study

Dendrochronology, the science that employs tree rings to study past tree growth, is of immense value worldwide for providing information on climate variability and detecting plant responses to climate change and disturbance regimes. This project, supported in part by the Australian Alps Program, is using 2003-fire killed Podocarpus lawrencei (Mountain Plum Pine) to investigate whether the current period of above average temperatures and low snow cover has set a precedent in the last 300 years. It will also determine the frequency of past fire events and explore the dynamics (growth and regeneration capacity) of fire-affected communities in the Australian Alps. The project is ongoing and has been increased in size with more samples being collected with analysis still to come.

Climate Change Fact Sheet

A climate change fact sheet has been developed by the Climate Change Reference Group and loaded onto the Australian Alps Program web site. Its aim is to explain the effects of a steadily warming climate on the Alps, from changes in plant and animal species to snow cover and fire regimes.

A Study of Weed Invasiveness of the Alps

See the Key Result Area for Invasive Species Management.

Caring for Our Australian Alps Catchments Report

See the Key Result Area for Water and Catchments.

The Alps Fire Plots

See the Key Result Area for Fire Management.

Return to top

Key Result Area 2: Water and Catchments

Objective

Implementation of contemporary approaches to management and restoration of catchments in mountain protected areas, through supporting good practice philosophy and principles for sustainable use and minimal catchment impact, to yield sustained supplies of high quality water for uses external to the protected areas such as irrigation and domestic consumption and flow regimes to sustain ecosystems dependent on the natural water regime both within the Alps and downstream.

Outcome

Management and rehabilitation activities are implemented according to best practice guidelines with demonstrated improved water quality and water retention reflecting a natural state.

Caring for Our Australian Alps Catchments Report

The ‘Caring for our Australian Alps Catchments’ report has been finalised and printed and submitted to the Australian Alps Liaison Committee for consideration. Produced by an independent consultant, this technical report provides a qualitative assessment on the current state of the Alps catchments and management issues caused as a direct and indirect result from Climate Change. The report provides a list of management recommendations and associated costings for dealing with catchments which are in a sub-optimal condition. In terms of process, the report’s recommendations are being carefully considered by Water and Catchments Reference Group. The Commonwealth Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency (who funded the initial report) commissioned a second report ‘Caring for our Australian Alps Catchments: Summary Report for Policy Makers (G Worboys, R Good; 2011’). This report focuses on the catchments assessment, the economic value of water from the Alps and the threats to the Alps associated with Climate Change. Being a policy document it did not discuss the management recommendations put forward in the technical report.

Capacity to Assess River and Catchment Health

An outcome of the Caring for our Australian Alps Catchments report has been to research the skill levels necessary to effectively manage catchments into the future. Alps park managers, technical specialists, scientists and external scientists were surveyed by the Water and Catchments Reference Group and the findings presented at the Australian Society of Limnologists conference in Thredbo last November.

European Carp investigation

The Alps program has commissioned the University of Western Sydney to investigate the distribution of European Carp across the Alps. Information on carp distribution will inform managers and researchers on the extent of this pest and help prioritise management.

Return to top

Key Result Area 3: Invasive Species Management

Objective

Implementation of contemporary approaches to management of pest plant and animal species in mountain protected areas, through supporting best practice principles for research, identification and control and, where possible, eradication of new outbreaks and species and appropriate responses to pest species problems exacerbated by climate change.

Outcome

Support co-operation and collaboration on identifying and managing emerging and known invasive species to reduce their impact on the natural and cultural values of the Alps.

Alps Field Days

After a break of several years, a large gathering of operational staff from across the Alps, again took place. The aim was to focus on day to day operational issues, in this case of pest control. Sixty participants took part, comparing existing programs and being exposed to the latest research likely to directly influence future control methods.

A study of Weed Invasiveness of the Alps

The first stage of a project, designed to enhance our understanding of the processes underlying exotic species invasions of the Alps, was completed in spring and summer. By studying the relationship between soil nutrients and exotic species in 110 disturbed areas within Kosciuszko National Park, it is hoped a predictor model can be supplied to assist land managers to maximise their resources, particularly under climate change scenarios. The data is currently being analysed with preliminary results available.

Administrative Reorganisation

Two sub-groups have been in operation during the past two years – the Wild Dog Sub-Group and a Feral Horse Sub-Group. Given there are no Alps-wide wild dog areas of research, or the need for a strategic Alps wild dog overview, the Wild Dog Group has been discontinued. Individual agencies will continue to prioritise wild dog management as part of their routine operations.

The Feral Horse Group is to be retained (see below for more details), while other invasive species issues are being dealt with by the Natural Resource Management Reference Group.

Additional Funding for Feral Horse Projects

Further Australian Alps Program-driven research into feral horse management has been made possible through additional funding provided by the Department of Sustainability and Environment (Victoria), the Victorian Department of Primary Industries, the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, Forests NSW, the ACT Parks and Conservation Service and Parks Victoria. This has been achieved through the Feral Horse Sub-Group. These areas of research are:

Horse Impacts Study: an assessment of the impacts of horses on streams and waterways using an index methodology developed by David Tongway of CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems. Surveys have been made within New South Wales and the ACT using 100 randomised plots across Kosciuszko National Park; and at control points along the border with the ACT. Once the equivalent Victorian surveys are carried out next autumn the study’s results will be compiled and written up.

Horse Density Project: work to develop a methodology to estimate horse density in the field is well underway. The project brief is written and Charles Sturt University is to supervise a yet to be identified PhD student who will develop this valuable operational tool. When in use, the in-the-field methodology will produce estimates using ground-based methods, at local level.

Horse Perception Survey: within the Australian Alps Program, consideration was given to conduct a survey, where the general public perception towards feral horses could be gauged. A project brief has been developed however it has since been determined that it is not an appropriate time to conduct the survey in NSW. At this stage, consideration is being given to conduct the survey in Victoria only.

European Carp investigation

See the Key Result Area for Water and Catchments.

Return to top

Key Result Area 4: Fire Management

Objective

Implementation of contemporary approaches to management of fire compatible with the conservation of mountain protected areas, through supporting best-practice principles for research, planning and control, and appropriate responses to fire problems exacerbated by climate change.

Outcome

Increased co-operation in research, planning and control of fire in the Alps.

The Alps Fire Plots

Since 1997 and more intensively since the 2003 bushfires, a long running monitoring program has been run on Alps flora in response to fire. Data from approximately 40 sites across the Alps forms the basis of a soon-to-be completed report. Contained in the report is an analysis of structural changes to the forest following fire along with an analysis of individual species responses. When presented in 2011/12 it will be an invaluable tool to park managers.

Update of Alps Fire Histories

Gathering historical data from the two states and one territory – much of it going back to the 1950’s – an analysis has been carried out which examines the impact of fire has on the likelihood (and subsequent intensity) of future fires. This report, entitled ‘Plant growth and seral stages determine the flammability of a forest’, has been submitted for peer review. On acceptance, a follow-on paper outlining management prescriptions will be written.

Podocarpus Study

See the Key Result Area for Climate Change and Adaptation.

Return to top

Key Result Area 5: Visitor Experiences and Marketing

Objective

Presentation of the superlative and unique Australian Alps visitor experiences identified through the Brand Australia National Landscapes Initiative, and implementation of contemporary approaches to sustainable visitor management in mountain protected areas.

Outcome

The National Landscapes Australian Alps Brand is implemented and supported by stakeholders and progress is made towards sustainability of use by visitors.

Visitor Experience Workshops

A series of workshops and presentations were held not only across the Australian Alps but also at Kakadu, Uluru-Kata Tjuta and Booderee national parks. Centred around Frances Gertsch, Manager of Visitor Experience for Prince Edward Island National Park Canada, the information and skills sharing exercise offered a fresh look at how the visitor experience is enhanced in national parks.

Website Upgrade

The Australian Alps national parks website is hosted by the Australian Government Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities. The site carries information about reference material, reports and publications, news updates, and links to related organisations and interest groups. The site – australianalps.environment.gov.au – has been undergoing an upgrade as additional visitor experience information has been prepared and loaded onto the Alps website. Whilst the upgrades will be ongoing, the project is close to completion, and will be finalised in 2011/12.

Totems

The concept for this multi-year project grew out of the need for increased recognition of Traditional Owners across the Alps. The aim is to design and install symbolic totems across the Alps signifying traditional country. The first phase, design and prototype construction is complete. Once signed off, the process can move forward through construction and installation.

Return to top

Key Result Area 6: Stakeholder Engagement and Communication

Objective

Stakeholders from all relevant groups and interests are aware of, and have access to, information about the unique mountain landscapes and catchments, natural and cultural values of the Australian Alps national parks, the actions and behaviour needed to protect these values, the objectives and achievements of the co-operative management program, and are appropriately involved in achieving the objectives of the program.

Outcome

Stakeholders are more actively engaged in, and are aware of, Alps programs and activities.

Education Materials Upgrade

The Education resources available through the Australian Alps Program were reviewed and updated as part of a two stage process. The second stage, during the next reporting period, will see the text finalised and loaded onto the Program’s web site in a fresh format. This material is used by teachers to educate students on the Australian Alps – a vital tool to ensure that students with no ‘first hand’ experience are able to develop an appreciation for the Australian Alps and the need to protect their biodiversity values.

Totems

See the Key Result Area for Visitor Experiences and Marketing

Website Upgrade

See the Key Result Area for Visitor Experiences and Marketing

Alps Brochures Reprint

See the Key Result Area for Program Promotion and Information.

Field Days

See the Key Result Area for Invasive Species Management.

First Peoples’ Gathering

See the Key Result Area for Indigenous People’s Engagement.

Return to top

Key Result Area 7: Indigenous People’s Engagement

Objective

Identification and promotion of opportunities for the involvement of Indigenous people in the management of the Australian Alps national parks.

Outcome

The Australian Alps Indigenous Reference Group is established, meets regularly, and contributes effectively to a range of Alps projects and initiatives.

Outcomes of 2010 First People’s Gathering

The First People’s Gathering is one of the landmark events of the Australian Alps Program. It brings together Traditional Owners from across the Alps to celebrate the Alps as Indigenous Country, to meet in men’s and women’s groups, and to provide advice to managers. Two key points arose from the April 2010 Gathering: the need to increase the profile of the Australian Alps Traditional Owners Reference Group (AATORG) and to improve communication with communities across the Alps. To address the first point, the Alps Traditional Owners logo now appears on all paperwork alongside those from the four agencies as well as on the Australian Alps Program website. The Traditional Owner logo in sticker format is in the process of being produced and a DVD of the April Gathering has been completed.

Traditional Owners’ Newsletter

To address the second point raised at the Gathering – to improve communication within communities across the Alps – it was agreed that the Alps’ Program Manager would produce a Newsletter following each AATORG meeting. The first newsletter was written and circulated post the November AATORG meeting.

AATORG meeting

A meeting of the Australian Alps Traditional Owners Reference Group was held in November 2010 in Talbingo on Wiradjuri country. Another meeting, scheduled to take place in the ACT in May 2011, failed to gather a quorum.

Totems

See the Key Result Area for Visitor Experiences and Marketing.

Return to top

Key Result Area 8: Cultural Heritage

Objective

Improved understanding of and respect for the Aboriginal and historic cultural heritage values of the Australian Alps national parks, including sites, places and landscapes, and incorporation of these values into effective conservation and management programs.

Outcome

The cultural heritage of the Alps is better understood, valued and protected by the community.

Cultural Heritage

The Cultural Heritage Reference Group attended the Australian Alps Traditional Owners Reference Group meeting in November. The two groups worked together to discuss the outcomes of the most recent First Peoples’ Gathering and develop the means of progressing the ideas produced at that Gathering.

Timber Skills Workshops

A Timber Skills Workshop was held at Currango Homestead (Kosciuszko National Park) in April 2011. Organised by NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, the workshop was designed to undertake maintenance works. Given it was attended by volunteers, the workshop was supported by the Alps Program.

Return to top

Key Result Area 9: Program Management

Objective

The Australian Alps national parks co-operative program will be well managed, maintain its effectiveness to achieve the vision and objectives of the MoU and operate within the relevant policy context of each participating agency.

Outcome

The Program is managed efficiently and effectively and the Heads of Agencies and other stakeholders are satisfied with the Program’s performance.

Annual Reports

The Annual Reports for the two previous reporting periods – 2008/09 and 2009/10 – were brought up-to-date and published.

Meetings

Each of the six Reference Groups and the two sub-groups met as planned with at least one meeting per group carried out face-to-face. The Australian Alps Liaison Committee met via teleconference in January, and in person during the months of October, March, and June. A meeting of the Australian Alps Traditional Owners Reference Group was held in November while another scheduled to take place in May failed to gather a quorum.

Return to top

Key Result Area 10: Program Promotion and Information

Objective

Program agency personnel and other stakeholders will increase and share their knowledge and understanding of the values of the Australian Alps national parks and co-operative program benefits, and acquire best practice skills for managing and communicating these values and improved cross agency links.

Outcome

Agency staff and other stakeholders are aware of the benefits of the Program and support its objectives.

The Australian Alps Program Newsletter

The newsletter ‘news from the alps’ keeps staff and other stakeholders in touch with the activities of the Australian Alps national parks agencies. It is also a valuable method of raising and maintaining community awareness of the Australian Alps national parks and the benefits of co-operative management via the Program. During the reporting period, editions 40 & 41 were produced. The newsletter is distributed to national parks staff, the recreation and tourism industry, tour operators, external organisations, educational institutions and other Alps user groups with a print circulation of 1300 as well as being available from the Program’s web site.

Brochure Reprint

Four brochures generated by the Program have been reprinted and distributed to various visitor outlets across the Alps. They contain information on: the Australian Alps Walking Track; camping; a code of conduct around huts; and a generic Australian Alps information brochure.

Sustainability Forum Sponsorship

The Australian Alps Program provided sponsorship for the seventh Alpine Resorts Sustainability Forum. Held in May, 128 delegates representing resorts and the Alps national parks agencies met to discuss climate change, sustainability and responsible management of the alpine environment.

Alps Field days

See the Key Result Area for Invasive Species Management.

Return to top

Agency benefits of the MOU

While responsibility for policy, strategic planning and day-to-day management of each of the Australian Alps national parks remains vested with each participating agency, it is via the Australian Alps Program that knowledge and resources are shared through cross-border relationships. As well as the many networking opportunities, following are some examples of how the MoU directly benefits the agencies.

Additional Funding for Feral Horse Projects

When complete, the feral horse impacts assessment and the methodology for estimating horse density will greatly increase managers understanding of the feral horse issue as well as providing a valuable management tool. See KRA 3: Invasive Species Management for more.

Alps Field Days

A large gathering of operational staff from across the Alps was deliberately held to focus on the day to day operational issue of pest control, to offer networking opportunities and to offer a communal knowledge base. See KRA 3: Invasive Species Management for more.

Alps Fire Histories Update

An analysis of historical data from the two states and one territory is examining the impact of fire has on the likelihood (and subsequent intensity) of future fires. When complete, this project, which is closely linked to a recently completed PhD on forest flammability, will add to fire managers’ and planners’ knowledge on fire response based on fire history and forest structure. See KRA 4: Fire Management for more.

Alps Fire Plots

Upon completion, this long running monitoring program of Alps flora in response to fire will provide planners and ecologists information relating to floristic fire responses. See KRA 4: Fire Management for more.

Australian Alps Program Newsletter

The Program’s newsletter, news from the alps, keeps staff and other stakeholders in touch with the activities of the Australian Alps national parks agencies. See KRA 10: Program Promotion and Information for more.

Caring for Our Australian Alps Catchments Report

This independent expert technical report provides a qualitative assessment on the current state of the Alps catchments and investigates a range of management options. The report provides opportunities for agencies to seek funding through the prioritisation of the reports recommendations. See KRA 2: Water and Catchments for more.

Visitor Experience Workshops

This series of workshops and presentations aimed at enhancing the visitor experience was centred on visiting Parks Canada expert, Frances Gertsch. These workshops provided valuable tools for rangers and other visitor mangers in dealing with visitor sites. See KRA 5: Visitor Experiences and Marketing

Website Upgrade

The Australian Alps national parks website has been upgraded. The site carries information about reference material, reports and publications, news updates, and links to related organisations and interest groups – all designed to increase the exposure and marketability of the Alps. See KRA 5: Visitor Experiences and Marketing

Weed Invasiveness study of the Alps

Upon completion, this project will enhance our understanding of the processes underlying exotic species invasions of the Alps, particularly under Climate Change. See KRA 3: Invasive Species Management for more.

Return to top

External Liaison

Much of the work of the Australian Alps Program during the reporting period has been made possible through collaboration with a collection of groups, associations, organisations, authorities, universities, and local, state and federal government departments. The much appreciated contributions of these organisations are further evidence of the growing profile, strength and relevance of the Australian Alps Program.

ACT Parks and Conservation Service

The current range of projects associated with feral horses in the Australian Alps has been funded in part by the Service. Having just previously hosted the Alps program, the ACT continues to provide the valuable service of mailing out the Alps newsletter and other publications.

Victorian Alpine Resorts Coordinating Council

The Victorian Alpine Resorts Coordinating Council (VARCC) has given its’ support to the Alps Program and is keen to increase its’ involvement in the Program.

Regional tourism organisations and visitor centres

Regional tourism organisations and visitor centres continue to be involved in various Alps program-run workshops such as the ongoing Frontline Workshops as well as special topics such as enhancing the visitor experience.

CSIRO

The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation formed part of the steering committee which has produced the Caring for our Australian Alps catchments report.

Australian National University

The University is involved in a Podocarpus Study, where tree rings are being analysed to provide information on climate variability and detecting plant responses to climate change and disturbance regimes.

Australian Society of Limnologists

Australian staff attended the Australian Society of Limnologists conference in Thredbo in November to present the poster they put together on future skill requirements for the management of the Australian Alps Catchments.

Bureau of Meteorology

The Australian Alps weather page on the Bureau’s web site was produced with assistance from the Australian Alps Program. Catchment Management Authorities Controlling weed species of willow in the Alps has been successfully managed through the invaluable partnerships between the Alps Program agencies and a number of catchment management authorities.

Commonwealth Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency

The Caring for our Australian Alps Catchments report was written and printed with funding provided by the Department.

Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water (now Office of Environment and Heritage)

The Department is involved in a Podocarpus Study, where tree rings are being analysed to provide information on climate variability and detecting plant responses to climate change and disturbance regimes. The Department has also, through in-kind support, made possible the completion of a Fire History Paper.

Forests New South Wales

As well as having a Forests New South Wales (FNSW) representative on the Feral Horse Sub-Group, the current range of projects associated with feral horses in the Australian Alps has been funded in part by FNSW.

GLORIA

The international Global Observation Research Initiative in Alpine Environments continues to collect data following strict protocols to produce information on vegetation, soils and climate – for comparison purposes locally and world wide. One GLORIA team carries out survey work in Kosciuszko National Park, most recently visiting the test summits in January 2011.

Kosciuszko Huts Association and Victorian High Country Huts Association

The huts associations continue to provide ongoing support for the huts within the Australian Alps, through building, maintenance and skill sharing workshops.

International Union for Conservation and Nature (IUCN) World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA) Mountains Biome

The Alps program continues to enjoy an ongoing partnership with these organisations through the IUCN / WCPA Australian Alps Science Management Forums.

National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility (NCCARF)

A project under the NCCARF is currently investigating the limits of adaptation to climate change using the Australian Alps as a study area. The Australian Alps Program Manager attended a mid-term progress report meeting and, representing land managers within the Australian Alps national parks, discussed potential end-user requirements. The latest round of NCCARF projects involves another Australian Alps project Determining high risk vegetation communities and plant species in relation to climate change in the Australian alpine region. The Alps program is a collaborator of this project and providing a link to management.

National Parks Associations of Victoria, NSW and ACT

The Alps Program continues to enjoy the ongoing involvement and support of a number of parks associations.

NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NSW NPWS)

Apart from being the State agency currently hosting the Alps program, the NSW NPWS is supporting Australian Alps Program driven research into feral horse management. NSW NPWS also co-hosted the visit from Parks Canada of Visitor Experience expert, Frances Gertsch.

NSW, Vic and ACT Traditional Owner Groups

Working together at the First Peoples’ Gathering, members of these groups have defined a set of goals, among them: increased profile, a Traditional Owners newsletter, and Alps-wide totems to signify traditional country.

Parks Australia (Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities)

Parks Australia plays an increasingly valuable role in maintaining the Alps Website, building the Visitor Experience content on the website, making the site more central to those of the Alps Program’s Key Result Area’s which relate most to visitors and stakeholders. Parks Australia also co-hosted the visit from Parks Canada of Visitor Experience expert, Frances Gertsch.

Parks Canada

Through its relationship with Parks Victoria, Parks Canada continues to exchange knowledge and expertise. This exchange is of real benefit to the Alps Program, for example, the visit from Parks Canada of Visitor Experience expert, Frances Gertsch.

Parks Victoria

The current range of projects associated with feral horses in the Australian Alps has been funded in part by Parks Victoria.

Department of Primary Industries (Victoria)

The Department is supporting Australian Alps Program driven research into feral horse management.

Department of Sustainability and Environment (Victoria)

The Alps Program has benefited from the strong links between Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE) and Parks Victoria, particularly relating to fire management with a DSE representative on the Fire Science Sub-Group. The Department is involved in the ongoing management of the Australian Alps Walking Track, and the current range of projects associated with feral horses in the Australian Alps has also been funded in part by the Department.

Great Eastern Ranges Initiative

The Alps program continues to support this initiative – a contiguous continental scale conservation initiative running the length of the east coast of Australia.

Tourism Victoria, Tourism NSW, Australian Capital Tourism and key industry stakeholders and local government

All of the above continued to build upon the Australian Alps as a National Landscape and appropriately managed tourism destination.

Charles Sturt University

Charles Sturt University is to supervise a yet to be identified PhD student who will develop a methodology to estimate horse density in the field.

University of Western Sydney

The Alps program has commissioned the University of Western Sydney to investigate the distribution of European Carp across the Alps. Information on carp distribution will inform managers and researchers on the extent of this pest and help prioritise management.

Griffith University

The Alps Program enjoys a relationship with Griffith University over several fronts: ongoing support for GLORIA monitoring; ongoing research into climate change response in the Australian Alps; and research being carried out by the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility on limits of adaptation under climate change.

VicWalk, Canberra, and NSW Bushwalking Clubs

The Alps Program enjoys the ongoing support for cross-border co-operative management of the Australian Alps Walking Track from a number of bushwalking clubs.

Return to top