Monitoring and managing nearshore marine waters
The EPA has been monitoring the nearshore waters throughout the State to assess their condition and is now reporting this information in report cards called Aquatic Ecosystem Condition Reports (AECR).
New report cards will be published each year for one region, with the first set reporting on the condition of Gulf St Vincent and the lower Spencer Gulf, with the upper Spencer Gulf set to be released in 2014.
In a significant change to previous reporting, the EPA is now using many different measures to assess the condition of our waters, including seagrass and reef condition in addition to traditional water samples for nutrients and turbidity.
The program examines many different sites within a wider area (also called a biounit) to gain a broad indication of the condition for the region, rather than trying to undertake assessments of impact from any number of specific sources. This change is seen as a more reliable and accurate measure of the condition of the habitats throughout our nearshore waters.
The cards will also highlight the major pollution sources that may be affecting the condition of the waters and some of the management actions that are currently underway to help stop further damage. This approach will allow more targeted management to address the pressures that may be affecting the condition of the nearshore environments.
To complement the report cards, detailed scientific reports for each region will be published to show in-depth results, graphs, comparisons and discussions about specific observations at a more local scale. The report cards have links to the data and a two-minute underwater video of the sites, allowing users to see first-hand the condition of their favourite locations.