Optimising your Environmental Monitoring Program

We believe that environmental monitoring should be scientifically sound and cost-effective. Scientifically sound because quality data is fundamental to good decision-making; cost-effective because in today’s economic climate, human and financial resources can be limited. We call the process of reviewing, improving and implementing an updated monitoring program, Monitoring Optimisation.

Astron optimise programs for existing and new clients (preview our case studies). The process involves evaluating existing plans against the objectives for monitoring (for example, specific compliance conditions and management goals) and the methods that are applied such as sampling design, measurement techniques and data management (preview the Astron monitoring optimisation flow chart). Our scientific team keep abreast of advances in monitoring approaches and technology and we’re always ready to integrate new and proven methods, balancing the need to maintain consistency within long-term data sets. Obtaining approval from regulators for revised plans may be required as part of the process and our team of qualified scientists are well versed in providing assistance to achieve this outcome.

Some typical pathways to optimisation include:

  • Reduce the frequency of monitoring (for example, from quarterly to annual) when threats diminish, or analysis of monitoring data demonstrates that risks of impact have been overstated (based on a precautionary approach from the regulator). Presenting credible data and valid analytical techniques is important in making a case for change and gaining regulatory approval.
  • Reduce on-ground effort by integrating remote-sensing technology into monitoring programs (for example, satellite imagery, remote cameras, groundwater sensors with telemetry). However, it is important to demonstrate the validity of these techniques in each particular circumstance. 
  • Implement efficient sampling designs to reduce field time while maximising statistical power. A design prepared by an experienced numerical ecologist can achieve this; on the other hand, an ill-conceived design not only wastes resources, but it provides data of little value.

We are passionate about Monitoring Optimisation because it is positive for both the environment and the bottom-line of our clients. We welcome the opportunity to share our knowledge and many years of experience in this endeavour with anyone involved in environmental monitoring and compliance.

To have your monitoring program reviewed or to find out further information on Astron’s monitoring optimisation, please contact Principal Scientist, Robert Archibald on (08) 9421 9658 or robert.archibald@astron.com.au.

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