Dr Warwick Noble1
1Environment Protection Authority, Adelaide, South Australia
Ambient monitoring can appear as “monitoring for the sake of monitoring”, since the questions behind it are often linked to change over time, but not specifically change as a result of a single pressure. However, without solid data from ambient monitoring, any questions asked may be skewed by the problem of shifting baselines. Shifting baselines complicate the relatively simple BACI design for environmental studies, as such, ambient monitoring is intrinsically important to any focussed study on a single pressure. In order for ambient monitoring to be valuable to more focussed studies, the suite of variables measured must reflect environmental condition broadly. That is, appropriate sentinel species or descriptors must be measured. The SA EPA has run a Statewide ambient monitoring program for coastal waters since 2009. The results from the program are reported annually, and the data collected is used by researchers, government agencies and stakeholders alike to provide context and background/control data for decision making. The presentation will provide an overview of the SA EPA ambient monitoring and results, discussion of how the data is used by management for decision making on specific developments such as aquaculture, sea ports, desalination plants and other research.
Warwick has worked for the SA EPA since 2010. A large part of his work is in regulation and reform of industry and other pollution pressures affecting the marine environment.