Community Ecosystem Monitoring

Council's Community Ecosystem Monitoring Program (CEMP) measures the health of our city's natural areas through long-term monitoring. Council has over 50 terrestrial sites in the program, which are surveyed by staff and community volunteers. Each site is given a score based on the health of its ecosystem.

The program helps engage the local community and encourages participation in ecosystem health monitoring. The program was initiated with the support and knowledge of our community volunteers. The information collected provides support for on-going environmental management programs.

Ecosystem health report card
Last updated 23 Oct 2018
Site Sample date Grade
Forest
Cameron Park Site 111 04 Apr 2018 B
Cardiff Heights Site 21 27 Oct 2016 B
Cardiff Heights Site 53 16 Oct 2017 B
Galgabba Site 69 19 Oct 2018 C
Hillsborough Site 17 16 Sep 2016 B
Hillsborough Site 18 19 Sep 2017 B
Martinsville Site 65 03 Sep 2018 B
Martinsville Site 66 09 Sep 2018 B
New Lambton Site 115 10 Oct 2017 B
Rathmines Site 27 13 Mar 2017 C
Wangi Ridge Site 117 08 Sep 2016 B
Heath
Caves Beach Site 16 22 Sep 2018 D
Caves Beach Site 39 03 May 2013 D
Caves Beach Site 125 16 Apr 2018 C
Jewells Site 42 28 Apr 2018 B
Redhead Site 1 18 Apr 2017 C
Redhead Site 2 18 Apr 2017 C
Swansea Heads Site 133 06 Oct 2017 C
Wyee Site 135 17 Sep 2018 C
Rainforest
Cams Wharf Site 10 22 Oct 2018 A
Floraville Site 110 03 Jun 2016 C
Green Point Site 108 09 Apr 2018 B
Green Point Site 123 23 Apr 2018 B
Swansea Heads Site 48 18 Apr 2018 B
Valentine Site 92 03 Oct 2018 C
Wetland
Barnsley Site 86 02 May 2017 C
Black Neds Bay Site 13 24 Oct 2016 B
Black Neds Bay Site 14 24 Oct 2016 B
Brightwaters Site 113 24 Oct 2017 C
Croudace Bay Site 114 18 Sep 2017 B
Eleebana Site 89 21 Apr 2017 C
Eleebana Site 90 29 Mar 2017 C
Kilaben Bay Site 118 17 Oct 2018 C
Marmong Point Site 120 01 May 2017 C
Pelican Site 116 28 Sep 2017 C
Wyee Site 94 08 May 2012 C
Woodland
Charlestown Site 24 13 Sep 2017 C
Coal Point Site 29 07 May 2018 C
Cooranbong Site 63 23 Oct 2018 B
Dudley Site 126 11 Apr 2018 B
Eleebana/Tingira Site 34 21 Oct 2016 C
Eleebana/Tingira Site 35 19 Oct 2016 B
Fishing Point Site 128 04 Sep 2017 C
Galgabba Site 119 11 Sep 2018 B
Green Point Site 134 05 Apr 2018 B
Mount Hutton Site 122 17 Oct 2016 B
Rathmines Site 28 12 Sep 2017 B
Sunshine Park Site 112 08 Sep 2015 B
Valentine Site 26 06 Sep 2018 B
Valentine Site 103 24 Mar 2017 B
Valentine Site 104 23 Oct 2017 B
Wakefield Site 19 27 Mar 2017 C
Whitebridge Site 56 12 Mar 2018 B
Whitebridge Site 57 12 Oct 2017 B
Wyee Site 121 10 Sep 2018 C

Ecosystem Health Score Card

The data collected provides scientifically valid information on ecosystem condition. It is compared to benchmark values determined to represent sites in pristine condition. Benchmark values are specific to a Keith Class* (a vegetation type/class categorisation), with 121 benchmark sites surveyed in order to determine benchmark values.

More than 50 terrestrial sites are monitored by the community. Each site is permanently marked and located within rainforest, forest, woodland, and heath complex or wetland ecosystems. This is a long-term monitoring program and sites are monitored by community volunteers every 18 months.

The ecosystem health score card grades (A to E), provide a single grade determined for each randomly distributed terrestrial site.

CEMP Health Score Card Information

Grade Site condition
A Excellent: Conditions meet benchmark ecosystem health values. Ecosystem processes are functional and integral habitat is in near pristine condition. (Assessed score 80-100)
B Good: Conditions predominantly meet benchmark ecosystem health values. Most ecosystem processes are functional and integral habitat is predominantly unharmed. (Assessed score 60-79)
C Fair: Conditions meet some of the benchmark ecosystem health values. Some ecosystem processes are functional and some integral habitat is impacted. (Assessed score 40-59)
D Poor: Conditions meet only a limited number of the benchmark ecosystem health values. Most ecosystem processes are no longer functional and much of the integral habitat is impacted. (Assessed score 20-39)
E Unacceptable: Conditions no longer meet any of the benchmark ecosystem health values. Most ecosystem processes are no longer functional and integral habitat is severely impacted. (Assessed score 0-19)

Indicators used to assess ecosystem health

Thirteen indicators of ecosystem health were identified. They measure vegetation components of the ecosystems, are representative of key structural elements and compatible to data used in NSW Property Vegetation Plans and NSW Biobanking. Not all ecosystems require every indicator to be measured. Below is a list of the thirteen indicators:

For more information on the score card, or to participate in the Lake Macquarie Community Ecosystem Monitoring Program, contact our Customer Service Centre on 02 4921 0333.

Keith Class Description

* Each vegetation type is assigned to a broader vegetation class and overarching vegetation formation, referred to as a Keith Class (Keith 2004). Keith, D. (2004) Ocean shores to desert dunes: the native vegetation of New South Wales and the ACT, NSW Department of Environment and Conservation, Hurstville.

There are nine broad ecosystem types identified within the Lake Macquarie area and the ecosystem health score card grades provide a single grade determined for each randomly distributed terrestrial site.

If you want to find out more or get involved in the program please contact Council on 02 4921 0333.

Page last updated: 23 October 2018