Parks Victoria Marine Protected Areas Program Plan

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1 Updated June 2013 Parks Victoria Marine Protected Areas Program Plan

2 Authorised and published by Parks Victoria Level 10, 535 Bourke St, Melbourne VIC 3000 Copyright Parks Victoria 2012 Updated version June 2013 Cover image: Mushroom Reef Marine Sanctuary Inside cover image: Corner Inlet Marine National Park Image acknowledgements: Mark Norman, Roger Fenwick, Julian Finn, Mary Malloy, William Boyle, Mark Rodrigue, Ste an Howe, Warrnambool Standard, Matt Hoskins and Natasha Johnson.

3 Contents Foreword 5 1. Introduction Purpose Scope and structure of the plan Statutory basis for MPA management Corporate context Marine Protected Area Program Updated approach Principles for program delivery Program governance Program logic Program delivery approach Park adaptive management Conservation outcomes Risk management State of the Parks reporting Program areas 21 Program Area 1: Park planning and strategy 22 Program Area 2: Compliance 25 Program Area 3: Community and visitor engagement 28 Program Area 4: Culture and heritage 31 Program Area 5: Emergency management 35 Program Area 6: Catchment and water management 38 Program Area 7: Invasive species management 40 Program Area 8: Knowledge and management effectiveness 43 Program Area 9: Asset management 47 Program Area 10: Recreation and tourism 49 Program Area 11: Partnerships Agencies 52 Program Area 12: Partnerships Community Performance assessment and reporting Corporate and Business Plans MPA performance assessment and reporting Providing information to the community 59 Appendix 1 Statewide MPA system map 60 Appendix 2 Resources and references 62 Appendix 3 State of the Parks 2010 summary

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5 Foreword The existing strategy Victoria s System of Marine National Parks and Marine Sanctuaries Management Strategy has guided the establishment and management of marine national parks and sanctuaries. It has served Parks Victoria well, with major program advances over the past decade. Achievements include the preparation of management plans for all parks, mapping of marine habitats within parks, a robust research and monitoring program, and protection of the parks environmental and heritage values in partnership with other agencies and the community. Visitor use and enjoyment, including tourism opportunities, have been supported. The community have also participated in marine protected area management through establishment of marine friends groups complementing the extensive community involvement seen along the coast. A renewed direction for the marine Parks Victoria s adaptive management framework, conservation outcomes, research directions and monitoring, evaluation and reporting is required. There is also a need to respond to the recommendations of the Victorian Auditor to this MPA Program Plan that Parks Victoria should: workforce to discharge its obligations to environmentally manage marine protected areas. marine protected areas with supporting plans that specify actions, targets, performance indicators, accountabilities and time frames for delivery; enables the assessment of performance against park management plans; assessments, including prioritisation, for marine protected areas; collaboration with other agencies to better inform its planning; and Victoria s System of Marine National Parks and Marine Sanctuaries: Management Strategy , to inform the development of a new strategy. This Marine Protected Areas Program Plan aims to renew and extend Parks Victoria s effective management of Victoria s marine protected areas for the years pending development of a long term strategy once the current Marine Inquiry reports back through VEAC in Bill Jackson Chief Executive

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7 1. Introduction Parks Victoria is the appointed manager of Victoria s marine protected areas (MPAs) including the highly protected marine national parks and marine sanctuaries that were established under the National Parks (Marine National Parks and Marine Sanctuaries) Act Establishment of the marine national in the world that a complete system of protected marine areas, representative of the diversity of marine habitats, had been implemented. The marine national parks and marine sanctuaries are highly protected (no take) and cover approximately 63,000 hectares or 5.3% of Victorian state marine waters. Other marine protected areas in Victoria are multiple use and allow for some forms parks, marine and coastal parks, and a marine reserve. Both groups of the marine protected areas (MPAs) are the focus for this Program Plan. Since their proclamation, Parks Victoria has successfully established and continues to manage marine national parks and marine sanctuaries as an important and protected area estate. Management has focussed on protecting natural and cultural values, engaging the community at all levels, environmental research and monitoring, tourism and visitor management. Victoria s System of Marine National Parks and Marine Sanctuaries Management Strategy was prepared in collaboration with key stakeholders. Management plans for all 24 marine national parks and marine sanctuaries were prepared between 2005 and 2008 to guide management. There are several key challenges in MPA management: Baseline knowledge of marine biodiversity values is not as well established as for terrestrial areas. A need to focus management effort to eliminate or reduce threats and disturbances including poor water quality, illegal resource extraction, marine pests, and a lack of community stewardship and understanding of marine vales. Use of science to assess effectiveness of management actions and inform adaptive management. Collaboration between management agencies and sharing of data and other information. Demonstrating improvement in condition while recognising that this will be incremental and require long term datasets to quantify change

8 1.1 Purpose The purpose of the Marine Protected Area Program Plan (MPA Program Plan) is to provide guidance for MPA management activity within the broad strategic directions of the previous strategy for the period 2012 to The Victorian Environment Assessment Council (VEAC) is currently (July 2012) undertaking an investigation into the outcomes of the establishment of Victoria s existing marine protected areas, Plan covers the period until that study is completed and operates within existing government policy and the broad strategic directions set by the Strategy. A new marine strategy that takes into account this plan and the outcomes of the VEAC investigation will then be developed (Figure 1). This MPA Program Plan does not propose any new policy or strategic directions ahead of that study. The MPA Program Plan is required given the progressive improvement in adaptive management over the ten years since the MPA system was established and the need for improved reporting and of MPA management. An interim plan is adaptive management approach and guide environmental, cultural, heritage and visitor assets and services programs. The plan will ensure continuity of program development from the previous marine management strategy and ensure MPA programs have clear logic, established accountabilities, and described performance measures. New management challenges have emerged in the past decade including demographic changes along the coast, a more variable and changing climate, and the spread of marine invasive species. New opportunities have also emerged, such as marine habitat mapping, novel research approaches, and social media technologies, which lead to a greater understanding of the marine environment, and the improved capacity to communicate with the community about values, threats and management. Parks Victoria s management of MPAs has been reviewed, both internally and by the issues, including the need to demonstrate improved management and accountability. This MPA Program Plan responds to these audits. Figure 1: Planning timeline Parks Victoria Marine Protected Areas Program Plan ( ) Victoria s System of Marine National Parks and Marine Sanctuaries Management Strategy Victorian Environment Assessment Council Marine Investigation ( ) Future Strategy for Marine Protected Areas (10+ years)

9 1.2 Scope and structure of the plan The Marine Protected Areas Program Plan covers all marine protected areas (MPAs) managed on behalf of the Victorian Government by Parks Victoria, being: 13 highly protected (no take) marine national parks. 11 smaller highly protected (no take) marine sanctuaries. Multiple use MPAs including three marine and coastal parks, two marine parks, and a marine Reserve. While the scope of the plan is MPA management, there are some actions that arrangements that are in place for areas outside of MPAs, also managed by Parks Victoria, such as local ports, waterways, and coastal parks. The MPA system is illustrated in Appendix 1 State-wide MPA system map. The MPA Program Plan covers the following: The statutory requirements for MPA management (section 1.3). The MPA program in context of Parks Victoria s corporate business plan (section 1.4). MPA program governance (section 2.3). MPA program logic (section 2.4). MPA program delivery approach (section 3). The 12 MPA program areas and implementation actions (section 4). Performance assessment and reporting (section 5). 1.3 Statutory basis for MPA management Parks Victoria manages the marine protected area system as part of its responsibilities under the National Parks Act The MPA Program is designed to meet the objectives of the National Parks Act 1975 for marine national parks (Schedule 7) and marine sanctuaries (Schedule 8), and marine and coastal parks, marine parks and marine reserves (Schedule 4). The Objects of the Act are to make provision, in respect of national parks, state parks, marine national parks and marine sanctuaries to: (i) preserve and protect the park in its natural condition for the use, enjoyment and education of the public. (ii) and fauna in the park. (iii) exterminate or control exotic fauna in the park. (iv) in the park. Further Objects for marine national parks and marine sanctuaries (Schedule 7 and 8) include: Preserve and protect the natural fauna of the park and any features of the park which are of geological, geomorphological, ecological, scenic, archaeological, historic or other Promote the prevention of the into the park and provide for the eradication or control of exotic Subject to the preservation and protection of park values provide for the use, enjoyment and understanding of marine national parks and marine sanctuaries by the public. Promote an understanding of the purpose and marine sanctuaries and for marine and coastal parks, Marine Parks and Marine Reserves (Schedule 4): To make provision, insofar as is appropriate to each such park, for the protection and preservation of features of scenic or archaeological, ecological, historic or other To make provision for the public to observe, experience or otherwise become acquainted in those parks with the countryside and rural skills activities and pursuits and for carrying on, in those parks and for those purposes, agricultural, horticultural, or other agrarian projects and botanical, biological, ecological, geological, studies or projects. To make provision in accordance with the foregoing for the use of parks by the public for the purposes of enjoyment, recreation or education and for the encouragement and control of that use

10 1.4 Corporate context The Parks Victoria Corporate Plan provides highlevel directions for the organisation. Parks Victoria s mission is: To protect and enhance Victoria s parks and waterways for people forever. Parks Victoria will work toward this mission with five key objectives: To conserve park and waterway ecosystems. To protect culture and heritage in parks. To deliver opportunities for people to use their parks and waterways. To prepare for, respond to and recover To operate as a resilient, relevant and effective park management agency. To deliver against the three-year objectives, Environment, land and water. Culture and heritage. Visitors and community. Fire and emergency. A sustainable organisation. The MPA Program Plan will inform and integrate with Parks Victoria s corporate and business planning. areas of work:

11 2. Marine Protected Areas Program The MPA program aims to deliver a range of activities as part of a comprehensive protected area program in order to meet the legislated objectives and community expectations. This MPA Program Plan has been MPA management experience. Following the establishment of the marine national parks and sanctuaries, risk assessments and individual park management plans were prepared to provide management directions. These plans focussed on the many tasks required for park establishment and were strongly risk-management based. Building on this experience, Parks to an approach which includes clearer and more measureable statements of the desired condition of the natural assets the parks were established to conserve, and the threats requiring management. This approach is consistent with Government directions and outcomes and addresses specific recommendations of the Victorian Auditor General s report (VAGO 2011) on marine protected area management

12 2.1 Updated approach durable guidance, there are some key of Parks Victoria s management systems and the emergence of new issues. These include: Adaptive management. The increased recognition in park and natural resource management of the need to deal with changing impacts and conditions and to learn through monitoring the effectiveness of actions taken. Learning generated through performance measurements linked to objectives and State of the Parks reporting. conservation outcome statements that provide a link between objectives and the success of management actions. Recognition of the value of management planning for multiple parks in a geographic landscape. An expanded scope that includes all MPAs managed including Schedule 4 reserves such as marine and coastal parks. The impacts of a changing climate. The continued impacts and risk of marine invasive species. The increased population pressures on the coast including urbanisation and increasing recreational use and activities reliant on the natural environment. 2.2 Principles for program delivery The following principles underpin delivery of the MPA Program: Collaborative partnerships with key government agencies, industry and the community to protect environmental health. Using an adaptive management framework approach, utilising research, monitoring and performance assessment, as a way to assess management actions and adjust management as needed. Adoption of an integrated coastal zone management (ICZM) approach for managing the broader threats (e.g. water quality, marine pests, visitor impacts), especially at a catchment or regional scale. Sustained engagement of research and educational institutions, industry stakeholders, and other interested parties including the community in research and monitoring. Engagement with the tourism industry community awareness, and opportunities Developing information, education and interpretation programs that recognise unique aspects of the different marine areas across the state, to create meaningful educational and visitor experiences, increase community awareness of marine and coastal biodiversity and maritime cultural resources and history. Broad public participation and community involvement in MPA management. Provision of meaningful opportunities for Aboriginal peoples to be involved in the design and implementation of conservation measures for seascapes (land and water) with which they determined to jointly manage these areas. best practices and standards for the management of MPAs, embracing innovation as a means of responding effectively to changing knowledge. Parks Victoria State-wide Marine Protected Area Program Plan

13 2.3 Program governance Implementation and accountability for delivery of the MPA Program is within a structured program governance arrangement that facilitates senior management oversight of the program. This is supported through the Environment and Heritage Division and regional Marine Coordinators, with delivery through divisional and operational line management as shown in Figure 2 below. Accountabilities for individual program area sections of the plan. Parks Victoria Board GM Environment and Heritage Division accountable for the marine program and chairs the marine protected areas steering group Divisional and regional managers (coastal regions) participate in the marine protected areas steering group Environment and Heritage Marine Program Coordinator Environment and Heritage Division provides direction and coordinates programming with regional coordinators and other divisions and directorates Accountable directorate and divisional managers Delivery Park Planning and Procedures Science and Management Effectiveness Programs Culture and Heritage Visitor and Asset Strategy and Planning Marketing and Education Tourism Compliance Fire Environment Land and Water Community Engagement Regional management (RMT) Regional marine coordinators Eastern Melbourne Western Operational delivery Compliance patrol Surveillance monitoring Community science programs Information Interpretation & Education Invasive Species Management Regional Catchment Strategy actions Emergency response support Figure 2: Program governance (as at June 2013)

14 2.4 Program logic The MPA Program can be illustrated in a program Logic Model that sets out the steps which occur in the MPA Program and relates how activities carried out contribute to the program purpose, in the context of the high-level directions of the Environment, Land and Water area of work. The MPA Program logic is shown in Figure 3 right. Figure 3: Program Logic Model for the MPA Program Parks Victoria objectives To conserve park and waterway ecosystems To prepare for, respond to other emergencies To protect cultural heritage in parks To deliver better opportunities for people to use their parks and waterways Broader goals contributed to ELW directions Key natural assets and ecological processes of Victoria s parks network are maintained or restored for their long term viability MPA Program Marine protected areas values are managed through active intervention, community engagement, improved understanding, and compliance Core purpose of the area of work Natural values management: To maintain marine ecological integrity in MPAs Cultural values management: To protect and interpret cultural heritage in MPAs Visitor services: To support appropriate visitor experience and safety in MPAs Emergency management: To respond to marine incidents and emergencies Sustainable organisation: To build the skills and capacity for MPA management Program purpose Systematic monitoring, research, and evaluation, is used to inform management decisions Indigenous cultural values within MPAs protected Effective communication builds community stewardship for MPAs Emergency management preparedness facilitates support for MPA incidents A skilled and trained workforce is able to effectively manage MPAs

15 What will be happening differently as a result of the area of work Ongoing activities carried out directly through the area of work Invasive species impacts on MPAs are understood and managed to limit impacts Post contact cultural values within MPAs are MPA assets help protect environmental values and improve visitor safety Water quality threats to MPA values are recognised and addressed through collaboration Sustainable tourism and recreation uses within MPAs are supported Natural and cultural values in MPAs are protected through collaborative and targeted compliance programs with DEPI Partnerships with agencies and community inform and support MPA management Deliver services to improve the health of parks Improve our knowledge Prevent or limit the impact of marine pest incursions on MPAs Identify and protect Indigenous and European cultural values within MPAs Develop conservation objectives, implementation plans for all MPAs Develop, assess, and report on performance indicators for effective MPA management Assist in responding to cetacean stranding, oil spills and other emergencies Understand values, threats, and risks to MPAs through targeted marine research and monitoring Implement a planned compliance program with relevant partners including DPI Fisheries Facilitate community participation in marine monitoring to assist detection of changes in parks Deliver effective MPA messages th rough interpretation, education, media, and marketing Communicate research and monitoring findings to staff, stakeholders, and community Maintain built assets for MPA boundary recognition access and visitor safety Evaluate and report on the effectiveness of MPA management th rough State of the Parks Work together for resilient parks Integrate MPAs into Regional Catchment Strategies and water quality improvement plans Maintain biosecurity, compliance, and emergency response, agreements between agencies Support and promote sustainable visitor uses and tourism initiatives in MPAs Deliver key marine communication initiatives with key partners including DSE and DPI Support community participation and involvement through both regional and corporate programs Ensure good governance for MPA management at local, regional, and international levels

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17 3. Program delivery approach 3.1 Park adaptive management Parks Victoria has adopted an adaptive management approach to environmental management. The Adaptive Management Framework (AMF) shown in Figure 4, will be applied to the management of both marine and terrestrial parks. Adaptive management allows for ongoing learning by continually assessing the success of actions in meeting management objectives, and allowing adjustment of management actions in the future. It is the integration of various components of management to provide a framework that systematically tests assumptions, promotes learning and provides timely information for management decisions. Under this framework, conservation outcomes for the priority natural assets objectives for the mitigation of threats to assets established, and management and monitoring strategies based on the objectives are developed. The framework provides logical steps and a range of tools to guide the effective implementation and evaluation of conservation projects and enables a clear connection to be made between desired conservation outcomes and actions on the ground. Figure 4: Adaptive Management Framework Adaptive Management Framework steps: 1. Conceptualise what you will achieve in the context of where you are working. 2. Plan both your actions and monitoring. 3. Implement both your actions and monitoring. State of the Parks 5. Share Adaptive Management Framework 4. Analyse your data to evaluate the effectiveness of your activities. Use your results to adapt your project to maximize impact. 5. Capture and share your results with key external and internal audiences to promote Learning. The Adaptive Management Framework international best practice and is based on the Conservation Measures Partnership (CMP) Open Standards, which were developed as part of a collaboration of NGOs (including IUCN, WCPA, WWF and Nature Conservancy) and government agencies

18 3.2 Conservation outcomes Conservation outcomes are an integral part of multi-year and annual implementation plans. The existing marine protected area management plans have broad management outcome statements. Conservation outcomes will assist managers to identify where resources need to be allocated and as well as making it easier to assess and report on effectiveness of actions. Reporting, in report cards being developed for the marine national parks, requires clear conservation outcome statements to report against. They will also help identify priority research and monitoring programs and allow more targeted programs. The Conservation Outcomes Hierarchy sits within the Plan step of the Adaptive Management Framework (AMF) and is a process for developing statements about the desired condition of natural assets in a park or parks, and the acceptable level of threat to those assets, which management is seeking to achieve. Conservation outcome statements will provide clearer and more measurable statements of the desired condition of natural assets. These statements and the report cards will help focus management on the key natural assets Parks Victoria is managing for and will be used to assess the extent to which management actions are working and to diagnose why some actions succeed while others do not. (Refer to Figure 5) Conservation Outcomes Hierarchy for adaptive management Figure 5: The Conservation Outcomes Hierarchy * this sits within the Plan step of the Adaptive Management Framework. Conservation vision Natural asset goals Outcome Indicators, Target Ranges & Thresholds Evaluation and reporting of condition and management effectiveness State of the parks Threat objectives Enabling objectives Effectiveness & Outcome Indicators, Target Ranges & Thresholds Management and monitoring implementation Activity Indicators, Target Ranges & Thresholds Management strategies Monitoring and evaluation plan (why, what, how, when, who) Activity Indicators, Target Ranges & Thresholds

19 3.3 Risk management Parks Victoria s Risk Management Framework applies the principles, framework and process in accordance with the international risk management standard ISO The Enterprise Risk Management Procedure documents a coordinated process to review and prioritise all risks impacting Parks Victoria as a whole and provides the evidence-based information and analysis to make informed decisions. The organisation s risk management processes are structured into four components, being: and analysis of risks. consideration of treatment of risks. ongoing evaluation of risk performance management performance including implementation of risk treatment plans. ongoing process for informing decision makers of risks. Assessing the existing and emerging risks for MPA management has been incorporated in a number of planning exercises over the decade, as shown in Table 1. There are also operational risk issues associated with staff competencies and training that need additional focus in a model of cover for marine management and operations. In the broader management context, the Victorian Coastal Strategy (2008) in impacts on the coast, including rising sea levels. is rapid in coastal areas. the health of our unique and valued marine environment. contribution to managing the Victorian coast and is directly impacted by these statewide issues. marine waters of South-Eastern Australia are expected to experience the greatest climate driven changes in the southern hemisphere over the next century. Building resilience in marine ecosystems through addressing current and emerging threats to values is the key approach to addressing this overarching threat. Risk assessment process and timeframe Introduction of exotic marine species affecting biodiversity. Water quality impacts including increased nutrient and sediment loads entering parks. Visitor impacts including disturbance, trampling, collection of biota and artefacts. Lack of ecological knowledge ultimately leading to detrimental effects on park habitats, communities or ecosystems in general. Governance issues (both park management and external agencies) affecting park habitats, communities or ecosystems in general. Pollution and litter from marine sources affecting park biota. Marine National Park and Sanctuary Park Management Plan development (between ) involved a risk assessment process. Regional planning compliance activity. A series of stakeholder workshops across the state drew on the expertise of agency staff, community groups, academics, and knowledgeable park neighbours, to identify hazards of major concern in the parks. (Carey et al 2007) Increased pressure on MPAs through urbanisation, coastal and port development and use of coastal resources. Table 1: Risk assessment >

20 Risk assessment process and timeframe the frequency and intensity of storm events and storm surge. Increasing water temperatures and altered currents and water circulation systems with potential for changed species distribution including emergence of new invasive species. Sea level rise will create an ecological squeeze effect for intertidal organisms where an upper boundary (e.g. a road) limits opportunities for upward migration of species leading to loss of suitable habitat for some species. Strategic Climate Change Risk Assessment in for all MPAs. The risk assessment involved a workshop process drawing on staff expertise from across the organisation. These risk assessments have since been reviewed as part of the conservation outcome planning process in A greater unknown but potentially very high risk is changed acidity (ph decline) impacts on food webs. Increased damage to infrastructure especially in coastal foreshore areas, with facilities and assets such as piers, jetties and boat launches impacted. Potential for major damage or the complete loss of heritage assets including buildings, structures and standing ruins and archaeological sites. 3.4 State of the Parks reporting The State of the Parks (SoP) program is the principal mechanism for evaluating the effectiveness of park management across the parks network. It provides a systematic evaluation of the outcomes of management programs and the extent to which park management objectives are being met. The results of these evaluations can be applied at a range of scales from the whole parks network, to landscape types to individual parks. Evaluation of management effectiveness will assist Parks Victoria in reviewing achievements, highlight current challenges and emerging issues and inform and adapt its management as part of the AMF. The objectives of the SoP program are to: the condition of parks and the current and emerging threatening processes that impact on parks. management as a means to deliver long-term objectives. at a range of scales, from corporate and network to park level. about Victoria s parks and outcomes of Parks Victoria s management of them. SoP provides an important means to ensure that the learning derived from gathered information is actually being applied to improving management. One of the performance measures listed in this Marine Plan, derived from SoP, is information available for making informed decisions for planning environmental or visitor activities. While clearly a subjective measure which will vary between parks, this is an important measure to gauge the application of information to improve management, a key component of the Adaptive Management Framework

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