New Zealand Wetlands Monitoring and Assessment Kit (WETMAK)
Description and method logic
WETMAK is an online resource aimed at community groups working on wetland restoration projects in New Zealand. It provides advice on useful assessment and monitoring techniques and methods of assessing the impact of restoration work (Denyer and Peters 2014).
WETMAK is made up of the following seven independent modules, which allow the user to choose the module or modules most relevant to their site, restoration program, skills and budget.
1. Creating a management map
3. Wetland 'Warrant of Fitness' (WOF) check
4. Mapping wetland vegetation
5. Weed survey
6. Vegetation plots
7. Animal pest monitoring (Denyer and Peters 2014).
Most modules have a set of indicators or measures, including Māori indicators, which are types of information that are easy to collect and inform the assessment (Denyer and Peters 2014).
WETMAK is informed by the 'Handbook for Monitoring Wetland Condition' (Clarkson et al. 2004). It is a less technical approach for community (e.g. laboratory analyses not required), and hence less expensive.
A wetland monitoring 'mini plan' template is used to clarify which modules are relevant to the restoration objectives and to plan and document monitoring activities for a given site. A wetland monitoring report template is used to systematically record and interpret results.
Each module includes information on relative cost/skill levels, equipment needs, suitable indicators, step by step data collection instructions, and guidance on data analysis and reporting to assess and monitor the wetland (Denyer and Peters 2014).
Module 1, Creating a management map, is designed to show the features of interest to volunteers/staff working in the field, such as monitoring plots and hazards, and to assist with planning and restoration activities.
Module 2, Photopoints, is a simple visual record of change at the site, which is designed to show how much has been achieved over time. It is useful for demonstrating progress to volunteers and funders.
Module 3, Wetland 'Warrant of Fitness' (WOF) check, is a general ‘health’ check based on a range of indicators used to assess a) pressures in the catchment and b) condition within, and around the perimeter of the wetland. The assessment is undertaken by viewing the site from an overlook (or air /drone photo) walking around the wetland edge, and (if safe) traversing the wetland (e.g. from a boardwalk). Monitoring is undertaken by repeating the assessment at the same time of year, every five years
Module 4, Mapping wetland vegetation, is a big-picture birds-eye view of the site, which is designed to capture incremental change in vegetation cover over time, and to assist with planning monitoring and restoration activities (including showing distribution of undesirable canopy species).
Module 5, Weed survey, is designed to detect weeds before they take hold, and/or to measure success of weed control works over time. Data from this module informs the weed indicator scores in the WOF (module 3).
Module 6, Vegetation plots, is a detailed study of the plant cover, height and species diversity including the proportion of native and exotic plants. Data from this module informs the vegetation indicator scores in the WOF (module 3).
Module 7, Animal pest monitoring, uses detection devices to record the presence of pest animals (e.g. footprints or teeth marks) to assess the need for, and success of, pest control operations. Data from this module informs the pest indicator scores in the WOF (module 3).
Criteria groupings of the method
The WOF (module 3) includes the following pressure indicators for the catchment with a score from 0 (no change/threat) to 5 (major change/threat):
The WOF (module 3) includes five indicators for condition of the wetland perimeter (to identify threats such as drainage, cattle trespass that can be assessed safely, without entering the wetland):
The WOF (module 3) includes the following condition indicators for the site/wetland with a score from 0 (very large change from the likely original state) to 5 (no change from the likely original state):
The Mapping wetland vegetation module indicators utilise a standardised classification system developed Atkinson (1984) comprising measures of abundance (dominant species by cover), relative height, percent cover class and vegetation structure (trees, shrubs, sedges, grasses, tussocks, ferns, forest, herbs, moss). The Weed survey module indicators include weed species, density of weed species, maximum height, presence of seedlings/new infestations. The Vegetation plot module indicators include native and exotic plant species composition, plant height and plant percent cover. The Animal pest monitoring module indicators include footprints, teeth marks and carcasses of small mammals (Denyer and Peters 2014).
Desktop data to inform the survey includes:
Field data includes a range of project- and module-based indicators and measurables.
Each module has its own level and type of skill needed. The kit is designed to allow groups to select modules suited to their resources, and to add new modules over time. Combined over the 6 modules, skills needed are:
WETMAK methodology and data sheets, which are available online, and basic field equipment such as a GPS and digital camera. Training days, instructional videos and background material for the technical modules are also available.
Outputs are project-dependent. Each of the indicators is measurable, and guidelines are provided for data analysis and reporting in each module (e.g. raw data, tables, graphs, description of pressures and condition).
Criteria by category
Physical and chemical
Designed for community groups working on wetland restoration projects.
Last updated: 1 September 2020
This page should be cited as:
Department of Environment and Science, Queensland (2020) New Zealand Wetlands Monitoring and Assessment Kit (WETMAK), WetlandInfo website, accessed 13 May 2021. Available at: https://wetlandinfo.des.qld.gov.au/wetlands/resources/tools/assessment-search-tool/new-zealand-wetlands-monitoring-and-assessment-kit-wetmak/