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The challenge

The Pilbara Environmental Offsets Fund (PEOF) aims to invest in strategic conservation projects in the Pilbara bioregion to offset vegetation and species habitat impacted by development. The Fund is resourced through environmental offsets and is expected to deliver over $90 million of projects over 40 years (PEOF 2019).

Snappy gum over hummock grassland, Karijini National Park

A crucial element of this significant, long-term environmental investment is to evaluate and enhance the effectiveness of ecological management interventions paid for by the fund. As such, the Evaluation Framework for PEOF includes evaluation of whether ‘environmental matters can and are being improved to the extent required’ (PEOF 2019).

Two streams are proposed to contribute to this ecological evaluation:

  1. A Program Stream, asking 'To what extent has condition improved?'
  2. A Strategy Stream, asking 'Are the strategies we are investing in cost-effective?'

Our response

The document Developing the Strategy Stream to evaluate ecological outcomes of the Pilbara Environmental Offsets Fund has been developed by CSIRO and serves as a Background Paper to guide establishment of the Strategy Stream. It will inform a workshop that will seek feedback on this proposal and progress it through identification of key questions about ecological management effectiveness to be addressed by the Stream. The Background paper involves two parts:

  1. A proposal for a collaborative evaluation framework as a model for developing the Strategy Stream
  2. A rapid assessment of current knowledge regarding effectiveness of common ecological management actions applied in the Pilbara, to underpin identification of key NRM questions to be addressed by the Strategy Stream monitoring and evaluation program.

The results

The document concludes embedding coordinated networks of comparative monitoring into PEOF provides an important opportunity to address these knowledge gaps and recommendations both in the Pilbara and nationally.

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