The Wilson Inlet foreshore vegetation survey is one of numerous parameters being monitored to analyse the effect, if any, that the timing of bar openings is having on the surrounding environment and local community.
Nullaki Gate transect site looking along the Wilson Inlet foreshore
The Wilson Inlet is by nature a fluctuating system, with the foreshore vegetation in a zone of transition in which death and recruitment of certain flora species is an annual occurrence. The question is whether or not the timing of the bar opening is creating water levels and periods of inundation of such extremes that the fringing vegetation is being stressed past their tolerance levels. The period of inundation for foreshore vegetation of the Wilson Inlet has been relatively consistent in the past, until recent history, with the bar opened artificially every year until 2007. The bar was not opened in 2007 and 2010 which has increased the length of time and height of water inundation in those given years. The effects, if any, on the fringing native vegetation in the past have not been regularly monitored.
The aim of this survey was to monitor water level, flora species; diversity, abundance (or percentage cover), structure and bushland condition of vegetation along the Wilson Inlet foreshore to be used as a measure of one of the key parameters for determining the effects if any, of the bar opening timing and placement on the Wilson Inlet environment. This survey intends to provide the first year of baseline data to allow future monitoring comparisons.