Urban wetland community survey underway

February 1, 2017

Researcher Greg Simpson at the survey site, Lake Claremont

Researcher Greg Simpson at the survey site, Lake Claremont

Murdoch University researchers investigating community perceptions of Lake Claremont are looking for park users to fill out surveys.

Environmental science Masters student Jackie Parker and graduate researcher Greg Simpson will be located on the south eastern side of the lake on the 3rd and 4th February to encourage passers-by to fill out their questionnaires.

Ms Parker and Mr Simpson have been collecting data in the park, situated in the western suburbs of Perth, since the beginning of January and already have more than 300 surveys completed.

“Understanding the experience and expectations of people who use urban wetlands like Lake Claremont facilitates improved planning, resourcing, marketing, patronage, educational pursuits and health outcomes,” said Ms Parker.

“We are hoping to collect 500 completed surveys overall. So far the responses are indicating that people enjoy spending time at Lake Claremont for a range of different activities and have provided some valuable feedback on certain issues at the site.”

The surveying follows on from recently published Murdoch research that demonstrates the contribution of recent restoration programs at Lake Claremont to nature conservation and urban liveability in the area.

“Over the last 10 years, the wetland has changed significantly with a section of the golf course shut down and restored with around 300,000 native plant species like Banksia,” said Mr Simpson, who co-authored an open-access paper about Lake Claremont recently published in the ECO: Geography and Environment journal of the Royal Geographical Society.

“Quarterly surveys by skilled bird watchers from Friends of Lake Claremont have shown the number of bird species has almost doubled thanks to these restoration efforts. Species that were locally extinct have established themselves in the wetland.”

Associate Professor David Newsome, also a co-author on the paper, added that wetlands like Lake Claremont made a very important contribution to city liveability.

“There is an increasing body of evidence that nature, especially in the form of urban nature space, contributes to improvements in physical and mental health,” he said.

“Located just 10km from the centre of Perth, Lake Claremont offers residents and tourists the chance to connect with the natural environment.”

Ms Parker and Mr Simpson hope the results of their survey will contribute to the understanding of how nature spaces affect the perception of liveability in cities, as well as help to enhance the public experience of Lake Claremont.

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