Flatback Futures

Mapping and monitoring outcomes and developing adaptation pathways for the North West Shelf Flatback Turtle Conservation Program, Western Australia

The North West Shelf Flatback Turtle Conservation Program (NWSFTCP) is coordinated by the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA) in Western Australia. It has a 30-year charter to increase the conservation and protection of the North West Shelf flatback turtle population including:
(a) surveying, monitoring and research;
(b) reducing interference to key breeding and feeding locations; and
(c) establishing information and education programs.

Key to the success of the program will be its ability to map, measure and meet desired program outcomes across social and biological dimensions, and integrate and plan research and activities for turtles and the community-at-large.  Our four year project (2018-2021) comprises two related work packages.
The first will utilize Outcome Mapping (OM) techniques in relation to the NWSFTCP Communications strategy to develop outcomes and priorities with the various stakeholders, as well as a strategy to measure and monitor these outcomes.
The second work package will develop a decision-support pathway to integrate biological and social data collected in the program, implement responses to particular outcomes, and explore the range of adaptation responses. Projections over the 30-year program period will elucidate how choices from a portfolio of decisions will influence the likelihood of meeting desired outcomes.

Project team: Alistair Hobday, Chris Cvitanovic, Ingrid van Putten, Mike Dunlop, Shane Richards,
Linda Thomas and Sierra Ison

Project updates
NWSFTCP Update 1 – Mapping adaptation pathways
NWSFTCP Update 2 – Developing adaptation actions and pathways
NWSFTCP Update 3 – Identifying key actors and roles with network approaches
NWSFTCP Update 4 – Description of meta-population model

Project work
Current work being undertaken 

Project papers
Ison S, Pecl GT, Hobday AJ, Cvitanovic C and van Putten I (2021). Stakeholder Influence and Relationships Inform Engagement Strategies in Marine Conservation. Ecosystems and People 17(1): 320-341, doi: 310.1080/26395916.26392021.21938236

van Putten, E. I., S. Ison, C. Cvitanovic, A. J. Hobday and L. Thomas (2021). Towards a deeper understanding of the relationship between trust, communication and influence in collaborative marine conservation programs: Lessons from Flatback turtle conservation in Western Australia. Regional Studies in Marine Science: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rsma.2021.102080.

PhD student updates
PhD Update April 2021
PhD Update May 2021

Online presentations for the 5th Australian Marine Turtle Symposium
Flatback Futures – Models to support choice of optimal adaptation actions
Flatback Futures – Prioritising adaptation actions in response to threats
Flatback Futures – Identifying and influencing stakeholders with influence
Flatback Futures – Adaptation pathways for long-term management of Flatback turtles

Related projects
Raine Island Recovery Project

Related news
Col Limpus awarded Officer (AO) in the General Division in Queen’s Birthday 2020 Honours List
SBS news – green turtle gathering on Great Barrier Reef (June 2020) – (link)
ABC news – green sea turtle released after horrific injuries (June 2020) – (link)
COVID19 restrictions aiding turtle nesting success in Florida (April 2020) – (link)
ABC news – loggerhead turtle journey from South Africa to Australia (March 2020) – (link)