Ongoing, site-specific photo monitoring allows for visually monitoring change in riparian locations over time. Photos can be used as a prompt for other techniques – e.g. a site visit or phone call to follow up an evident problem.

Photo monitoring is also likely to be part of an ongoing process of auditing ongoing landholder management of the site and the site's response to other factors (e.g. flood and drought). Photos can also provide a starting point for discussion.

Photo monitoring

Photo monitoring provides visual evidence of changes in riparian zones and effectively engages people that respond to visual methods (Photo: North Central CMA).


Pros and cons of employing this engagement tool include:

Pros Cons
  • Provides visual evidence of issues or progress.
  • Engages people that prefer visual methods.
  • Can see change over time/ benefits of riparian works.
  • Can monitor long-term management of the riparian site.
  • Can be resource intensive to capture photos.
  • Can be costly to establish Fluker post monitoring points and accompanying online data management systems.
  • Requires maintenance to ensure photo points remain accessible and in good condition.


When to use

It may be appropriate to undertake photo monitoring with landholders in the following circumstances:

  • as part of a regular inspection / audit cycle schedule to assess the response of the riparian site to the management interventions and/or ensure long-term management of the riparian site by the landholder
  • to assess the riparian site following a flood or fire
  • in response to a management intervention (e.g. weed control)
  • in response to a landholder request to monitor the riparian site.

Time considerations

Timing considerations include:

  • Seasonal conditions may influence the ability to install photo points (i.e. monitoring posts) and/or access the site when taking photos.

Time intensity

A number of factors will influence the time intensity of photo monitoring. These will include the distribution of monitoring points, the maintenance of monitoring points, and the collation, analysis and storage of photos.


Reach of engagement

Photo monitoring can be used to target specific riparian management landholders or specific types of riparian sites with particular management interventions.

Who to target

Priority landholders or sites to target for online videos might be:

  • landholders impacted by a flood or fire
  • andholders seeking evidence of the changes arising from their riparian works
  • landholders with a particular type of riparian site that the CMA wants to learn more about e.g. involving a particular type of management intervention or a particular vegetation community.

Roles and responsibilities

When establishing a photo monitoring project it is important to confirm who is responsible for each of the following roles during the project:

  • installation of monitoring points, which is typically undertaken by the CMA or the landholder
  • maintenance of monitoring points (i.e. ensuring access is suitable and the post remains in good condition), which is typically undertaken by the CMA or the landholder under a maintenance agreement with the CMA
  • photography and labelling, which is typically undertaken by the CMA or the landholder
  • collation and storage of photos, which is typically undertaken by the CMA
  • analysis of photos, which is almost always undertaken by the CMA.


In addition to the general elements to consider when undertaking evaluation and feedback, some practical considerations related to using this technique include:

  • Photo monitoring projects are technically easy to implement. The greatest hurdles are likely to be associated with either securing resources to take the photos and contribute them to the CMA's central register and/or ensuring the landholder takes regular photos of appropriate quality and clarity and provides them to the CMA.
  • Photo monitoring is greatly aided by the installation of a monitoring point. This may consist of a photo post to sit the camera on (as used in the Fluker Post Project), or alternatively a simple marker to identify where to take each photo from and in what direction (e.g. a star picket).
  • All efforts should be made to try and take photos at similar times of the day to reduce variability in lighting which may compromise the ability to compare repeat photos over time.


Photo monitoring resources are included in the resources for evaluation and feedback techniques.

Page last updated: 19/02/19