Program and Project Evaluations (45 projects)

NQ Dry Tropics Reef Rescue

This project evaluated the impact of providing incentives on attitudes and practice changes on farms.  The aim was to see how incentives facilitated changes that would result in improved water quality in the waterways and how it triggered broader changes in farm management.  The study highlighted the role of incentives in bringing forward changes and/or stimulating actions that may not have occurred otherwise.  The need for education/extension programs to build understanding and capacity along with funds to implement some specific on-ground work emerged from the work.

Sheep Connect – New South Wales and Tasmania

Coutts J&R completed evaluations of Sheep Connect in NSW and Tasmania.  Sheep Connect Tasmania has been based on running workshops and activities across the state on topics of interest supported by newsletters and a website.  Sheep Connect NSW has dealt with the distance and resource issues by moving more into a knowledge brokering role where they connect producers with information and activities from a range of providers – and doing some training themselves.  A key element was the need in both cases for the program to work closely with the private sector to maximise use of resources and benefits for producers and the industry.

Review of Clearing Impacts in Biodiversity

Coutts J&R undertook a review for Condamine Alliance of legislation and guidelines supported by interviews with informed persons and landholders looking at the (potential) impact of clearing trends on biodiversity in a sub-catchment of the Condamine River.

Evaluation of TRaCK

COutts J&R were involved in evaluating the TRaCK program www.track.gov.au.  TRaCK (Tropical Rivers and Coastal Knowledge) is described on its website as a research hub under the Commonwealth Environmental Research Facilities scheme, managed by the Department of Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts, drawing together more than 70 of Australia’s leading social, cultural, environmental and economic researchers. The program’s research focuses on the tropical north of Australia from Cape York to Broome.

Our evaluation completed in April 2010, included secondary data analysis, a survey of researchers and informed persons and workshops with program management.

Evaluation of the Drought Support Worker program in NSW

Coutts J&R with colleague John McKenzie recently completed an evaluation of the Drought Support Worker program within Industry & Investment in NSW.

The program involved having staff help coordinate support and provide specific assistance to those rural families affected by drought.  The evaluation highlighted at the positions provided a broader role than just dealing with drought – also coming to the fore at times of fires, floods and other disasters.  Their role were seen as very valuable and providing a critical niche not filled by others.  It was pleasing to see the that program has been continued for at least another 12 months.

Mid-term Review of SheepConnect

Coutts J&R undertook a mid-term review of a very interesting program in Tasmania – Sheep Connect.  It was mainly a desktop review, but did include some input from informed persons.  Sheep Connect follows on from a very successful 8×5 Project which Coutts J&R has also had the opportunity to evaluate in the past.  An interesting feature of the program has been the way it is clear about its different market segments which assisted both the targeting of activities and in undertaking evaluation.

Evaluation of Defeating the Weed Menace R&D program

The ‘Evaluation of Defeating the Weed Menace R&D program’ was completed by Coutts J&R. It focused on researcher, staff and informed person feedback and the program management and used surveys, interviews and secondary data analysis. The evaluation found a high level of management excellence by the program manager, her team and Steering Committee, good performance by the researchers despite a shortened time frame and early indications of direct impacts on policy and R&D funding.

Evaluation of DairyLive

Jeff Coutts and Amy Samson were involved in the evaluation of an ambitious event run by Dairy Australia with support from the Federal Government called DairyLive. This event used video streaming to connect 8 venues across the country as well as using a website for those who could not attend. The evaluation included the use of participant observers at the venue and on-line, feedback sheets – including a web-survey for the on-line users, and records and statistics.

‘Drought lots for drought assistance’ review project – Lachlan Catchment Management Authority / NSW DPI

The evaluation of this project looked at the success and effectiveness of distributing incentives through workshops in the LCMA. Interesting results emerged and were included in the final report.

Northern Tasmanian Natural Resource Management Association: Evaluation of Best Practice Salinity Management

Coutts J&R is undertook an evaluation of the Best Practice Salinity Management Program in Tasmania (NRM North) to assess its effectiveness in achieving its stated aims – particularly in terms of capacity building and practice change.

The Best Practice Salinity Management Project was funded by the National Action Plan for Salinity and Water Quality. Beginning 2006 and finishing at the end of June 2009 the project has a budget of $2million. The Project includes activities in the Southern NRM region of Tasmania, and a variety of sub-projects and consultants. Activities have included on-farm salinity demonstrations, trials, development of farm salinity plans, glove box guides and fact sheets, trials of plant-based salinity solutions, incentives and field days.

The evaluation process included surveys, workshops and secondary analysis.