River flows support healthy ecosystems that provide a wealth of economic, social and cultural goods and services such as fisheries, recreation and tourism attractions, bush tucker, clean water, fertile floodplains and more. Understanding the links between river flows and healthy ecosystems is therefore critical to determining how much water is needed to maintain these goods and services. In places where these links are unknown, water planners need to infer relationships from similar places until enough local field data is collected and analysed.
Our current environmental flow research is examining the ecological responses to changes to flow in WA’s Fitzroy River, NT’s Daly River and rivers in Qld’s southern Gulf of Carpentaria, and builds on previous work in these catchments. To maximise the usefulness of this work, we need to evaluate how transferable research findings are to other locations and scales, and identify the key considerations when applying this knowledge. Understanding the inferential strength of flow–ecology links and their transferability to other locations is key to water planning, and to assess the river flow-related impacts of development proposals and climate change in catchments with limited field data.
This project will support water planning in Western Australia, the Northern Territory and Queensland, and national water policy, by:
This project, also known as the e-flow synthesis project, is being led by Associate Professor Mark Kennard from Griffith University. A/Professor Kennard will be assisted by researchers from Griffith University, Charles Darwin University and The University of Western Australia as well as by scientists, planners and managers from relevant Queensland, Northern Territory and Western Australia government departments.
Mark Kennard, Griffith University