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River Murray Catchment Program and e-water management

Murray Flood Ecology

A better understanding of the ecological responses of the River Murray and its floodplains to flooding will provide new knowledge for the development of annual and long term watering plans under the Murray Darling Basin Plan. To achieve the greatest ecological benefits from available environmental water in the River Murray, it is vitally important to know how the biological systems respond to various flow scenarios (e.g. timing, volumes, duration, frequency, flow rates etc).
Flood flows returned to the Murray-Darling River in 2010 after the Millennium Drought enabling Goyder Institute scientists to undertake an analysis of how the river channel, floodplain vegetation and fish populations respond and recover when water is restored to the system after such a long period of drought.
Immediately following the floods in 2010, the Goyder Institute undertook a field study to investigate the change in abundance and species diversity of native fish populations in the lower River Murray during these changing hydrological conditions. The results have been published in a technical report entitled From drought to flood: annual variation larval fish assemblages in a heavily regulated lowland river
The larger investigation is nearing completion – a number of reports are available detailing the scientific findings from a number of the components of the research including fish, vegetation, metabolic activity.

Research requirements for e-water management in the South Australian Murray Darling Basin

This project is focussed on the entire SA MDB including the riverine, floodplain, wetland habitats and the Coorong and Lower Lakes. The primary aim of the project is to identify research that is required to support decisions regarding the provision of environmental water.
This aim will be achieved by:
• Assessing the decision support requirements of environmental water management in the SA MDB
• Identifying key ecological knowledge gaps by developing conceptual hydroecological response models
• Developing an indigenous engagement framework
The information will be brought together in an adaptive management framework that can:
• Inform decisions regarding environmental water provision at the landscape scale in the absence of more sophisticated tools
• Guide priorities for future research and monitoring projects;
• Provide a foundation for the development of more sophisticated decision support systems
A scoping report was developed synthesising the existing knowledge and recommending areas to focus further research.

Photo: SARDI