About the document
This report is the product of the first year of monitoring and evaluation in the Gwydir River System under the Commonwealth Environmental Water Office’s Long Term Intervention Monitoring (LTIM) Project. The report evaluates the contribution of Commonwealth environmental water to environmental outcomes in 2014-15, complementing previous short term monitoring and evaluation work undertaken in 2013-14.
The Gwydir LTIM Project identified a number of key environmental outcomes achieved through the use of environmental water in 2014-15, including:
- Environmental water contributed to longitudinal connectivity in the channels of the Lower Gwydir, especially during the early and mid-stages of the water year.
- Commonwealth environmental water contributed to flow regimes that allowed native fish to recruit and survive in the Gwydir River System.
- In the Gingham and Gwydir Wetlands environmental water deliveries inundated 6,342 ha of wetland, promoting the growth of native wetland vegetation, increasing waterbird presence, and facilitating critical nutrient cycling and metabolic processes to stimulate wetland foodwebs.
The report is presented in three parts: an executive summary; a non-technical synthesis report; and technical appendices which provide detailed methods, analyses and results for each indicator.
This report is the first of five to be produced for the Gwydir River System under the LTIM Project, with monitoring and evaluation being undertaken from 2014-15 to 2018-19. The data and evaluation report from this project are being combined with those from six other LTIM Project Selected Areas within the Basin, as part of a Basin-scale evaluation of the contribution of Commonwealth environmental water to the environmental objectives of the Basin Plan being led by the Murray-Darling Freshwater Research Centre.
In addition to assisting the Office to demonstrate environmental outcomes, the LTIM Project is designed to allow adaptive management of the water holdings. As such, identified outcomes and limitations are used to inform environmental watering in future years leveraging the best available, contemporary scientific knowledge.
Redressing environmental decline that has occurred over decades is going to take us some time – it will be at least ten years before we can show lasting change and improvements to the health of the rivers, floodplains and wetlands, consistent with the long-term targets of the Murray-Darling Basin Authority’s Basin-wide environmental watering strategy.