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The imperative need for nationally coordinated bioassessment of rivers and streams


Nichols, SJ and Barmuta, LA and Chessman, BC and Davies, PE and Dyer, FJ and Harrison, ET and Hawkins, CP and Jones, I and Kefford, BJ and Linke, S and Marchant, R and Metzeling, L and Moon, K and Ogden, R and Peat, M and Reynoldson, TB and Thompson, RM, The imperative need for nationally coordinated bioassessment of rivers and streams, Marine and Freshwater Research, 68, (4) pp. 599-613. ISSN 1323-1650 (2016) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2017 CSIRO

DOI: doi:10.1071/MF15329


Declining water quality and ecological condition is a typical trend for rivers and streams worldwide as human demands for water resources increase. Managing these natural resources sustainably is a key responsibility of governments. Effective water management policies require information derived from long-term monitoring and evaluation. Biological monitoring and assessment are critical for management because bioassessment integrates the biological, physical and chemical features of a waterbody. Investment in nationally coordinated riverine bioassessment in Australia has almost ceased and the foci of management questions are on more localised assessments. However, rivers often span political and administrative boundaries, and their condition may be best protected and managed under national policies, supported by a coordinated national bioassessment framework. We argue that a nationally coordinated program for the bioassessment of riverine health is an essential element of sustainable management of a nation’s water resources. We outline new techniques and research needed to streamline current arrangements to meet present-day and emerging challenges for coordinating and integrating local, regional and national bioassessment activities. This paper draws on international experience in riverine bioassessment to identify attributes of successful broad-scale bioassessment programs and strategies needed to modernise freshwater bioassessment in Australia and re-establish national broad-scale focus.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:biological assessment, broad-scale, freshwater monitoring, water quality
Research Division:Environmental Sciences
Research Group:Pollution and contamination
Research Field:Pollution and contamination not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Marine systems and management
Objective Field:Assessment and management of benthic marine ecosystems
UTAS Author:Barmuta, LA (Associate Professor Leon Barmuta)
UTAS Author:Davies, PE (Professor Peter Davies)
ID Code:110233
Year Published:2016
Web of Science® Times Cited:15
Deposited By:Centre for Environment
Deposited On:2016-07-21
Last Modified:2017-12-06

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