Murray–Darling Basin Environmental Water Knowledge and Research (MDB EWKR)

The Murray–Darling Environmental Water Knowledge and Research (MDB EWKR) project began in June 2014 and concluded in June 2019. The project was funded by the Department of Environment and Energy, Commonwealth Environmental Water Office. The Centre for Freshwater Ecosystems, at La Trobe University provided project management as well as research activities.

MDB EWKR was a collaborative project involving:

Research activities focussed on four themes identified by water managers as having high priority knowledge gaps – fish, waterbirds, vegetation and food webs. Knowledge gained from MDB EWKR research will enable water managers to better understand processes in the MDB and how to deliver environmental flows for maximum benefit.

Key Findings

  • Floodplain inundation is crucial to provide the highest quality resources for riverine food webs
  • Processes within the Basin operate at a myriad of scales so managing a river for recruitment or dispersal, for example requires information at each scale (i.e. site, catchment, basin)
  • Connectivity of rivers, habitats and catchments is needed to ensure the movement of organisms and resources across the Basin
  • Improvements in habitat quality can be influenced by flow management and resource management e.g. by providing flows that promote fish movement or improve the structural complexity within rivers
  • There is no one correct way to manage the Basin. The ‘boom and bust’ variability of unregulated Australian rivers needs to be mimicked to provide the maximum opportunity for all life history strategies
  • Projects such as EWKR have value beyond the performance of research projects as they provide a unique opportunity for the formation of collaborations, networks and research directions between groups of scientists, and between scientists and water managers

Project Outputs

Project outputs are available at La Trobe University, Centre for Freshwater Ecosystems Figshare site.

Interest stories are at EWKR Story Space