Long Term Intervention Monitoring
The role of the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder (CEWH) is to manage Commonwealth environmental water. The Water Holder, supported by the Commonwealth Environmental Water Office (CEWO), manages the:
- Commonwealth’s environmental water portfolio
- research projects that inform approaches to aquatic ecosystems and environmental watering policy
- major projects to improve water quality and the ecological health of iconic wetland assets in the Murray-Darling Basin.
Long Term Intervention Monitoring (LTIM) is a key element of the Commonwealth Environmental Water Office (CEWO) response to the requirements of the Water Act 2007 and the Murray-Darling Basin Authority’s (MDBA) Basin Plan. The Long Term Intervention Monitoring aims to support good governance and reporting and critically, improved decision making around the use of environmental water through the application of the principles of adaptive management.
Monitoring and evaluation are critical steps in the management of Commonwealth environmental water and support its efficient and effective use within the existing planning framework. Monitoring is used to quantify the environmental outcomes of the allocation of Commonwealth Environmental water. Evaluation is the process of comparing these outcomes to the objectives set out in the legislation and determining whether the allocation was an effective and efficient use of environmental flows. By measuring environmental responses to watering activities in selected areas of the Basin, this project is an integral part of the Monitoring, Evaluation, Reporting and Improvement (MERI) Framework for Commonwealth environmental watering in the Murray–Darling Basin.
The Murray–Darling Freshwater Research Centre (MDFRC) was appointed in 2014 to act as the Commonwealth Environmental Water Office Monitoring and Evaluation adviser. In 2012, the Murray–Darling Freshwater Research Centre worked with the Commonwealth Environmental Water Office to develop the Logic and Rationale for monitoring activities which underpins Long Term Intervention Monitoring. Further development and refinement of the environmental Outcomes Framework occurred during 2013 and 2014. This included standardising monitoring methods, data collection and planning for the seven selected areas in the Basin which will be the focus of the Long Term Intervention Monitoring program.
The Murray–Darling Freshwater Research Centre has developed the Basin Evaluation Plan for evaluating the Basin Scale outcomes from the use of Commonwealth Environmental Water as part of its contribution to achieving the Basin Plan objectives.
The objectives of the project are to:
- monitor and evaluate the ecological response to Commonwealth environmental water at Selected Areas
- evaluate the contribution of Commonwealth environmental water to the objectives of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan
- infer ecological outcomes of Commonwealth environmental water in areas of the Murray-Darling Basin not monitored
- support the adaptive management of Commonwealth environmental water.
Long Term Intervention Monitoring
Monitoring is undertaken to understand the impact of Commonwealth environmental water at both an area (Selected Area) and Basin scale. This evaluation is one step in the adaptive management of Commonwealth environmental water.
The office has engaged monitoring teams (Monitoring and Evaluation Providers), led by research institutions, to develop and implement 5-year monitoring and evaluation for Selected Areas within the Basin.
La Trobe University is acting as Monitoring and Evaluation Advisers for the project and will conduct an annual Basin evaluation of outcomes at the Basin scale.
The focus of the monitoring is to identify ecological outcomes from the use of Commonwealth environmental water to support reporting and adaptive management.
Selected areas for monitoring
Monitoring and evaluation of Commonwealth environmental water delivery is being undertaken at the following seven Selected Areas within the Murray–Darling Basin:
- Gwydir River system
- Lachlan River system
- Murrumbidgee River system
- Edward–Wakool River system
- Goulburn River
- Lower Murray River
- Junction of the Warrego and Darling Rivers.
These seven monitoring sites were selected to provide maximum possible coverage of areas where Commonwealth environmental watering will occur and to complement, rather than duplicate, monitoring activities already being undertaken by others including Basin states and the Murray–Darling Basin Authority. The data collection at the Selected Areas commenced in 2014-15 and will continue until 2020.
The Long Term Intervention Monitoring is now entering the phase where the actual data collection (2014-17) at selected areas across the Basin is being evaluated at the basin scale. This next phase will also be using the monitoring data to create and verify models which can be used to predict ecological responses and measure the impact of Commonwealth environmental water across the Basin.
Under this project, La Trobe University is required to provide reports on the outcomes of Commonwealth environmental watering at a basin scale on an annual basis as well as cumulatively, over a five year period. Importantly, these reports will capture the lessons learnt from the watering actions undertaken to ensure a cycle of continual improvement in the management of Commonwealth Environmental Water. This work will involve collaboration between Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, Universities, State agencies and other Commonwealth departments, including the Murray Darling Basin Authority.
- Long-term intervention monitoring project logic and rationale document [external link]
- LTIM Basin evaluation plan [external link]
- LTIM standard methods [external link]
- CEWO Environmental Watering Outcomes Framework [external link]
Project teams and stakeholders
The Commonwealth Environmental Water Office has engaged monitoring teams (Monitoring and Evaluation Providers), led by research institutions, to develop and implement 5-year monitoring and evaluation for Selected Areas within the Basin.
La Trobe University is acting as Monitoring and Evaluation Advisers for the project and will conduct an annual Basin evaluation of outcomes at the Basin-scale.
|Project role||Area||Lead agency (contracted by CEWO)||Lead||Consortium partners (sub-contracted by lead agency)|
|Monitoring and Evaluation Adviser||Murray-Darling Basin||The Murray-Darling Freshwater Research Centre||Nick Bond (Project Lead) |
|Monitoring and Evaluation Provider||Junction of Warrego and Darling Rivers||Eco Logical Australia||Paul Frazier and Darren Ryder|
|Monitoring and Evaluation Provider||Gwydir River system||Eco Logical Australia||Paul Frazier and Darren Ryder|
|Monitoring and Evaluation Provider||Lachlan River system||University of Canberra||Fiona Dyer|
|Monitoring and Evaluation Provider||Murrumbidgee River system||Charles Sturt University||Skye Wassens|
|Monitoring and Evaluation Provider||Edward-Wakool river system||Charles Sturt University||Robyn Watts|
|Monitoring and Evaluation Provider||Goulburn River system||University of Melbourne||Angus Webb|
|Monitoring and Evaluation Provider||Lower Murray River||South Australian Research and Development Institute||Qifeng Ye|