Services and capabilities

MDFRC generates knowledge to aid in the protection and improvement of the health of rivers, floodplains, wetlands and water storages in the Murray Darling Basin.

We deliver:

  1. ecological advice and solutions that optimise the outcomes from management interventions
  2. support in the design, assessment and review of approaches to aquatic ecosystem management
  3. credible science to Murray-Darling Basin communities
  4. research projects on diverse aspects of freshwater ecology, including; environmental flows in rivers and wetlands; the effects of salinity; wetland acidification, rehabilitation, microbial, fish, vegetation and invertebrate ecology
  5. specialised environmental and water quality testing capabilities
  6. a strong teaching role and capacity, ranging from support for PhD and Honours degrees through to an extensive program of school events and tertiary education programs.

Ecological advice and solutions

Central to the role of the MDFRC is that it provides long-term research and has already developed monitoring systems and science over a considerable timeframe. Our knowledge is generated through both long-term and short-term research projects and active involvement in the adaptive management of the freshwater, environmental assets of the Basin.

Design, assess and evaluate

To achieve sustainable management we require sound knowledge of ecosystem function, so that the critical habitats, connections and metabolic functions can be protected. We also need to develop our understanding of how ecosystems respond to change.

Our challenge is to quantify the links between flow, physical habitat and ecological function, and to develop methods for assessing the effectiveness of environmental flow and water allocation strategies. We address this challenge by undertaking a range of research projects which assess environmental flows in rivers and wetlands; the effects of salinity; wetland acidification, rehabilitation, microbial, fish and invertebrate ecology.

The synthesis and communication of the knowledge generated by these projects is fundamental to the development of monitoring programs which enable robust assessment of ecosystem management strategies. Through considered evaluation and adaptation of management programs, we will be better placed to protect and enhance of the natural assets of the Murray-Darling Basin while supporting sustainable use of the Basin.

Short and long term research projects

The recent research portfolio of the MDFRC, working wholly within the Murray-Darling Basin, can be summarised as:

  • Those projects relevant to the needs of the Murray-Darling Basin Authority (monitoring of The Living Murray icon sites for example)
  • Projects supporting management decision-making of Commonwealth and State agencies (i.e. design of long term monitoring program for the Basin)
  • Projects delivering research or monitoring results to Catchment Management Authorities and other natural resource managment agencies.

Laboratory analysis

The MDFRC Laboratory at Wodonga  provides specialised environmental and water quality testing capabilities and tailors environmental and water monitoring programs to meet the needs of key partners and corporate organisations within the Basin.

The chemistry laboratory is NATA accredited.

These services are conditionally available to the general public upon discussions with MDFRC staff.

For further information and to receive an Analysis Request form contact:

Environmental Chemist: John Pengelly

or MDFRC on (02) 6024 9650


This facility complies with the requirements of ISO/IEC 17025:2005

The laboratory conducts water, sediment, effluent and biota analysis by classical, FIA, AAS (flame) and UV-Vis Spectrophotometric techniques for the following determinations:

  • Chemical Oxygen Demand
  • Chloride
  • pH
  • Solids: Total Dissolved, Total Suspended
  • Specific conductance
  • Turbidity
  • Cations: Calcium; Magnesium; Potassium; Sodium
  • Nutrients: Nitrogen - ammonia, total, nitrate, nitrite
  • Phosphorus - total, filterable reactive.