In early December the Institute hosted a delegation of eight Russian comprising 8 MP's, project managers and departmental officials from the Lower Volga Region in Russia. As part of a nine day tour studying Australian wetlands and water management systems, the group visited the Albury-Wodonga campus at Thurgoona and had a guided tour of the wetlands by adjunct professor David Mitchell. They also heard presentations by the Institute's Dr Paul Humphries and Dr Jonathon Howard (following on from a presentation by Prof Max Finlayson earlier in the tour), and Adrian Wells, from the Murray Darling Association and NSW Murray Wetlands Working group.
In a "two-way" exchange of information ILWS members heard a presentation by the Russian translator and project consultant Harald Leumanns on a five year project "Conservation of wetland biodiversity in the Lower Volga Region" which has been funded by the United Nations Development Program and Global Environment Facility . As a result of the project the total surface of protected nature areas will increase almost three times.
Pictured left: Victor Ivanovich, Harald Leummens with Prof Sue Thomas, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research).
The group also visited Wonga Wetlands, Yanga National Park, Werribee Wetlands, Sydney Olympic Park, Barmah State Forest, Lake Mokoan and had meetings with representatives from the Department of Environment, Water, Heritage and Arts, the National Water Commission, Murray Darling Basin Authority and CSIRO –Water for a Healthy Country Flagship.
Pictured left: The Russian visitors tour the wetlands at CSU's campus at Thurgoona.
National Forum 17-18 November, 2009, Albury The Institute for Land, Water and Society, in partnership with Landscape Logic CERF, Future Farm Industries CRC, CSIRO and NCCARF held a two day Forum to discuss and debate the current and future social and institutional issues which challenge researchers, resource managers, policy makers, and members of rural communities. Read more
"Environmental and Resource Economics Early Career Researchers Workshop
3-4 November, 2009, Bathurst Link to brochure and program
The Institute was a co-host, together with the Fivebough and Tuckerbil Wetlands Trust, Murrumbidgee Catchment Management Authority and the Waterbirds Society of the "Wetlands and Waterbirds: Managing for Resilience" conference held at Leeton, NSW, from November 9 to 12.
Co-convened by the Institute's Dr Iain Taylor, the conference attracted key scientists (both national and international) working in this field including Dr S Balachandran, assistant director of the Bombay Natural History Society, India; and A/Prof Chris Elphick, University of Connecticut, U.S who both spoke on research in their respective countries.
Institute members at the conference included:
* Prof Max Finlayson, speaking on "Effects of climate change on wetlands and waterbirds in Australia and the Asia-Pacific Flyway"
* Dr Iain Taylor—"The habitat requirements of waterbirds on Australian inland wetlands"
* PhD candidate Anna Lukasiewicz—"Equity in water governance in Australia'
* Prof Mark Morrison—"How much do people value wetlands and waterbirds?"
Since 2000 Fivebough Swamp, a Ramsar-listed swamp on the edge of Leeton has been managed by the Fivebough and Tuckerbil Wetlands Trust, a non-profit making community organisation chaired by Mike Schultz. The swamp supports a high diversity and abundance of waterbirds including seven species listed as threatened within NSW, five species exceeding 1% of their total global population and 24 listed under the Japan-Australia Migratory Bird Agreement. At the conference Mr Schultz outlined the main management approaches which have included zoning Fivebough Swamp and using a variety of controlled grazing regimes.
Pictured (above): Mike Schultz, chair, Fivebough & Tuckerbil Wetlands Trust; Dr Chris Elphick, University of Connecticut; Dr Iain Taylor, ILWS and Dr Peter Smith, DECCW
On the last day of the conference, there was a tour to Yanga National Park which is located within the Lower-Murrumbidgee Floodplain in south-western NSW and includes some of the most significant and important wetland habitat in NSW. It also supports the largest known population of the endangered Southern bell Frog in the State.
One of the eight adjuncts attending the inaugural ILWS Research Forum held in Wagga Wagga on 16 and 17 June commented that it was a valuable opportunity to get people from across the Institute together and work towards one goal. The Forum was held to to focus on setting a research agenda to tackle the big issues facing the Murray Darling Basin.
Around 70 ILWS researchers from Orange, Wagga, Albury Thurgoona and Bathurst campuses attended the forum. Environmental issues including restoring and sustaining our wetlands and valuing ecosystem services were up for discussion as well as economic and social areas such as the future for regional natural resource management, human wellbeing and healthy communities, and developing regional business enterprise.
Guest speakers who presented in their area of expertise were:
Prof Jan McDonald, Griffith University (pictured right, with Prof Mark Morrison)
Dr Wendy Craik, Productivity Commission
Ms Roslyn Dundas, ACTCOSS (ACT Council of Social Service)
Dr Denis Foley, University of Newcastle
Dr David Godden, Department of Environment and Climate Change
Dr Sue McIntyre, CSIRO
Dr Neil Ward, Murray Darling Basin Authority
Two Inaugural Awards for Research Excellence were presented at the Forum, with the winner of the Individual Award presented to Dr Jo Millar for her research focusing on environmental and livelihood issues affecting rural communities in regional Australia and South East Asia. The Team Award went to A/Prof Robyn Watts, Dr Catherine Allan, Professor Kath Bowmer, A/Prof Ken Page, Dr Andrea Wilson and Dr Darren Ryder who are making a significant contribution to the knowledge of adaptive management of river operations and has influenced on-ground change in dam operations.
Pictured right (L to R): Prof Max Finlayson with team award winners A/Prof Robyn Watts and Dr Catherine Allan.
Social events were an important part of the Forum program, giving members the chance to meet and talk informally. Margrit Beemster explained the photographic exhibition by Dirk Spenneman, a series of black and white images entitled "The Triple Bottom Line: no water, no hope. no chance".
Pictured left: Bitter Harvest, an image from the exhibition
During the cocktail hour the special edition of Rural Society was launched by guest editor Professor Kath Bowmer (pictured, left) who explained the challenges involved in pulling together the "Water and Gender" themed issue. Incoming editor Dr Angela Ragusa spoke of her desire to see Rural Society flourish and encouraged ILWS researchers to support the journal.
The Forum Dinner, held at a local restaurant, was a great success with music provided by Albury musician Paul Gibbs and Rod Duncan and Mark Morrison ran a very entertaining and challenging trivia quiz.
Pictured right: Enjoying dinner are (L to R) Zelma Bone, Max Finlayson, Roslyn Dundas, Rachel O'Brien, David Watson and Justin Watson.
A summary of information collated at the break out group sessions held throughout the Forum will be posted online soon.
Speaker Presentations(all .pdf)
Topic 1 - Living with climate change, Prof Jan McDonald, Griffith University
Topic 1 - Living with climate change, Prof Kevin Parton, CSU
Topic 2 - Restoration of rivers and wetlands, Prof Max Finlayson, CSU
Topic 2 - River and floodplain research, A/Prof Robyn Watts, CSU
Topic 3 - Regional natural resource management, Jonathon Howard, CSU
Topic 4 - Healthy communities, Roslyn Dundas, ACTCOSS
Topic 4 - Healthy regional communities, Dr Wendy Bowles, CSU
Topic 5 - Indigenous entreprenneurship, Dr Dennis Foley, University of Newcastle
Topic 6 - Ecosystem Services, Dr David Godden, Department of Environment and Climate Change
Topic 6 - Valuing the Murray and Coorong, Prof Mark Morrison, CSU
Topic 7 - Biodiversity, A/Prof Ian Lunt, CSU
Snapshot - Energy Futures, Barney Foran, CSU
Snapshot - Occupancy Mapping, Dr Neil Ward, Murray Darling Basin Authority
Institute members were active participants in the University-wide events organised to celebrate the 200th birthday of the 'father of evolution,' Charles Darwin on Feb 12.
Morning teas, complete with large birthday cakes, were held at the Wagga Wagga and the Albury-Wodonga (Thurgoona) campuses. The highlight of the morning tea at Albury-Wodonga was A/Prof David Watson and wife Maggie's new baby son Charlie who slept through the celebrations despite the media's interest in photographing and filming him. Dr Paul Humphries also welcomed the School of Environmental Science 's six new honours students describing them as "the next generation of scientists to discover and push back the frontiers of science as we are hopefully doing now."
In Wagga a large contingent of staff gathered to help blow out the 200 candles, which took several attempts despite much effort. Wagga High School students were also included in the activities on Tuesday with the screening of the film "A flock of dodos" at the Riverina Playhouse. This was followed by a question and answer session with academics including ecologist Dr Skye Wassens.
Picture above: Staff on the Wagga Wagga campus battle with the wind to light the 200 candles on Darwin's cake..
Pictured left: Cutting the cake is Stacey Kopf with help from ILWS colleagues on Albury-Wodonga (Thurgoona) campus.
Picture below: Dr Paul Humphries, Dr Peter Pridmore and Dr Dennis Black at the Botanic Gardens gathering.
On Thursday evening about 40 scientific colleagues
joined Dr Paul Humphries and others from the Institute for a glass of champagnes and another birthday cake, complete with 200 candles, at Albury's Botanic Gardens at 5.30pm. Environmental scientists Dr Peter Pridmore and Dr Dennis Black from La Trobe University at Wodonga said it was great idea to celebrate Darwin's Birthday as did the former education officer at Wodonga Wetlands, Mike Copland and Murray Darling Freshwater Research Centre macro-vertebrate ecologist John Hawking. "It's a good opportunity to catch up with colleagues," said Mr Hawking.