ILWS - Charles Sturt University
ILWS - Charles Sturt University

Murrumbidgee LTIM Project

Project led by Dr Skye Wassens
ILWS
Charles Sturt University
PO Box 789, Albury, NSW, 2640

Project Summarypdf

  • About
  • Murrumbidgee System
  • Team
  • M & E
  • Reports
  • Stakeholders
  • Related Projects
  • Image Gallery

Background

About the Long-Term Intervention Monitoring Project (LTIM Project)

The Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder (CEWH) is responsible under the Water Act 2007 Swamp(Cth) for managing Commonwealth environmental water holdings. The holdings must be managed to protect or restore the environmental assets of the Murray-Darling Basin.

The Long-Term Intervention Monitoring Project (LTIM Project) is the primary means by which the Commonwealth Environmental Water Office (CEWO) will undertake monitoring and evaluation of the ecological outcomes of Commonwealth environmental watering. 

The LTIM Project will be implemented at seven Selected Areas over a five year period from 2014-15 to 2018-19 to deliver five high-level outcomes:

  1. Evaluate the contribution of Commonwealth environmental watering to the objectives of the Murray-Darling Basin Authority's (MDBA) Environmental Watering Plan
  2. Evaluate the ecological outcomes of Commonwealth environmental watering at each of the seven Selected Areas
  3. Infer ecological outcomes of Commonwealth environmental watering in areas of the Murray-Darling Basin not monitored
  4. Support the adaptive management of Commonwealth environmental water
  5. Monitor the ecological response to Commonwealth environmental watering at each of the seven Selected Areas.

The LTIM project is based on a clear and robust program logic, as detailed in the Long-Term Intervention Monitoring Project Logic and Rationale Document. That document sets out the scientific and technical foundations of long-term intervention monitoring and is being applied to areas where LTIM projects are being undertaken. It also provides links between Basin Plan objectives and targets to the monitoring of outcomes from Commonwealth environmental watering actions. For more information, see Monitoring and evaluation for the use of Commonwealth environmental water

The Long Term Intervention Monitoring (LTIM) Project for the Murrumbidgee river system.

The Long Term Intervention Monitoring (LTIM) Project for selected areas of the Murrumbidgee River system is funded by the Commonwealth Environmental Water Office and is being undertaken from 2014 to 2019. The project is being delivered as a collaborative partnership led by Charles Sturt University (Institute for Land, Water and Society) with NSW Department of Primary Industries (Fisheries), University of NSW, NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, and Riverina Local Land Services.

The  Murrumbidgee System

The Murrumbidgee catchment in southern NSW is one of the largest river catchments in the Murray-TurtleDarling Basin (87,348 sq.km). The Murrumbidgee River is of critical economic and environmental importance with the River supplying water to major inland irrigation areas and rural communities. The Murrumbidgee River also contains many of Australians most import wetlands and floodplain and includes the Murrumbidgee portion of the endangered 'aquatic ecological community in the natural drainage system of the lower Murray River catchment' (NSW Fisheries Management Act 1994). Environment water holdings in the Murrumbidgee Selected Area are significant with Commonwealth and NSW water holdings combined over 497,000ML.  Maintaining the condition and character of areas of floodplain and riverine habitats,  while still supporting economic development and rural communities, is a key goal of environmental watering activities in the Murrumbidgee.

The Murrumbidgee provide critical habitats for a number of federally-listed endangered species Dairy Riverincluding trout cod, Murray cod, silver perch, Macquarie perch, southern bell frog, and vulnerable fishing bat. The Lowbidgee floodplain also contains some of the Murray-Darling Basin's largest breeding sites for colonially-nesting water birds and waterbird species listed under bilateral migratory bird agreements that Australia has signed with Japan, China, and the Republic of Korea.

The area supports a productive agricultural community, has a rich and diverse Indigenous history, and supports both active and passive recreational uses such as fishing, bird-watching and bush-walking. Many Aboriginal nations maintain strong connections to the country (including the  Wiradjuri, Nari-Nari, Mudi-Mudi, and the Waddi Waddi), Toogimbe  Indigenous Protected Area is an important area of cultural and environmental heritage managed by the the Nari Nari Tribal Council.

The Murrumbidgee Long Term Intervention Monitoring (LTIM) Project is being undertaken across three key ecological regions within the Murrumbidgee, the mid and lower Murrumbidgee River channel , the mid-Murrumbidgee wetlands and the Lowbidgee floodplain which are further divided into Separate monitoring "zones" representing areas with common ecological and hydrological attributes.

The Murrumbidgee River channel Zones

  • Narrandera reach (187.3km)
  • Carrathool reach (358.0km)
  • Balranald reach (241.4km)

The Wetland zones

  • mid-Murrumbidgee wetlands (82,800ha)
  • Lowbidgee
    • Pimpara-Wagourah (55,451ha)
    • Redbank (92,504ha)
    • Nimmie-Caira (98,128ha)
    • Fiddlers-Uara (75,285ha)

Below is a map of the zones

Map Murrumbidgee

Murrumbidgee LTIM Project Team

The Long Term Intervention Monitoring (LTIM) Project for selected areas of the Murrumbidgee River system is funded by the Commonwealth Environmental Water Office and is being undertaken from 2014 to 2019. The project is being delivered as a collaborative partnership led by Charles Sturt University (Institute for Land, Water and Society) with NSW Department of Primary Industries (Fisheries), University of NSW, NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, and Riverina Local Land Services.

Name

Project Role

Responsibility

Organisation

Dr Skye WassensDr Skye Wassens

Profile

Project Leader

CSU Team Leader

Wetland fish, frogs

CSU

Dr Andrew HallDr Andrew Hall
Profile 

CSU team member

Hydrology and ecosystem type

CSU

Dr Ben WolfendenDr Ben Wolfenden
Profile 

CSU team member

Stream metabolism, return flows, wetland nutrients

CSU

Dr Kim JenkinsDr Kim Jenkins
Profile 

CSU team member (assistant project leader )

Microinvertebrates, assistant project leader

CSU

Nikki ScottMs Nikki Scott

CSU team member

Project administration and management

CSU

Jared McPhersonMr Jarrod McPherson CSU team member Research Assistant CSU

Jennifer SpencerDr Jennifer Spencer

NSW OEH team leader (assistant project leader)

Waterbird diversity and breeding, assistant project leader

NSW OEH

Ms Rachael Thomas

NSW OEH team member

Hydrology and ecosystem type

NSW OEH

Dr Yoshi Kobayashi

NSW OEH team member

Stream metabolism

NSW OEH

Jason ThiemDr Jason Thiem

DPI Team leader

Riverine Fish, larval fish and fish movement

NSW DPI

Gilad BinoDr Gilad Bino Profile

UNSW team leader

Data analysis, process modelling and synthesis

UNSW

http://www.ecosystem.unsw.edu.au

Dr Kate Brandis
Profile 

UNSW team member

Waterbird breeding

UNSW

Ms Erin Lenon

CEWO Community Liaison Officer

Community liaison, vegetation diversity

CEWO

Frances Cory

Riv LLS team leader

Wetland fish

Riverina LLS

LTIM monitoring and evaluation in the Murrumbidgee system

The Long Term Intervention Monitoring (LTIM) Project the Murrumbidgee River has been designed to Macro Samplingprovide a robust framework to evaluate the ecological outcomes of Commonwealth environmental water at a range of spatial and temporal scales.  The monitoring and evaluation program focuses on both broad and fine scale patterns and process, targeting multiple taxonomic groups and trophic levels over the range of ecosystem types present within the Murrumbidgee Selected Area). By building in appropriate levels of spatial and temporal replication, the approach enables the evaluation both of short and long-term contributions of Commonwealth environmental water to achieving the goals of the Basin Plan.

The evaluation framework includes 12 fixed sites across three of the six wetland zones (Nimmie-Mercedes SwampCaira, Redbank, and mid-Murrumbidgee) and six fixed sites in across two zones in the Murrumbidgee River.   These sites are monitored continuously across the five year period providing data on long-term (5 year) changes in ecological condition. Where practical monitoring activities have been bundled to allow data on multiple indicators and key covariates to be collected simultaneously. The wetland bundle includes wetland fish, frogs, tadpoles, turtles, microcrustacea, waterbird diversity, vegetation diversity, water quality, water quality metrics associated with black water and algal bloom risks, and hydrology. The riverine bundle includes larval fish, microcrustacea, stream metabolism, water quality, water quality metrics associated with black water and algal bloom rsks, and hydrology.

Murrumbidgee

Reports

CEWO LTIM Murrumbidgee River System Evaluation Report 2014-2016 pdf

Quarterly progress reports pdf

2017

Report #12 Selected Area Progress Report April - June 2017

Report #11 Selected Area Progress Report January - March 2017

2016

Report #10 Selected Area Progress Report July - September 2016

Report #9 Selected Areas Progress Report Watering Highlights for 2015-2016

Report #7 Selected Areas Progress Report January - March 2016

2015

Report #6 Selected Areas Progress Report October - December 2015

Report #5 Selected Areas Progress Report July- September 2015

Report #4 Selected Area Progress Report April - June 2015

Report #3 Selected Area Progress Report January - March 2015

2014

Report #2 Selected Area Progress Report October - December 2014

Report #1 Selected Area Progress Report July - September 2014 

Reports from previous projects

Monitoring the ecological response of Commonwealth environmental water delivered in 2012-13 to the Murrumbidgee river system - Final Report Executive Summary

Monitoring the ecological response of Commonwealth environmental water delivered in 2012-13 to the Murrumbidgee river system - Report 1, Institute for land, Water and Society - Charles Sturt University for Commonwealth Environmental Water Office

Monitoring of ecosystem responses to the delivery of environmental water in the Murrumbidgee system. (2012)  ILWS Report 2 for SEWPACpdf

Monitoring of ecosystem responses to the delivery of environmental water in the Murrumbidgee system. (2012)  ILWS Report 1 for SEWPAC.pdf

Stakeholders

The Murrumbidgee region has a diverse range of water users and stakeholders. The LTIM team is committed providing clear and up to date information on monitoring actives and outcomes across a range of forums and sharing information and resources with our many stakeholders. There are currently two key groups involved in the development  of the LTIM program and communication of ongoing monitoring activities, the Murrumbidgee Working Group and the Murrumbidgee Environmental Water Allowance Reference Group (EWARG).

Murrumbidgee Working Group

The Murrumbidgee Working Group has existed as an informal group for a number of years, with membership formalised as part of Stage 1 for the Murrumbidgee LTIM Project. The working group has members from key stakeholder groups including environmental water managers and ecologists in NSW OEH (including NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service), NSW Office of Water, State Water, CEWO Delivery team members, and team members from CSU, NSW OEH. Riverina LLS, UNSW and DPI. The group's primary function is to provide support and advice in relation to the strategic direction of the Murrumbidgee LTIM Project, advice and comment on annual flow planning, day to day operations of Commonwealth environmental water and adaptive management.  Importantly the working group provides a forum for the rapid exchange of information relevant to environmental watering actions through the Murrumbidgee. 

Murrumbidgee Environmental Water Allowance Reference Group (EWARG)

It is recognised that intervention monitoring is the primary means for understanding the outcomes from the use of Commonwealth environmental water, and the ability to communicate these outcomes back into established management groups is vital to successful management at several scales, including:

  • real time improvements to event management,
  • annual water use options planning, and
  • longer term strategies (e.g. five year time scales).

The Murrumbidgee Environmental Water Allowance Reference Group (EWARG) has an important role in that it synthesises a range of knowledge and experience to advise both planned and adaptive environmental water in NSW that can be actively managed. The group is key to bringing stakeholders together to advise on environmental water use. Membership of this group includes representatives from the Riverina LLS (Chair), NSW OEH, DPI, NSW Office of Water, State Water, Aboriginal community, Lowbidgee League, Murrumbidgee Customer Service Committee, Murrumbidgee Field Naturalists and Nature Conservation Council.