Our members engage with a wide range of external stakeholders at the regional, national and international levels and as such contribute to policy making and management decisions that contribute to ensuring a sustainable future.
Our stakeholders include Federally funded research organisations; State and Federal Government departments & agencies; International organisations, government departments & NGOs; National and International industry; Catchment Management Authorities; Local Land Services; International tertiary organisations; State and Federal MPs; Australian NGOs and lobby groups; Editorial Boards and journal editors; the general public, community groups, local shires & councils, local businesses and networks; National tertiary institutions and research organisations; Statutory bodies and associations and the media.
At the invitation of North East CMA board member Dr Lee Baumgartner, the North East CMA Board and Executive held its monthly board meeting at the Albury-Wodonga campus at Thurgoona on June 25. While here they toured acquatic research facilities and had the opportunity to talk with researchers involved in various projects.
On June 17 the Institute’s communications coordinator Margrit Beemster attended a planning meeting for the NRM Regions Knowledge Conference, which will be held in November 18-20 in Wodonga. The meeting was held at the offices of the North East Catchment Management Authority in Wodonga. The theme of the 7th national conference is ‘creating resilience through NRM- how do we do it?’
The images and words in a calendar for the 2019/20 financial year are certainly a great way of telling the story of the Murrumbidgee Long Term Intervention Monitoring (LTIM) project.The project, which is led by Associate Professor Skye Wassens, commenced in 2014 and is funded by the Commonwealth Environmental Water Office.The calendar, which was collated by LTIM team members Dr Damian Michael and Gaye Bourke, features some of the plants and animals being monitored in the Murrumbidgee LTIM project area and their responses to watering actions.
Associate Professor Maree Bernoth was an invited speaker at the Reforming Australia’s Aged Care System Conference in Sydney, May 30. Maree was a panellist in the session entitled “Delivering better access and quality care to our regional and rural communities”. She also gave another presentation on “Aged care workforce recruitment: getting the right person for the job”.
Associate Professor Maree Bernoth met with Murrumbidgee Local Health District (MHLD) research coordinator, Barbara Taylor, on May 21 to discuss possible future collaborations between CSU and MHLD including research education, and attending relevant Faculty of Science symposiums. She also presented, together with Dr Elyce Green, on “Searching the literature ad critically appraising the evidence” at a Creating Governance Documents workshop for the Murrumbidgee Local Health District and Clinical Nurse Consultants, May 8, in Leeton. Maree was also an invited speaker at the MHLD Research Day on June 26 where she gave a presenbtation on “getting your research published.” The day brought together researchers of all clinical disciplines from across MLHD.
Associate Professor Maree Bernoth and Keryl de Haan gave a presentation on their research project funded by a NSW Government Translation grant Supporting isolated women in NSW via an eHealth program for Post-Natal Depression at the Australian College of Midwives, NSW Division Conference, Wagga, May 18.
On May 14, Professor Max Finlayson had a meeting in Albury with the Deputy Mayor of Albury City Council, Cr Amanda Cohn, to discuss research collaboration and participation in the SEGRA program.
On May 9, Professor Max Finlayson, who is chair of the Winton Wetland Environment Panel, attended a meeting at the wetlands near Benalla to plan for the 5th annual Winton Wetlands Science Forum, to be held August 15 and 16. The theme of this year’s event is “Connecting People with Nature” which emphasises the role of nature in both ecosystem and human health.
Institute Adjunct Professor Peter Waterman and Professor Max Finlayson attended the Snowy Valleys Council Climate Change Forum, held April 29, in Batlow, where Peter gave a presentation on “Climate Change Adaptation for Sustaining Local Communities and Regional Production and Conservation Landscapes.” The two were also panelists in a broad question and answer session on the challenges and opportunities arising from these changes. The aim of the forum was to share information and to increase the understanding of the community’s perceptions and concerns around climate change and the effect it will have in the Snowy Valleys Local Government Area. The forum was held by the council in conjunction with the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage who presented on the work of its Climate Change Adaption Team.
A planning session for an up-coming Murray Darling Basin Forum (a SEGRA pre-conference forum) was held at the Graham Centre at CSU’s Wagga Campus on April 17. The session was convened by Professors Mark Morrison and Max Finlayson and facilitated by Institute Adjunct Professor Peter Waterman. Session participants included Kate Charters, the convener of SEGRA conferences, Michael Kitzelmann, General Manager and Gavin Helgeland Manager Economic Development, Balranald Shire Council, Melinda Hillery Senior Project Officer, Regional Resilience Team, NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, Mark Forbes, CEO, Far West Joint Organisation and Kylie Bradley, Economic Development Officer Snowy Valleys Council. The NSW Cross Border Commissioner was also represented.
Institute Adjunct Associate Professor Bruce Pennay was a panel members for a public forum “Regional Viability: Should migrants be required to live and work in regional towns?” held at LaTrobe University’s campus in Wodonga, April 4. Bruce spoke about the key to viable settlement of migrants in regional areas being to “follow the money”. In other words, there must be jobs in waiting for migrants and a workforce embraced by the local communities.
Dr Paul Humphries was a speaker at a two day research symposium (supported by La Trobe University, CSU, North East CMA and the Victorian State Government) which explored the cultural and natural values of the Ovens River. The symposium, “Celebrating the Ovens River, Past and Present” was held in Wangaratta, March 7 and 8. Paul’s talk was on ‘Patience and Tolerance: the fauna of the Lower Ovens River floodplain wetlands.’
Representatives from the Balranald Shire visited the Institute at CSUs Albury-Wodonga campus on Jan 31 to discuss development and implementation of a Waterways and Wetlands Management Plan for the shire, particularly in light of recent algal blooms and fish deaths in the region. At the meeting was Mayor Alan Purtill, Cr Trevor Joliffee, General Manager Michael Kitzelmann, Director of Infrastructure Ray Davey, Institute Director Professor Max Finlayson, A/Prof Andrew Hall, A/Prof Skye Wassens, A/Prof Catherine Allan, and Dr Lee Baumgartner.
Professor Max Finlayson, as an Independent Scientist for the Lake Cowal Foundation attended the foundation’s board meeting by phone on August 24, and then the Cowal Environmental Monitoring Consultative Committee (CEMCC) meeting at Forbes, NSW, August 29. He also attended a Lake Cowal Foundation meeting in Sydney, November 26, for a discussion on developing an ecological framework for Lake Cowal. He also attended a meeting of the West Wyalong Cowal Community Engagement Panel, December 4/5 to discuss developments of the mine in relation to the local community,
On August 20 Professor Max Finlayson attended a meeting with the CEO of the Murray Darling Association (MDA), Emma Bradbury, at CSU’s Albury-Wodonga campus to discuss collaboration between MDA, ILWS and SEGRA. He then attended the association’s annual conference in Leeton, August 29-31.
On August 21, Dr Lee Baumgartner and Professor Max Finlayson had a meeting with Professor Nick Bond, Director of the new Centre for Freshwater Ecosystems, LaTrobe University (formerly the Murray Darling Freshwater Research Centre) where they had a discussion about strategic research opportunities and agreed to follow up on areas of mutual interest.
On August 14 Professor Max Finlayson attended a workshop at WBT Consulting Group in Brisbane which looked at closure criteria for the Ranger Uranium Mine in the Northern Territory.
As members of the North East Catchment Management Authority’s Science Panel, Professor Max Finlayson and Associate Professor Catherine Allan attended a meeting of the panel in Wodonga, August 10. As a follow-up to a meeting between North East CMA staff and ILWS researchers in June that explored research collaborations to benefit both organisations, on September 6 Professor Max Finlayson met with the CMA’s new CEO, Katie Warner, together with the head of the Albury campus, Dr Jenni Munday and Dr Wes Ward, to discuss increasing collaboration between CSU, ILWS and the North East CMA. Dr Lee Baumgartner continued his duties as a board member of the North East Catchment Management Authority and attended a board meeting, Sept. 18.
Over the past few months, Dr Rachel Whitsed, Dr Alexander Knight and Associate Professor Rosemary Black have been initiating a project with Yarra Ranges Council to assess and model playspace usage, based on the methodology of their Better Parks for People project.
Dr Lee Baumgartner, wearing his 'hats" as a CMA Board Member and scientist, attended a meeting with the North East Catchment Management Authority on June 20 to help identify key indicators of catchment health that could be fed into the CMAs new corporate plan.
Sixteen researchers from the Institute and five staff from the North East Catchment Management Authority got together for a “brainstorming session” at the Albury-Wodonga campus on June 5 as a way of developing partnerships between the two organisations.
Associate Professor Maree Bernoth gave a presentation to Clinical Nurse Consultants from the Murrumbidgee Local Health District who have requested support with research in June.
On March 29, Dr James Van Dyke and colleague Associate Professor Prof Ricky Spencer from Western Sydney University met with representatives from Albury and Wodonga councils, and North East Water to discuss locations that could be included in a regional turtle conservation project the pair are developing.
As chair of the Winton Wetlands Environmental Strategic Advisory Panel, Institute Director Professor Max Finlayson, attended a meeting on March 8 to plan this year’s annual forum, review the restoration process and discuss opportunities for ILWS ecologist to be involved.
Institute Director Professor Max Finlayson, who is the Lake Cowal Foundation Board’s Independent Scientific Advisor, attended a meeting of the Board (by phone) on March 2.
As a member of the Sydney Olympic Park Authority’s WET (Wetland Education and Training) Technical Advisory Panel, Institute Director Professor Max Finlayson held a telemeeting with Dr Swapan Paul to plan for wetland courses for 2018 on February 21.
In January Dr Alexandra Knight was appointed Chair of the Slopes to Summit (S2S) partnership. Established in 2007, S2S is an important part of the Great Eastern Ranges initiative which aims to restore and connect the landscape and communities along the Great Dividing Range and Great Escarpment of eastern Australia https://www.ger.org.au/home. ILWS researchers have provided valuable input to S2S from its inception, with ongoing input from A/Prof Peter Spooner, Prof Dave Watson and A/Prof Catherine Allan. The current focus of S2S is to continue to develop opportunities for on-ground evidence-informed connectivity conservation actions. With members including OEH, Landcare, LLS and Parks Albury Wodonga, the group provides an important natural resource management forum for exchanging ideas and developing projects across the South-west slopes and Riverina regions.
Associate Professor Dirk Spennemann was one of the speakers at the International Earth Building Conference, held at CSU’s Albury-Wodonga campus, Thurgoona, Nov 2 to 6.
Professor Max Finlayson, who chairs the Environmental Strategy Advisory Panel for the Winton Wetlands, attended a meeting of the panel in June at the wetlands to begin planning for the Winton Wetlands Annual Forum in August.
Professor Max Finlayson, Dr Lee Baumgartner and Dr Jennifer Bond had a planning meeting with representatives from the National Agricultural Productivity and Reconciliation Ecology Centre (NAPREC) at the Albury-Wodonga campus in March. NAPREC, a community-initiative based in Deniliquin, is planning a conference later this year in Deniliquin.
Dr Julia Howitt gave a presentation to the Murray and Lower Darling Environmental Water Advisory group on February 7, 2017 in Deniliquin. Her presentation "Monitoring ecosystem responses to the delivery of environmental water in the Edward-Wakool system" focused on both the algal bloom and the hypoxic blackwater event that occurred in the system in 2016.
As its Independent Scientist, Professor Max Finlayson attended meetings of the Lake Cowal Foundation in February, May and June. On December 6, he attended an Evolution Mining Consultation Committee Meeting in West Wyalong in the context of the mine and Lake Cowal and to develop project ideas for the Lake Cowal Foundation
As a follow-up to his involvement in the Government’s independent scientific review panel on the 2018-19 fish deaths in the lower Darling, Dr Lee Baumgartner, together with ILWS Adjunct Dr Martin Mallen-Cooper, had a meeting with the NSW Water Minister, Hon Melinda Pavey at the Minister’s office in Martin Place in Sydney on June 17. They discussed a range of issues regarding water management; the two main points being the findings and recommendations of the Vertessy fish kill report and the current review of the Barwon-Darling Water Sharing Plan being undertaken by the Natural Resources Commission (NSW). They discussed, at length, how complementary measures could be deployed to help meet the outcomes of the Basin plan.
The Institute has again supported the annual Biodiversity Across the Borders conference, a one-day conference which aims to communicate new ecological research to natural resource managers, the research community and those with an interest in better environmental management. The theme of this year’s conference was ‘Climate Change and Future Landscapes’. The conference was held at the Mt Helen campus (Ballarat) of Federation University Australia, June 14 with more than 650 conservation experts, local council representatives, school teachers and members of community conservation groups attending.
Institute speakers at the conference were:
The conference was jointly hosted by Federation University Australia, La Trobe University, Deakin University, Victoria University, Charles Sturt University, University of Melbourne, Parks Victoria and other research partners. Associate Professor Peter Spooner was on the conference’s organising committee.
Collaboration between a group of landholders passionate about the environment and ILWS ecologists and social scientists has moved closer after series of meetings over two years to develop a joint paper that explains the place of reconciliation ecology in intensive irrigation agriculture in South Eastern Australia. Some members of the National Agricultural Production and Reconciliation Ecology Centre (NAPREC) met again with the ILWS group led by Professor Max Finlayson on May 21 in Deniliquin, in the NSW Murray Valley region, to complete the final groundwork for a joint paper. The paper explores the place of reconciliation ecology in agricultural landscapes in South Eastern Australia. Professor Finlayson said that the meetings and subsequent work have highlighted the advantages of working with passionate members of the community in applied ecological research.
“The best approach is to talk together before we ask the questions – get to know each other, where we agree and where we don’t, and why, and do that in a respectful way,” Professor Finlayson said. “By working with farmers and other land users from the very beginning, we can establish the relationships that are needed to get better understanding and buy-in to what we do in regional areas. Landowners have incredible local knowledge, they have the local networks, and an understanding of their communities. We must tap into this incredible resource with empathy and a clear understanding of where they and we want to go,” he said.
The six member group finalised discussions around the place of reconciliation ecology in the region, case studies of successful and not so successful implementation of NRM projects in the region in recent decades, and how aspects of reconciliation ecology can be implemented on private land in the region. A final draft is now being completed by ILWS and NAPREC members before being presented back to a broader NAPREC community group in Deniliquin in October this year.
The members of the ILWS team include Drs Jen Bond, Damian Michael, and Wes Ward as well as PhD student Michael Vanderzee, led by Professor Finlayson.
In May, Dr Angela Ragusa was invited to serve as an expert for a workforce bullying and liability court case in Sydney, an opportunity she passed on to her former PhD (Sociology) student Dr Philip Groves, who is currently undertaking the expert work. He is first author of their feature article: Groves, P. & Ragusa, A.T. (2019). Workplace Bullying: A sociological examination of the medio-legal response to a growing social problem in Australia. Journal of Health, Safety, & Environment, 35(1), 49-68
Dr Adam Frew and Dr Jamie Turner attended the Science at the Dome Event, organised by the Academy of Science, in May. The event showcases the advancement and progression of science in Australia.
As part of the Australian International Animation Festival, held in Wagga Wagga, May 17 to 19, Associate Professor Damian Candusso was one of 16 professional people who specialise in animation and creative opportunities who presented at the festival’s RENDER session - a two hour rapid-fire essential wisdom program.
From April 2 to 4, Dr Lee Baumgartner, Dr Keller Kopf, Associate Professor Skye Wassens, Professor Robyn Watts and Dr Damian Michael were at the National Museum in Canberra for a three day workshop to plan for a new CEWO funded three year research initiative which follows CEWO’s Long Term Intervention Monitoring program for the Murray-Darling Basin; which is being implanted by CSIRO and University of Canberra. The new Monitoring, Evaluation and Research (MER) program extends existing monitoring and evaluation for another three years (2019-2022) and will incorporate a number of new research projects to address knowledge gaps. ILWS researchers have been involved in monitoring programs for two river systems, the Edward Wakool and the Murrumbidgee, for many years now and are expected to continue to do so for the next three years. In May Skye and Keller returned to Canberra for a follow-up meeting.
On March 21-22, the Institute hosted a strategic planning workshop attended by Dr Lee Baumgartner, Nathan Ning, Katie Doyle, Institute Adjunct Dr Craig Boys and Tony Fowler, both from NSW DPI; Peter Ebendwalder, AWMA Solutions; for the Institute’s Ian Potter Foundation project on irrigation screening. Developing design guidelines for diversion screens that save native fish and enhance agricultural productivity. Also in attendance were Drs Nick Pawsey, Tahmid Nayeem who are drafting a project marketing strategy and cost-benefit analysing.
On March 18, Dr Lee Baumgartner attended a one day strategic workshop in Sydney with Water NSW and the Jacobs Group (an engineering company) about trying to reduce the cost of fish ladder designs through innovative methods as part of a consultancy for Water NSW and the Jacobs Group. Some concept designs will be prepared for Water NSW who are looking to incorporate thes new designs into future works program.
Four staff from CSIRO Land & Water’s Managing Water Ecosystems group, who are now all Institute Adjuncts, relocated to Charles Sturt University’s Albury-Wodonga campus at Thurgoona in March this year. The team comprises of:
Dr Richard Culas presented a paper on ‘China-Australia Free Trade Agreement: Implications for Australian agriproducts trade and farm economies’ at the AARES (Australasian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society) annual conference in Melbourne, Feb 12-15. In his paper Richard suggested that within growing consumption demand and insufficient production of wheat in China, some Australian states may benefit by exporting wheat to China. The highest revealed comparative advantage was estimated for South Australia. Also at the conference was Professor Kevin Parton. He and his PhD student Londari Yamarak were authors of the paper presented on ‘Mining and poverty in Papua New Guinea: Case studies at Ok Tedi and Porgera’.
From February 11 to 14, Professor Max Finlayson was in Perth where he looked at Ramsar-listed wetland sites in Perth’s metropolitan area and caught up with colleague and wetland ecologist Professor Pierre Horwitz from Edith Cowan University.
On February 8, Professor Max Finlayson went to Sydney Olympic Park where he provided input to its WET (Wetlands Education & Training) program and gave advice on the development of the new Sydney Wetland Institute (SWI) which has been established by the Sydney Olympic Park Authority at the Park.
Dr Prue Gonzalez was a member of the CSU Faculty of Science team who hosted the NSW Ambulance Volunteer & Community First Responder Conference on the Port Macquarie campus, October 25 & 26. The conference was attended by representatives from NSW Ambulance, State Emergency Service, Rural Fire Service, National Parks and Wildlife Service and Fire and Rescue. The conference has already lead to research networks between CSU and stakeholder agencies (NSW Ambulance, State Emergency Service, Rural Fire Service, National Parks and Wildlife Service, Fire and Rescue, along the mid-North Coast NSW).
Associate Professor Maree Bernoth, at the request of the Senate Standing Committee on Community Affairs, Legislation Committee, provided a report to the Inquiry into the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission Bill in October.
On September 24, Dr Lee Baumgartner went to Canberra with ACIAR’s new Chief Scientist, Dr Daniel Walker, to the DFAT Innovation Exchange Office where they met with the Director of Innovation Exchange Sarah Pearson. “We talked about how we can better integrate DFAT’s development activities into ACIAR research projects…trying to bridge the gap between development outcomes and strategic research,” says Lee.
On September 6, Dr Katie Doyle and Dr Lee Baumgartner went to Melbourne to meet with representatives from the South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI), Arthur Rylah Institute, and NSW DPI with regards to the Fishing for Answers project. “It was a preliminary project update and a mapping out of our approach to Basin-scale analysis of fish recruitment,” says Lee.
On August 29, Dr Lee Baumgartner went to Canberra to meet with ACIAR’s Research Program Manager Ann Fleming, and Geoff O’Keefe, 2IC of ACIAR’s new Capacity Building branch, to talk about “how to better align our research efforts and institutional capacity building into our ACIAR projects.”
On August 22, Dr Lee Baumgartner and Dr Nathan Ning had a four hour workshop at CSU Albury-Wodonga with Professor Lin Crase and Dr Bethany Cooper, economists from the University of South Australia, partners in the Fish Passage project in Laos. “We are working with them to develop an economic cost benefit tool to demonstrate how quickly it takes to pay off the construction of a fishway in terms of benefits to the fishery i.e. how much has the fishery increased versus the cost and how long did it take to pay it back,” says Lee.
On July 16, Dr Lee Baumgartner was in Goondiwindi where he met Brendan Griffiths who owns a research farm. The pair discussed the potential of using the farm as a test site if the proposal for an ARC Research Hub for Irrigation Diversion Manufacturing project is successful.
Concerns over the uncertainty regarding the release of a herpes virus to control common carp, as outlined in the paper Marshall, J., Davison, A. J., Kopf, R. K., Boutier, M., Stevenson, P., & Vanderplasschen, A. (2018) Biocontrol of invasive carp: Risks abound. Science, 359: 877-877 were presented by one of the papers’ authors (not an ILWS member) in a Senate Committee Proceedings in the Australian Parliament, June 25.
On June 26 and 27, ILWS researchers – Dr Lee Baumgartner, Jarrod McPherson, Dr Nathan Ning, Dr Luiz Silva, Cameron McGregor and Dr Institute Adjunct Dr Craig Boys (NSW DPI)– went to Talbingo to participate in a Snowy Hydro project induction in preparation for the research work the team will be doing for the Snowy 2.0 project. From July 9 to 13, Dr Lee Baumgartner was in Port Macquarie where he had a design meeting with Pure Aquatics, who are supplying equipment for the new laboratory for the Snowy 2.0 project.
Professor Robyn Watts was a member of an invited panel of experts that spoke at a public hearing of the House of Representatives Standing Committee on the Environment and Energy’s inquiry into the management and use of Commonwealth environmental water in Albury, April 30.
Dr Kath McFarlane’s research into the involvement of children in out-of-home care in the NSW criminal justice system has been cited by the Australian Law Reform Commission to support a recommendation for a national child protection - child welfare inquiry.
In his new role as a member of the NSW Environment Trust’s Aquatic sub-committee, Dr Lee Baumgartner attended the committee’s inaugural meeting on Feb 26 in Sydney.
Dr Julia Howitt attended and gave a presentation at a two day workshop, organised by CSIRO on the hypoxic blackwater risk in the Murray-Darling Basin and the processes leading to hypoxic blackwater events, their impacts and management options, Jan 30 and 31.
In December Associate Professor Maree Bernoth was invited to take part in the Federal Government’s Aged Care Workforce Strategy Taskforce, which has been put together by the Minister for Ageing, Ken Wyatt. She spoke first to a peak industry body, Leading Age Solutions Australia Ltd, in Sydney to aged care providers about the evidence researchers have about staffing for ageing. She was then invited by the head of the ageing task force Professor John Pollaers to a summit in Melbourne.
Professor Max Finlayson and Dr Lee Baumgartner attended the launch of the ACIAR 10 year research strategy at ANU in Canberra, December 11-12, 2017.
Dr Alexandra Knight is a member of the Technical Reference Group which has provided specialist input to the Victorian Government’s “Protection of Alpine National Park – Feral Horse Strategic Action Plan”.
Dr Luis Silva attended the National Carp Control Program's Science Advisory group workshop in Canberra in July.
Dr Lee Baumgartner attended a project planning meeting on fish protection in irrigation systems in September in Canberra with representatives from the Department of Primary Industries, Arthur Rylah Institute, the South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI) Aquatic Sciences, NSW Agriculture and Tenure Chasers.
In June Professor Max Finlayson had a meeting in Canberra with the former Australian Governor General Major General The Hon. Michael Jeffery and Ashley Bland, from SkillSet in Bathurst, and others to develop a national level Sustainability Indicator.
Mr Garry Thorncraft (ILWS adjunct) and Dr Wayne Robinson took part in a two day Field Visit for Fishway Monitoring event on June 26 to 27 to the Pak Peung Fishway in Lao PDR.There were about 25 delegates present for the two days. Garry represented the ACIAR funded Fish Passage project as its technical expert in Laos and Wayne represented ILWS as an overseas resource management monitoring expert. The two also met with local villagers and demonstrated their methods and presented some of the outcomes from their work.
From June 21 to 29, Professor Max Finlayson was at IHE Delft in The Netherlands where he worked on several wetland assessment and valuation papers with Institute Adjuncts Professor Nick Davidson, Rob McInnes, and Dr Anne Van Dam. It was also to fulfil some of his obligations in line with his part-time IHE Delft appointment as the Ramsar Chair of the Wise Use of Wetlands.
Associate Professor Maree Bernoth and Professor Marguerite Bramble (School of Nursing, Midwifery & Indigenous Health) are on the Scientific Committee and the conference organising committee for the Australasian Association of Gerontology Conference in November. The conference, to be held in Sydney, November 5 to 8, has the theme “New Ways of Knowing and Acting”.
From May 26 to June 6, Professor Max Finlayson was in the US to attend the Society of Wetland Scientists’ executive board meeting and the society’s annual conference held in Baltimore. That included becoming President of the society from 2019 to 2020, and three presentations at the conference – on the Global Wetland Outlook; use of constructed wetlands for biodiversity purposes; and another on developing an SWS climate change initiative. Also at the conference were six ILWS Adjuncts, Professor Nick Davidson, Randy Milton, Rob McInnes, Anne Van Dam, and Professor Lijuan Cui, and former ILWS PhD student Dr Ruby Lei who gave a presentation about the development of national wetland parks and their value in China.
On May 21, Professor Max Finlayson had a Skype conference with members of the Society of Wetland Scientists’s executive on incorporating traditional ecological knowledge into the society’s formal structure by creating a specialist working group (section).
InstituteAdjunct Dave Pritchard was a guest speaker at an Embedding art into Landscape Partnerships symposium, held in Brierfield, in the UK, March 21.
From March 11 to 17, Dr Lee Baumgartner made a trip to the Mekong to check out the progress of the Xayaburi Dam, a multi-billion dollar hydro-power plant being built on the Lower Mekong River in Laos. The scoping trip was in preparation forn the installation of research equipment in July. It was alsoan opportunity for the researchers to connect with representatives from the ACIAR commission, the advisory body for ACIAR, and the ACIAR policy advisory committee, both of whom visited their research sites, one in Pak Peung and the other at Xayaburi. Dr Wayne Robinson did one tour with them [to Pak Peung] and Dr Lee Baumgartner the other [Xayaburi] It was also an opportunity for the Distinguished Project Award for the project “Fish Passage research and development at low-head barriers in Southeast Asia” presented at the Fish Passage 2018 conference last year, to be presented by Prof Andrew Campbell (CEO of ACIAR) to the Laos members of that project team in Luang Prabang. On the same trip Lee and Wayne met with representatives from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and the Laos Irrigation department in regards to finalising the experimental design for a World Bank funded project looking to assess the success of some fishways in southern Laos.
In late February-early March ILWS Adjuncts Professor Nick Davidson and Associate Professor Rob McInnes coordinated and ran a Training Workshop for the Development of a National Wetland Inventory for the Kingdom of Bhutan. The workshop took place over two weeks in Oxford, UK, and was attended by three staff members of the Watershed Management Division, Department of Forests and Park Services, Ministry of Agriculture and Forests, Royal Government of Bhutan.The primary objective of the Training Workshop was to develop a framework for the subsequent development and implementation of a National Wetland Inventory for the Kingdom of Bhutan. The colleagues from Bhutan were also assisted by Dr Harvey Rodda of Hydro-GIS. Dr Rodda, Prof Davidson and Rob McInnes are currently working with the Governments of Myanmar and Norway to produce a national inventory for Myanmar. The Workshop provided an opportunity to share knowledge and experience with colleagues from Bhutan in order to facilitate the development of a framework for a National Wetland Inventory. Since the workshop, the staff from the Government of Bhutan have been conducting field studies, undertaking data collection and ground-truthing the initial outputs from the National Wetland Inventory. The work on the National Wetland Inventory is expected to be complete by the Spring of 2020.
In February, Professor David Watson travelled to Umeå in northern Sweden to participate in a two-day Tea-Bag Index Symposium.
The Tea-Bag Index is a recently developed approach, using tea bags as ready-made packages of leaf litter with known composition, attracting both researchers and citizen scientists to gather and share decomposition data. With a combination of research talks, speed talks and workshops, the symposium provided an up-to-date summary of how this new approach is informing exciting collaborative research worldwide.
From February 9 to 18 Dr Lee Baumgartner was on a scoping trip to South Africa together with ILWS Adjunct Dr Jason Thiem, from NSW DPI. Both had been invited by the University of Mpumalanga to go to South Africa following their meeting that university’s Dr Gordon O’Brien and his PhD student Matt Burnett at the Fish Passage 2018 conference.The visit began with a one day workshop exploring opportunities for collaboration at the university in Nelspruit. It was followed by a five day tour of Kruger National Park which including meeting with staff from South Africa National Parks and the university; site visits to fish ladders in the park; checking out the Lower Sabie River; and talking to lots of stakeholders.
Professor Max Finlayson and Professor Royal Garner, leading coordinating authors of the Global Wetland Outlook were the presenters at an international webinar on Monday, Feb 7 as a World Wetland Day event. The webinar is co-sponsored by the Institute for Biodiversity Law and Policy, Stetson University, Florida, US, and the Ramsar Section, Society of Wetland Scientists, of which Max is President. Link to web cast https://stetson.ensemblevideo.com/hapi/v1/contents/permalinks/Jq24KtDr/view
Professor Manohar Pawar led a CSU global Indian Rajagiri social work short term visiting program in January with eight CSU social work and human services who participated in an international social work conference and visited welfare and developmental agencies in and around Kochi, Kerala, India.
Dr Lee Baumgartner visited Cambodia, the week October 15 to 19, where on October 16 he had a meeting with the Asia Development Bank (ADB) which is incorporating fish ladders into a suite of new development projects it has underway in Cambodia. The meeting was organised by Tob Chann Ann, the new director of the Cambodian Fisheries Department. While in Cambodia Leee was presented with the first set of designs for fish ladders (which his team have designed with ADB) which will be installed at the Damnak Chheukrom Irrigation Scheme in the Stung Pursat Catchment. “It’s again an example of research having development impacts,” says Lee. The activity is associated with the scaling out of the Fish Passage project.
Associate Professor Susan Mlcek was in New Zealand October 16 to 24 as the NZQA international academic moderator for the Bachelor of Bicultural [Bilingual] Social Work degree program delivered by Te Whare Wānanga ō Āotearoa. The Wānanga is one of three Government-designated tribal universities in NZ. This is the third of a four-year engagement that feeds into the accreditation approval process for this degree and will see Susan travel to campuses in Auckland, Gisborne, Hamilton, Tauranga, Palmerston North, and Wellington. Susan is tangata whenua from Tauranga, and a member of the Ngāi Te Rangi Iwi [tribe].
Professor Max Finlayson visited IHE Delft in The Netherlands, September 9-15, to renegotiate his formal link with them (he is the Ramsar Chair for the Wise Use of Wetlands) and to develop papers and future activities.
On August 8, Dr Lee Baumgartner and Dr John Conallin had a high level meeting with the Myanmar Department of Fisheries in Nay Pyi Taw organised by the Department’s Deputy Director General, U Myint Zin Htoo. Also at the two hour meeting to discuss future research opportunities was the Department’s Director of Research, Htun Win Myint and its Director of International Partnerships, Nyunt Win. The following day, together with ACIAR’s new Research Program Manager Ann Fleming, they travelled to Bago in Myanmar where they visited a fish paste factory and had a specially organised meeting with the Bago Regional Minister of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation, His Excellency Aung Zaw Naing. The team then travelled to the University of Yangon where they met with Associate Professor Kay Lwin Tun, Head of the university’s new Fisheries Department. The university has developed a new BSc in Fisheries and Aquaculture with its first intake of students in December this year. “We were given an informal request to collaborate with them as they develop their new program so we are now looking at potential twinning arrangements with the University of Yangon in terms of research and also teaching,” says Lee.
At the Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography meeting Professor Robyn Watts connected with researchers from the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) (one of the US Department of Energy national laboratories) who are coordinating the global research consortium WHONDRS (Worldwide Hydrobiogeochemistry Observation Network for Dynamic River Systems) https://whondrs.pnnl.gov. WHONDRS is a global effort to understand how major ecosystem drivers, such as dam operations, influence the holistic functioning of dynamic river corridor ecosystems. Robyn is in discussion with PNNL researchers to make Charles Sturt University a hub for Australian involvement in the WHONDRS program.
Associate Professor Rosemary Black, as a Visiting Pro Bono Professor, was in Myanmar for a number of months to work at the National Management Degree College, a public university in Yangon, where she was building tourism education capacity for sustainable tourism in Myanmar.
On July 4, Professor Max Finlayson, Associate Professor Catherine Allan and Dr Michael Mitchell took part in an ACIAR Impact Pathways in Monitoring and Evaluation discussion with Ted Rowley, a consultant to ACIAR, held at the Albury-Wodonga campus.
Following a visit to Australia last December by Indonesian experts scoping collaborative opportunities around fish passage sites in Indonesia, Dr Lee Baumgartner made a reciprocal visit to Indonesia, July 2 to 6 this year. While there Dr Baumgartner ran an international class on “Fish Passage on Inland Fisheries” at the Agency for Marine Affairs and Fisheries Research and Development (AMAFRAD) offices in Djakarta that was live-streamed to 8000 employees; visited the Australian Embassy in Djakarta where he met with ACIAR staff based at the embassy; flew to Palembang, Sumatra, where he ran a class on fish passage for about 80 participants at the Inland Fisheries Research Institute’s offices; and visited the Perjaya Dam site, the site of the first ever fish ladder in Indonesia,and irrigation district in South Sumatra where he met with the regional directors of fisheries and irrigation.
Dr Lee Baumgartner attended the ACIAR fisheries project leaders’ meeting in Brisbane, February 18 and 19 where project leaders were briefed on ACIAR's new 10 year plan.
ILWS members Dr Michael Mitchell, Dr Richard Culas and Institute Adjunct Dr Jay Punthakey were part of an ACIAR delegation that met with Mr Sajid Jamal Abro, Secretary Agriculture, Supply & Prices Government of Sindh and his team in Karachi, Pakistan, February 7. The meeting was to further scope the ACIAR project Improving Salinity and Agricultural Water Management in the Indus Basin of Pakistan. Dr Michael Mitchell, Dr Jay Punthakey and Dr Richard Culas also attended a meeting at the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature) office in Karachi, Pakistan on February 10.
Dr James Van Dyke gave a presentation on "Integrating animal reproduction: applications from evolution to conservation" to the Department of Ecology, James Madison University in Virginia, U.S. on January 26.
From Jan 24-26 Professor Max Finlayson was in Kusatsu City in Japan for a meeting of the Scientific Committee of the International Lake Environment Committee (ILEC) to plan for the International Lake conference later in the year.
From Jan 15 -19, Professor Max Finlayson attended a Ramsar STRP(Scientific and Technical Review Panel) meeting in Gland, Switzerland.
Professor Manohar Pawar was invited to deliver a special guest lecture at University of Mysore, Mysore, India, on January 8, 2018. He presented some of the findings of his ARC Discovery project, Virtuous practitioners: empowering social workers.
In November Dr Wayne Robinson and Dr Lee Baumgartner attended a meeting with Mr Khamhou Phanthavong from LAO’s Department of Irrigation, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, (MAF) and representatives from the World Bank in Vientiane, LAO. The meeting was to discuss a MOU between CSU (and in country partners), the WB and MAF to oversee a monitoring program to evaluate the efficacy of a number of MAF works that have been installed on irrigation structures with an aim to improve fish migration.
In November Dr Lee Baumgartner participated in a country consultation between Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research. The aim was to present the new Xayaburi Dam research program to a wide-range of stakeholders including the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, the Ministry of Energy and Mines and the Mekong River Commission.
In November last year, Professor Maree Bernoth went to Malaysia at the invitation of Nambucca Valley Care, an aged care organisation that CSU has an MOU with. While in Malaysia she looked at that country's existing aged care facilities and liaised with Malaysian universities and talked about their education programs
From November 6 to 9 Professor Max Finlayson was in Florida in the US where he:
Professor Max Finlayson went to The Netherlands in September where he met with researchers from IHE Delft to discuss collaboration as part of his shared appointment as the Ramsar Chair for the Wise Use of Wetlands.
On September 7, Dr Baumgartner gave a presentation to the US State Department in Washington on the ACIAR Fish Passage project and sustainable river development. This followed an informal meeting on the previous day with staff from the US Embassy who specialise in Mekong issues.
Dr Lee Baumgartner attended a project planning meeting on fish protection in irrigation systems in September in Canberra with representatives from the Department of Primary Industries, Arthur Rylah Institute, the South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI) Aquatic Sciences, NSW Agriculture and Tenure Chasers.
While in Lahore in Pakistan August 21-25 for the ACIAR funded Improving groundwater management to enhance agriculture and farming livelihoods in Pakistan project to progress the project and set future actions, Professor Max Finlayson took part in a meeting with that country's Department of Environmental Protection to discuss water pollution and wetland issues.
In July, Dr Lee Baumgartner and ILWS PhD student Vu Vi An (who represented the Vietnamese government) attended a planning meeting in Bangkok on extending the outcomes of the ACIAR Fish Passage project in Laos to Cambodia, Myanmar and Vietnam. The meeting was with people from Myanmar Department of Fisheries, ACIAR, US Geological Survey and fisheries agencies in Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia. The Cambodian Secretary of Fisheries His Excellency Nao Thuok, who was at the meeting, has taken a personal interest in seeing this work extended to Cambodia and briefed the Cambodian prime minister on the workshop.
On June 20 Professor Max Finlayson took part in a webinar on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 6.6 which is about determining change in wetlands at the global scale.
In June Dr Lee Baumgartner and adjunct Professor Martin Mallen-Cooper participated in a scoping tour of Xayaburi Dam, the first mainstem dam to be constructed on the Lower Mekong River, northern Laos. The trip was a collaborative effort between Australian and USA scientists to advise on a monitoring program that will be implemented when the dam becomes operational in 2019. The visit occurred by invitation of the Xayaburi Power Company Limited.
Dr Wayne Robinson worked at the Panthera office in Cali, Columbia for five weeks in April and May helping to process and analysing numerous data sets the NGO, which is working to save jaguars, has accumulated over the past several years.
As a member of the Global Mangrove Watch, an Alliance whose purpose is to provide an update on the change in global mangrove cover since 1995, Professor Max Finlayson had video conference meetings in March and June.
Institute Director Professor Max Finlayson was one of the contributors to, and amount the 200 signatories of, the San Juan Statement on Climate Change posted by the Society of Wetland Scientists in June. The Statement supports the importance of international frameworks for addressing climate change and recognises the role that wetlands play in the carbon cycle.
Professor Max Finlayson had a Skype conference, April 10, with the Institute for Wetland Research, China Academy of Forestry to discuss a proposal for a submission under the China Mega Research Initiative. The project is on wetland restoration and management.
Institute Director Professor Max Finlayson, as a member of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands Scientific and Technical Review Panel, is involved regularly in its meetings and workshops. These include:
As the treasurer of Guiding Organisations Australia, Associate Professor Rosemary Black represented Australia at the 17th International Convention of the World Federation of Tourist Guide Associations (WFTGA) with the convention theme of "Iran: Friendly faces, open arms, ancient cultures, timeless charms" held January 28 to February 1, in Tehran, Iran.