ILWS - Charles Sturt University
ILWS - Charles Sturt University

Environmental Water

While this theme is the platform for the Institute's two major environmental water monitoring projects, and related projects, in the Edward-Wakool and the Murrumbidgee river systems, it is also home for the Institute-based  Fish Ecology Collaborative Research Unit,  and other fish ecology and irrigation technology projects. Past, current, emerging and potential research areas include wetland inventory and assessment, ecological indicators, ecology of aquatic biota, ecosystem response to dam and fishway management, aquatic chemistry, adaptive management and riverine ecosystem process. Social, cultural and institutional arrangements for river and wetland management also feature in this theme.

  • Current Projects
  • Completed Projects
  • Higher Degree Research
  • Research Activities

Current Projects

Developing design guidelines for diversion screens that save native fish and enhance agricultural productivity. Baumgartner, L., Ning, N. & Silva, L. (2018-2020) Ian Potter Foundation, $299,331 Project details

Ecological assessment of the status of the Southern Bell Frog and Sloane's froglet in Mywurlie station, One Tree NSW. Wassens, S., Knight, A., Walcott, A. & Heard, G. (2017-2018) Murrumbidgee Irrigation Ltd, $46,948. Project details

EWKR food web fish community trophic dynamics. Kopf, R. (2018-2019) CEWO via MDFRC, $40,000 Project details

Fishing for answers: Unlocking spawning and recruitment for Murray-Darling recreational species.. Baumgartner, L., Doyle, K., Silva, L., Thiem, J. (2016-2020) Recreational Fishing Trust. $100,000 Project details

In search of the elusive Mekong salmon. Baumgartner, L. & Vu. V.A. (PhD student), (2016-2019) National Geographic Society Research Grant, $30,080 Project details

Long Term Intervention Monitoring project - Edward Wakool Selected Area. Stage 2. Watts, R., McCasker, N., Howitt, J., Kopf, R.K. with NSW Department of Primary Industries (Fisheries), Monash University (Water Studies Centre), Griffith University, NSW OEH, and Murray LLS. (2014-2019) CEWO, $3.36M   Project Webpage

Long Term Intervention Monitoring project-Murrumbidgee Selected Area. Stage 2.. Wassens, S., Hall, A., Wolfenden, B. with NSW Department of Primary Industries (Fisheries), University of NSW, Riverina LLS, and NSW OEH, (2014-2019) CEWO, $3.5M  Project Webpage

Native and invasive fish dispersal, spawning and trophic dynamics during a managed river-floodplain connection.  Kopf, R., Wassens, S., &  Mc Phan, L. (2018-2019) CEWO, $236,787 Project details

Optimising acoustic monitoring for frogs in the Koondrook-Perricoota. Walcott, A., Hall, A., Wassens, S., Nimmo, D. (2018) Forestry Corporation of NSW $29,623 Project details

Phase 2: Ecological assessment of the status of the Southern bell frog and Sloane’s froglet in Mywurlie Station, One Tree, NSW. Knight, A., Wassens, S., & Heard, G. (2018-2019) Murrumbidgee Irrigation Ltd, $45,673

PIT tag data analysis project.  Huang, X., Baumgartner, L., and Li, J. (2018-2019) Karltek Pty Ltd., $25,000 Project details

Research activities for the Fish theme of the Environmental Water Knowledge Research (EWKR) project. Contract variation. Humphries, P. in collaboration with MDRFC (2017-2019) CEWO via MDRFC, $206,587. Project details

Completed Projects

ANDS Collection Enhancement Project.  Finlayson, M. (2017) Monash University ($30,000)

Automated call records to evaluate frog responses to environmental watering. Wassens, S., Hall, A., Nimmo, D. & Walcott, A.(2016-2017) Department of Environment & Climate Change, $30,000

Billabong-Yanco Creek Wetland Monitoring Project. Wassens, S., Wilson, B., Walcott, A., Hall, A. & Wolfenden, B. (2017-2018) Murray LLS, $80,218 Project details

Complementary measures for native fish.  Baumgartner, L. (2017) CSIRO/Murray-Darling Basin Authority. $33,000

Environmental Monitoring and Training for Aboriginal Communities. Wassens, S., Allan, C., Whitsed, R. & Bond, J. (2017-2018) NSW OEH, $20,000 Project details

Environmentally sustainable irrigation solutions for the Murray-Darling Basin.  Baumgartner, L.  (2017) Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering-Global Connections Fund – Bridging Grant, $49,966

Koondrook-Perricoota Floodplain Runoff project. Watts, R., Howitt, J. (2016-2017) Forestry Corporation of NSW ($49,501), ILWS and CSU's Faculty of Science Project details

Monitoring ecosystem responses to Return Flows in the Koondrook-Pericoota Forest, Wolfenden, B., Jenkins, K. & McCasker, N. (2016-17) NSW DPI (Fisheries), $36,908

Recovery of native fish communities in the Murray-Darling Basin. Baumgartner, L. (2017) Fisheries Research and Development Corporation, $18,948.

Short Term Intervention Monitoring-waterbird and prey responses to inundation of the Western Lakes. Jenkins, K., Wolfenden, B. Wassens, S. (2016-2017) CEWO, $52,983

2016-2017 Murrumbidgee Bird Breeding Event.  Brandis, K. (UNSW), Spencer, J. (NSW OEH); Wassens, S. (2016-2017) CEWO, $142,191(Contract variation for the Murrumbidgee LTIM project)

Vegetation Monitoring in the Colligen Creek System. Watts, R. (2015-2018) Murray Local Land Services, $70,000 Project details

Understanding historic fish populations in the Murray River. Humphries, P. (2015-2018) Murray Darling Basin Authority, $27,273

Water, carbon & economics: resolving complex linkages for river health, Finlayson, C.M. (chief investigator) & Hatton MacDonald, D (CSIRO) (partner investigator) in an  ARC Linkage project led by Southern Cross University. (2013-2017)

Full list of Completed Projects

Current HDR Students

Inam Ahmed: Modelling in-stream hydraulics: Investigating the impact of scale. Principal supervisor Associate Professor Robyn Watts

Dale Campbell: Reconstructing past floodplain environments. Principal supervisor Dr Paul Humphries

Paul Kew: Adaptive Grid Refinement using the Generalized Finite Difference Method. Principal supervisor Dr Zhenquan Li (Jan)

Kendal Krause: Zooplankton in the Murrumbidgee: the effects of native and exotic fish species, density and behaviour on zooplankton community structure. Principal supervisor Associate Professor Skye Wassens

Matt O'Connell: Exploring the potential of taxidermy Murray cod mounts to inform past environmental conditions. Principal supervisor Dr Paul Humphries

Michael Vanderzee: Socio-ecological impacts of water recovery for the environment in the Murray-Darling Basin. Principal supervisor Professor Max Finlayson

Research Activities

As well undertaking externally funded research projects, ILWS members (including Adjunct members) are also engaged in research activities/projects that have either received internal funding from ILWS and/or CSU; are not managed by ILWS; or are non-funded but aligned with their research interests.
Examples under this theme include:

  • effects of flooding on black box woodlands in North West Victoria
  • post-doc research on the historical ecology of Murray Cod
  • a glasshouse experiment to examine carbon and nutrient release and effects on dissolved oxygen (DO) following the inundation of different types of soils, grasses and crops from the Edward-Wakool floodplain
  • a volunteer international research collaboration investigating carbon emissions from dry wetlands and river sediments around the world