ILWS - Charles Sturt University
ILWS - Charles Sturt University

Dr Ben Wolfenden

Dr Ben Wolfenden

Dr Ben Wolfenden is an experienced field ecologist who has worked across both ecological research and environmental water management. His scientific expertise spans multiple disciplines, including leaf litter processing, restoration of rivers with large woody debris, macroinvertebrate drift and ecosystem metabolism. Most of his research centres about environmental flows monitoring, seeking to evaluate and refine environmental watering by better understanding flow-ecology relationships. He has worked primarily in regulated systems, including the Hunter River, Snowy River, Macquarie Marshes and Lowbidgee Floodplain. His collaborative work in the Macquarie Marshes contributed to the development of environmental watering programs by the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service. Ben's water management experience includes time spent working for both state (NSW) and federal governments. While working at the NSW Office of Water he provided technical advice for managing environmental flows in the Snowy River and helped monitor the ecological outcomes of water sharing plans. He also worked for the Commonwealth Environmental Water Office where he collaborated with multiple partners to deliver environmental water in the Murrumbidgee Catchment. He has specific knowledge of ecological assets as well as methods and constraints to environmental water delivery in the Murrumbidgee.

Research Interests

  • Ecosystem function and biogeochemistry of river and wetland ecosystems
  • Adaptive management of environmental water
  • Ecohydrology

Bachelor of  Science, University of New England, 2001
Bachelor of Science (Hons) – University of New England 2003 
PhD, University of New England, 2010


Selected Publications

Peer Reviewed Papers

Wolfenden, B. J., Wassens, S. M., Jenkins, K. M., Baldwin, D. S., Kobayashi, T. & Maguire, J. (2018) Adaptive Management of Return Flows: Lessons from a Case Study in Environmental Water Delivery to a Floodplain River. Environmental Management 61: 481-496 DOI 10.1007/s00267-017-0861-0

Technical Reports

Wassens, S., Wolfenden, B., Spencer, J., Thiem, J., Jenkins, K., Hall, A. (2017). Long Term Intervention Monitoring Project, Murrumbidgee System Selected Area, Progress Report number 13, October 2017. Charles Sturt University, Institute for Land, Water and Society. Prepared for the Commonwealth Environmental Water Office.

Wassens, S., Wolfenden, B., Spencer, J., Thiem, J., Jenkins, K., Lenon, E., Hall, A., (2016) Long Term Intervention Monitoring Project, Murrumbidgee System Selected Area, Progress Report number 7, March 2016. Prepared for the Commonwealth Environmental Water Office.

Wassens, S., Wolfenden, B., Spencer, J., Thiem, J., Jenkins, K., Lenon, E., Hall, A., (2015). Long Term Intervention Monitoring Project, Murrumbidgee System Selected Area, Progress Report number 6, January 2016

Wassens, S., Wolfenden, B., Spencer, J., Thiem, J., Jenkins, K., Lenon, E., Hall, A., (2015). Long Term Intervention Monitoring Project, Murrumbidgee System Selected Area, Progress Report number 5, September 2015

Wassens, S., Thiem, J., Wolfenden, B., Spencer, J., Jenkins, K., Lenon, E., Hall, A., (2015) Long Term Intervention Monitoring Project, Murrumbidgee System Selected Area, Progress Report number 4, June 2015. CSU, ILWS. Prepared for CEWO

Wassens, S., Thiem, J., Wolfenden, B., Spencer, J., Lenon, E., Hall, A., Clarke-Wood, B. (2015). Long term intervention monitoring project, Murrumbidgee System Selected Area, Progress Report number 3, March 2015. CSU, ILWS. Prepared for CEWO

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Current Projects

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

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

Monitoring ecosystem responses to Return Flows in the Koondrook- Pericoota Forest. Wolfenden, B., Jenkins, K. & McCasker, N. (2016-2017) NSW DPI (Fisheries), $36,908

Long Term Monitoring Project-Murrumbidgee Selected Area-Return Flow Variation. Wassens, S., Wolfenden, B. & Jenkins, K. (2015) CEWO, $59,164

Yanco Creek Environmental flows monitoring: 2015-16 fish and vegetation surveys. Wassens, S. & Wolfenden, B. (2015-2016) NSW Office of Environment & Heritage, $20,000

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

Completed Projects

2016-2017 Murrumbidgee Targeted Hypoxic Blackwater Monitoring. Wassens, S., Wolfenden, B., Walcott, A. (2016-2017) CEWO, $8,545 (Contract variation for the LTIM project)