In developing the Murray-Darling Basin Plan, the Murray–Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) used an indicator site method to assess the environmental water needs of the MDB using the best science available at the time (2009).
DPI Fisheries (NSW) in partnership with the Arthur Rylah Institute (ARI) were contracted by the MDBA to undertake a review of the information available (as of 2015) regarding the flow requirements of fish in the Southern MDB.
Key advances in our understanding of fish and flow relationships since 2009 include:
The information synthesised in the review of fish and flow relationships was then used to develop a framework to apply this knowledge. In this document we formulate an approach that will support decision making in the application of environmental water for fish.
It is anticipated the outputs of this project will assist agencies with environmental water management responsibilities in the implementation of Murray–Darling Basin Plan.
Responsible water management and the prioritisation of hydrograph requirements within and between systems (both spatially and temporally) will require coordinated efforts by water managers across both the Southern and Northern MDB, and sustained consultation with expert fish ecologists.
The framework presented here will be trialled through monitoring and evaluation of Basin Plan Implementation over the next 5 years. Knowledge gained will contribute to improved adaptive management of native fish into the future.
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Fisheries Manager, Aquatic Habitat Rehabilitation