Oral Presentation Australian Society for Limnology Congress 2013

Re-thinking riverine bioassessment: lessons learnt in Victoria (#106)

Leon Metzeling 1 , Paul Leahy 1 , Paul Wilson 2
  1. EPA Victoria, MACLEOD, VIC, Australia
  2. Department of Environment and Primary Industry, Melbourne, Vic, Australia

A macroinvertebrate bioassessment program covering six catchments was first introduced in Victoria in 1990. It was subsequently expanded through various state and federal initiatives from the mid ‘90s to be a truly statewide program. In that time, the primary objective was condition assessment and this drove its design, analysis and reporting, primarily through the Index of Stream Condition. In recent years, it has become apparent to both DEPI and EPA that this objective was no longer sufficient. Other questions or needs now have greater prominence and require answers. These include enhanced understanding of the key drivers of river health, particularly around the influence of the riparian zone and the specific impacts of broader land-use, monitoring the effectiveness of management interventions and risk characterization of water quality problems. A new program has been designed to address these issues while also recognising the need to maintain some ongoing surveillance at a small set of sites which are aligned with the collection of other data (hydrological, meteorological and water quality) for the broader assessment of condition. Genetic approaches are also rapidly developing and this will change how we do bioassesment in the near future. The processes undertaken to reach this point and the shape of the new program will be discussed in the presentation.