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Improved evidence and reporting back to communities

Healthy waterways provide the essential building blocks for regional growth, liveability and prosperity. The Victorian Waterway Management Program includes, but is not limited to:

  • environmental water management
  • integrated and improved catchment management
  • improvement and protection of wetlands
  • improvement and protection of riparian zones.

Monitoring and research helps us improve the way we manage waterways. Water for Victoria emphasises the need to evaluate changes resulting from our management actions and track progress towards program objectives. With strategic research, we can fill critical knowledge gaps.

Statewide environmental condition assessments

Victoria is a pioneer of using broad-scale environmental condition monitoring of waterways with the Index of Stream Condition (ISC). Three ISC assessments have been conducted and provided valuable insights into the environmental condition of rivers and streams.

From this work, we learned it was possible to extend the interval between assessments. Environmental resource condition is unlikely to change in response to management interventions over short intervals.

We will alternate comprehensive environment assessments every 4 years between rivers, wetlands and estuaries. This means data on the condition of all major waterway types will be available regularly to support decision-making and reporting to the community.

The first state-wide Index of Estuary Condition (IEC) assessment was completed in 2021.

Wetlands are now the focus for statewide assessment with reporting due in 2025.

Targeted surveillance monitoring

Frequent surveillance monitoring at priority locations helps guide decision-making and allows us to report back to communities.

The Native Fish Report Card reports on the condition of recreational and non-recreational threatened native fish at 10 priority waterways.

We have bolstered surveillance monitoring at Victoria's 12 Ramsar sites. Regular assessments of ecological character will take place to ensure we meet our international obligations.

The Stream Change Assessment project (SCA) uses remotely sensed data to assess changes in woody riparian vegetation at targeted river reaches.

Great Australian Platypus Search

The Department of Environment, Energy and Climate Action (DEECA) also helped with the Great Australian Platypus Search.

With the help of citizen scientists, it was the largest systematic investigation of platypuses ever undertaken with platypus occupancy assessed at over 1800 sites in 2021.

Management intervention monitoring

In measuring the effectiveness of our management activities, we need to be able to answer the following questions:

  • Did our management actions achieve the desired change in the environment?
  • Are we applying the appropriate amount or type of management effort to achieve the desired environmental change?

We can demonstrate progress by answering these questions through some of the programs we run which include the:

These programs assess the responses of vegetation and animals to environmental water delivered to rivers and wetlands. The programs also evaluate the responses of vegetation to livestock exclusion and weed management.

Programs are also underway to assess various management actions at Victoria’s Ramsar sites.

Strategic research

Strategic research investigates the relationships between waterway management and outcomes. It can also identify emerging threats to waterways.

Regular review and evaluation of the knowledge base will help us direct our efforts towards areas of high uncertainty. This focus will have real management benefits.

Page last updated: 16/09/23