Feature Length Live Virtual Presentation 10th Australian Stream Management Conference 2021

A quarter-century of evolution in Australian stream management (#2)

Kathryn Russell 1 , David Reid 2 , Geoff Vietz 3 , Ian Rutherfurd 4 , Apanie Wood 5 , Sarah Gregor 5 , Johanna Slijkerman 6 , Ben Pearson 7 , Myles Coker 8 , Jessica Walker 9
  1. University of Melbourne, Burnley, VIC, Australia
  2. DELWP, Melbourne
  3. Streamology, Bright
  4. University of Melbourne, Parkville
  5. Melbourne Water, Melbourne
  6. Water Technology, Wangaratta
  7. Hydrobiology, Brisbane
  8. GHD, Melbourne
  9. Earthwatch, Melbourne

Nine Australian Stream Management (ASM) conferences, and almost 900 papers, represents an immense opportunity to reflect on the evolution of our industry. We propose four hypotheses: (1) that collaboration and interdisciplinarity have increased over time; (2) that social and cultural values of waterways have increasingly been recognised; (3) that good waterway management (incorporating scientific, social, cultural, and economic perspectives) is increasingly being integrated into policy; and (4) that we have moved from reactive to more strategic approaches to waterway management. We verified that these hypotheses aligned with the perceptions of the ASM community using a survey. We tested them with a structured review of past ASM conference proceedings papers (n = 855) from 1996 to 2018, building on previous efforts (e.g. Fryirs et al. 2013, doi.org/10.1071/MF12355). The review included author details and affiliations, interdisciplinarity, core themes, methods, consideration of policy advances, and word frequency analysis. Our analysis showed mixed support for hypothesis 1; authorship teams were increasingly large and diverse in gender and institutional representation but there was no evidence of increasing interdisciplinarity or interstate collaboration. There was little to no support for hypotheses 2, 3 and 4. These structured reflections increase understanding of how our industry has evolved and where we can be more strategic about how we shape its future.

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