Feature Length Pre-Recorded Presentation 10th Australian Stream Management Conference 2021

From fragmentation to interconnection – A landscape scale approach for floodplain wetland prioritisation and management (#10)

Simon Treadwell 1 , Lisa Duncan 1 , Sarah Gaskill 2
  1. Jacobs Group (Australia) Pty Ltd, Melbourne, VIC, Australia
  2. Melbourne Water, Melbourne, Vic, Australia

Melbourne Water delivers a Billabong Program aimed at restoring water regimes of disconnected floodplain wetlands to improve ecological, social and cultural values. This program has successfully improved values at a site scale but in recognition that floodplains are a larger-scale interconnected system, a new approach was needed to ensure the greatest benefit is being achieved.

We held a series of workshops with stakeholders to explain the need for a new approach and collaboratively develop a landscape-scale approach to billabong management.

We developed a framework to develop objectives at a landscape scale. It identifies environmental water actions and complementary actions. The application of this framework ensures sites are managed to optimise outcomes both at individual sites and to achieve the vision and objectives of the system at a landscape scale.

Traditionally, environmental water planning and delivery is site-based approach rather than landscape-based. This means multiple wetlands can end up being managed for the same values and opportunities to provide for a more diverse suite of values can be missed. The new framework enables consideration of broader landscape-scale objectives when prioritising wetlands. This results in a mosaic of different wetlands capable of providing for the full range of values that stakeholders and the community want to see represented.  The approach is transferable to multiple locations. The approach has been trialled for the Yarra River floodplain and Melbourne Water is now in the process of planning multi-year environmental watering to achieve outcomes at multiple sites across the landscape. 

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