Short Virtual Presentation & Digital Poster 10th Australian Stream Management Conference 2021

Assessing the benefits of stream frontage management to the condition of the Campaspe River (#20)

Jackie Myers 1 , Claudette Kellar 1 , Warish Ahmed 2 , Vincent Pettigrove 1
  1. Aquatic Environmental Stress Research Group, RMIT University, Bundoora, Victoria, Australia
  2. Land and Water, CSIRO, Dutton Park, Queensland, Australia

Coliban Water has funded a further 10-kilometre section of the North Central CMA’s “Caring for the Campaspe” stream frontage management program (SFMP).  Designed to improve the ecological condition of the Campaspe River by improving riverside vegetation, the program removes willows and revegetates with native plants and provides fencing to exclude stock from the river corridor.  The AQUEST research group, from RMIT University, was engaged by Coliban Water to assess the environmental benefits of this program to river health.

To assess the benefits of the SFM works to river health, a variety of indicators including water quality, aquatic ecology, nutrient availability and ecotoxicology are monitored at 8 sites along the Campaspe River, from Carlsruhe to Redesdale, and in the tributaries of Post Office Creek and Snipes Creek. Monitoring is conducted yearly over a 5-year period, targeted in periods when the river is flowing.

The first 2-years of monitoring show some sites are in physically very poor condition, with poor water quality and aquatic ecology; while other sites are in good condition, dominated by native vegetation, good water quality and aquatic ecology.  Several pollutants were present including elevated nutrients, heavy metals and several pesticides. The major contributors to sites in poor condition, were the lack of quality habitat and urban, agricultural and industrial runoff, treated and untreated wastewater inputs.

This program shows how using a variety of physical and ecological indicators can provide a greater understanding of river health and the majors factors influencing it.

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