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Title: Ecohealth: A health check for our waterways. Design, methods and reporting of waterway health in coastal NSW, Australia
Contributor(s): Ryder, D  (author); Mika, S  (author)orcid ; Vincent, B  (author)
Publication Date: 2016
Open Access: Yes
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The Ecosystem Health Monitoring Program (Ecohealth) is a comprehensive estuarine and freshwater monitoring program that reports on the health of our waterways. The Ecohealth program includes a number of physical, chemical and biological indicators to determine the health of waterways. The combination of waterway health indicators that identify short-term (water chemistry), intermediate-term (zooplankton, macroinvertebrates), and long-term responses (fish, geomorphology and riparian vegetation) provides a robust program for quantifying, reporting and communicating waterway health, and prioritising management actions.

The Ecohealth Monitoring Program outlines a framework for the development of a catchment-based aquatic health monitoring program for rivers and estuaries with the aim of providing consistency in monitoring and reporting, and establishing the partnerships required for local and regional dissemination of outcomes. The development and application of specific monitoring frameworks, and standardised data collection, analysis and reporting underpins the Ecohealth program. This standardised approach facilitates an effective reporting mechanism to communicate water quality and resource condition information to the wider public, stakeholders and managers.

Ecohealth enhances the ability of natural resource managers to monitor, measure and report on ecosystem health by establishing a statistically-valid and quality assured sampling regime. The benefits of a standardised, region-wide system include:

• consistency and efficiency in project design, sampling, analysis and reporting
• improved management, access, sharing and interpretation of data among all partners
• catchment-wide reporting – from upland streams, large rivers, coastal lagoons, estuaries and near-shore marine areas
• improved evidence-based decision making on NRM activities and investment, including improved long-term management of catchments and waterways through undertaking Ecohealth monitoring at regular intervals
• enhanced communication about waterway health between NRM agencies, local government, other stakeholders and the community
• improved public information on waterway health and management actions in local catchments through the production of Report Cards.

The products generated by the Ecohealth program cover high-level scientific technical reports that provide an in-depth presentation and analysis of data collected, as well as Ecohealth Report Cards that aim to clearly disseminate waterway health outcomes and management initiatives to engage with local communities. In addition to communication products, Ecohealth also provides a scientifically robust dataset as the basis for State of Catchment (SoC) and State of Environment (SoE).

Publication Type: Report
Publisher: University of New England
Place of Publication: Armidale, Australia
Fields of Research (FoR) 2020: 310304 Freshwater ecology
Socio-Economic Objective (SEO) 2020: 180201 Assessment and management of coastal and estuarine ecosystems
HERDC Category Description: R1 Report
Extent of Pages: 48
Appears in Collections:Report
School of Environmental and Rural Science

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