Development of Community Engagement in Institutional Monitoring of Environmental Condition - M/BUS/104
MDFRC Technical Report
In March 2006, the Murray Darling Freshwater Research Centre was commissioned and funded by the North East Catchment Management Authority to develop a framework for engaging communities in environmental flow projects. River and stream ecosystems require specific flow regimes to provide habitat for many biota and support a wide range of critical ecological processes. When significant alterations in magnitude, timing and duration of flows occur to the natural flow regime from river regulation, damming or water extraction, the aquatic ecosystem can be threatened. There is a need therefore to provide an appropriate balance of water for use in industry, agriculture and domestic use and for environmental purposes. Environmental flows are flows designed to mimic the natural flow regime and are managed for the purpose of maintaining or improving the components, functions, processes, and ecological values of rivers and their floodplains. As a change to the flow regime through the provision of environmental flows can have an affect on various and widespread stakeholders and community groups, it is vital that they be informed, included and engaged in the management and decision making processes of environmental flows. This will encourage a greater degree of support from stakeholders and community groups towards such changes and will allow them to help guide and take responsibility for the decisions and resulting actions that are undertaken. This report summarises different environmental flows, their effects on aquatic biota and stakeholders and the frameworks used for environmental flow design and monitoring and community engagement. The report then produces a combined framework for engaging communities in environmental flow projects. The framework for engaging communities in environmental flow projects presented in this report has been designed for use by scientists, managers and agency staff involved in natural resource management, rather than targeting community groups themselves.
MDFRC funding agency: North East Catchment Management Authority
MDFRC client: North East Catchment Management Authority