Living Murray Intervention Assessment Framework - M/BUS/113 DA197
MDFRC Technical Report
The authors were contracted by the Murray-Darling Basin Commission (MDBC) to develop a prioritised list of hypotheses to guide the MDBC in its decision making process for the allocation of Intervention Monitoring funding for 2006-07. A series of three questionnaires was developed to (1) formulate conceptual models, (2) select important processes / hypotheses, and (3) prioritise the important processes / hypotheses. The questionnaires addressed nine management interventions (from the Living Murray Outcomes Evaluation Framework (MDBC, 2006)) and how they influenced the sustainability of native fish, bird and vegetation communities. People with ecological expertise in the areas of fish, birds and vegetation were nominated by The Living Murray Asset Managers from each of Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia to participate in the questionnaire series. A total of 18 people (including the authors) participated. Questionnaire 1 involved the formulation of conceptual models by identifying important processes that linked the nine management interventions to sustainable communities of native fish, birds and vegetation. Responses to Questionnaire 1 were collated, merged and reworded with care to retain the essence of each process. Questionnaire 2 allowed participants to identify the most important processes from the collated list by allocating points within each conceptual model to the processes they considered most critical in influencing a sustainable native fish, bird or vegetation community. Participants also allocated points to the nine management interventions they considered most critical in achieving sustainable native (fish, bird or vegetation) communities. The highest scoring processes for each of fish, birds and vegetation were selected to form the basis of the multi-criteria analysis of Questionnaire 3. The purpose of the final questionnaire was to prioritise the short-list of the most important processes. Participants scored each process (resulting from the particular management intervention) along a scale of 0-10 for each of ten questions and the median score across participants was calculated. As each question may vary in its perceived importance, weightings were applied to each of the ten questions. Weightings were determined at an independent workshop conducted by the MDBC on 14 September 2006, and involved practitioners from the various Assets. Six of the ten questions were selected for inclusion in the multi-criteria analysis, and the 12 attendees each allocated 100 points between the six questions (the remaining four questions received a weighting of zero), with the median score for each question used as its weighting. For each process, the selected weightings were multiplied against the median scores for the ten questions. The total score for each process was the sum of its ten sub-scores. Prioritised (ranked) lists of processes / hypotheses were generated based on the descending total scores for each of fish, birds and vegetation and are provided in this report and as an Excel workbook. A series of recommendations are also provided to deal with several issues that arose during the questionnaire series. It is envisaged that the priority order will change through time as new knowledge is generated and new risks emerge. We believe that the process employed in this project will enable rapid adjustment to the priority list in accordance with adaptive management principles.