Ecosystem Health Monitoring Program Dr Julia Playford Director Water Quality and Aquatic Ecosystem Health
Where do we want to be?Healthy Ecosystems Poor Ecosystem Health
Why do we monitor?EHMP based on a conceptual model that integratesscientific understanding with community derived environmental values
Staged Approach in Design and ImplementationMonitor Ecosystem Health • Assess effectiveness of environmental protection measures (e.g. stormwater controls, STP upgrades,of Waterways to: riparian vegetation) • Meet discharge and other licensing requirements Design of Implementation of Extension to Estuarine/Marine Estuarine/Marine Northern & Program Program Southern regions Design of Freshwater Trial of Freshwater Implementation ofEstablish links between Program Program Freshwateragencies ProgramSet objectives based onstakeholder needs
The SEQ Waterways Ecosystem Health Report Card represents a comprehensivemarine, estuarine and freshwater ecosystem health monitoring program (snapshot ofthe health of 18 catchments, 18 estuaries and 9 zones in Moreton Bay) 254 estuarine 135 freshwater and marine sites sites
Report Card Grades reflect ecosystem health of waterways (achieve environmentalvalues)
What is the Report Card? Most publicised output of the SEQ Healthy Waterways Partnership Easy-to-understand snapshot of ecosystem health A to F Designed to provide an insight into the effectiveness of investments in waterway and catchment management Split into two reporting zones, freshwater and estuarine/marine Each has its own objectives, parameters, methods and analysis
What goes into a Report Card Grade? Estuarine Report Card Grade Water Quality (EHI) Biological (BHR) (70%) (30%)- Bay: TN, Chl-a, Secchi depth, Sewage nitrogen (δ15N), - Bay: Seagrass distribution, Seagrass depth range, Coral Lyngbya cover- Estuary: TN, TP, Chl-a, Turbidity, DO - Estuary: Seagrass distribution, Riparian assessment, Sewage nitrogen (δ15N), Nutrient mixingi.e. mostly parameters that i.e. Categorised, qualitative, can be compared to an not assessed against a established guideline guideline
BHR: Coral monitoring in Moreton Bay 3 x 20m replicate transects at 5 reef sites in Moreton Bay
Riparian Assessment Tool Boat based Designed to be used underway Allows the entire system to be assessed (no sub sampling)
Riparian Assessment Tool • records multiple attributes every second
Percentage A 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 lb e B rt re 45 m C Bri er ab s b 46 ba a n ge e 33 Tr M a r ee oo 58 ch y 47 C Ox ab le oo y l 51 C ture oo 54 C me ur r ru a m 28 Ep bin ra 29 pa Lo h 95 MEstuary oo gan lo 46 ol ah N er 55 an g N 5 o Pi os m a pa 82 m Ta a 75 lle Pi b u ne dg 62 Ti era ng 47 al pa 92 % Natural for 18 Estuaries in South East Queensland in 2007
Freshwater Streams RC 2009 Improvements in biological indicators (macroinvertebrates and fish), reflecting positive influence of higher flows – more native species and lower proportion of alien fish. Decline in nutrient cycling processes in most reporting areas, reflecting the negative influence of catchment loads (with high nutrients) on the nutrient cycling processes in river systems.
Overall score of streams in 2009 (0.805) very similar to previous year’s (0.803). Spring Autumn Annual 2008 2009 Higher Higher Higher Higher Lower Lower Lower
Trends from long-term datasets (Case: Bremer River) EHMP 2001 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009Freshwater N/A F F D- D- D- D- D D- D+Estuarine-Marine F F F F F F F D- F F Bremer River Estuary TN Bremer River Estuary TP 3.5 2 1.8 3 1.6 2.5 1.4 1.2 2 TN (m g/l) 1 TP (m g/l) 1.5 0.8 1 0.6 0.4 0.5 0.2 0 0 5 5 YR99/00 YR99/00 YR00/01 YR00/01 YR01/02 YR01/02 YR02/03 Sites YR02/03 Sites YR03/04 YR03/04 YR04/05 YR04/05 YR05/06 YR05/06 1 1 YR06/07 YR06/07 YR07/08 YR07/08 YR08/09 YR08/09 YR09/10 YR09/10 Years Years There have been substantial improvements in some aspects of the estuarine portion of the river system, but those improvements are not yet sufficient to result in changes in EHMP grades.
Why has the Report Card been successful?Because it’s really simple, A is good, F is bad and any grade change has beenmade for a definable reason (environmental or human induced)It has consistently generated lots of public interest, particularly following thelaunch – has become very politicalFrom an early stage it engaged a range of decision makers – politicians,catchment groups etcWe tend to get a good media coverage from the launch
New Products: On-line Report Card Launch of health-e-waterways : Data Integration System for SEQ waterways – first product is on-line Report Card
Reality check: Some waterways host infrastructure/ modifications required for society to function and obtaining high levels of ecological condition in some sections may be unrealistic. We need to acknowledge that 150+ years of human impacts won’t be fixed overnight.