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Environmental Water Matters Forum 2017
Wurundjeri camp (Source: aboriginalhistoryoftheyarra.com.au)Yarra River (Source: Melbourne Water)
Environmental Water Matters Forum 2017
Environmental Water Matters Forum 2017
Environmental Water Matters Forum 2017
Environmental Water Matters Forum 2017
VEWH update
(before morning tea) Social research
session
(after lunch)
‘Top five
objectives’ session
(after morning tea)
Before the development of dams, weirs and channels
After the development of dams, weirs and channels
Increased
water use
Decreased river
and wetland
health
Government response to decline in river and wetland health:
Government capped water entitlements
(All water is now fully allocated)
Government invested $$ to recover water for the
environment
Environmental watering = a public policy response
because generally people care about healthy waterways.
• To ensure water for waterway health including in dry times
(Millennium drought experience)
• Independence, transparency, accountability, coordination
 Enshrined in legislation
 An entitlement holder like any other
Why were water holders like VEWH set up?
Drought-affected
Wimmera River at
Jeparit, 2009
Environmental Water Matters Forum 2017
Environmental Water Matters Forum 2017
What’s happened since February 2016?
• Winter/spring 2016 was WET!
• Some highlights
• Govt emphasis on communities – through Water for Victoria
• VEWH appointed Rueben Berg, a Gunditjmara man
• Aboriginal water week
• Research into community attitudes towards water for the
environment
• New VEWH website
• Examples of community benefits (shared benefits) from water for the
environment
What’s happened since February 2016?
Winter/spring 2016 was WET!
• 2016 was Victoria’s wettest year since 2011
• Wettest September on record
What did VEWH do with water allocations?
• In some cases, supplemented natural flows
• In some cases, didn’t need to provide water as objectives were met naturally
Environmental Water Matters Forum 2017
Reedy Lake
Some highlights
Thomson River
Bolin Bolin billabong
Goulburn River
Hattah Lakes
Barmah Forest
What’s happened since February 2016?
Campaspe River
Wimmera river
What’s happened since February 2016?
Govt emphasis on communities
Water for Victoria released in 2016
What has VEWH done in this space since the last Forum?
Fourth Commissioner Aboriginal Water Week Social research
…and some examples of community benefits
from environmental flows
New VEWH website
New VEWH website
Feedback was sought from
you in April 2016
with a face-to-face option and a
webinar option
Thanks to those who
attended
What’s happened since February 2016?
A big year for paddlers!
Thomson River – Canoe club enjoyed the autumn flow in
April 2017
Yarra River – Keen paddler Sean Marler enjoyed year round
flows
Glenelg River– George Turner and his family enjoyed the
December 2016 summer flow
Community benefits from
water for the environment
What’s happened since February 2016?
Case study: Glenelg River – March 2017
• Summer-autumn environmental flow for water quality and fish
• The flow was also managed to meet objectives for local
communities
• Angler community objectives
• Fantastic outcomes for native fish and the Dartmoor angling
club
• Aboriginal community objectives
• Timing of flow for the Johnny Mullagh memorial cup
• Cultural heritage values
Community benefits from
water for the environment
REFLECTIONS VIDEO
What’s happened since February 2016?
Community benefits from
water for the environment
Environmental Water Matters Forum 2017
Environmental Water Matters Forum 2017
Environmental Water Matters Forum 2017
Environmental Water Matters Forum 2017
• To use water efficiently and effectively, we need to
• Understand population processes
• Aim for landscape-scale outcomes
• Understand that connectivity is key
• ‘Beyond local borders’ case studies
• Native fish
• Vegetation
• Birds
• Questions / comments / dialogue
This aim is the same for environmental water holders
and managers as it is for producers / farmers
“If we can’t water everything,
how do we get the most
bang for our buck?”
(how a population goes up or down over time), and
(where these population processes occur)
(how a population goes up or down over time)
What influences
emigration out of
rivers?
Murray cod
Population
What influences
immigration to rivers?
What influences
spawning and births?
For example, to understand what cod need, it is critical to
understand Murray cod
What influences
survival and
maturity?
What influences
deaths?
In rivers and wetlands, the flow regime
is a key driver of these important population processes
The way water flows through the landscape influences
how a population goes up or down over time …
Same for all biota!!
(where these population processes occur)
‘Patchiness’ and loss of connectivity can interrupt
important population processes
Environmental Water Matters Forum 2017
Plant and animals populations need connectivity.
‘Fragmentation’ can lead to loss of connectivity.
In our fragmented aquatic landscapes, we need to
use the flow regime to make sure these patches are
healthy, and to ensure connectivity between them.
Patchiness – environmental water perspective
Where in the
landscape do these
important lifecycle
processes happen?
We need to ask:
? ?
?
?
Environmental Water Matters Forum 2017
Environmental Water Matters Forum 2017
Remember…
‘Flowing across borders’ Case study 1:
Wooing native fish into Victorian rivers
The aim:
To use water to encourage fish to migrate across borders
– from the Lower Darling River (NSW) into the Murray,
Goulburn and Campaspe rivers (Vic)
Though it is important to
manage water for the
environment at a site
level…
It is also important to
take into think about the
larger implications at a
landscape scale
River flows are key to this
Case study 1: Wooing native fish into Victorian rivers
Patches
Flows were delivered to
‘patches’ to support the
full life cycle of golden
and silver perch in each
area of river
New research found
that fish were operating
at a larger scale…..
• Large numbers of mature
fish at the top of the
system
• Lots of small fish at the
bottom
• The role of these ‘patches’
was different
Case study 1: Wooing native fish into Victorian rivers
Co-ordinated flows to
promote dispersal from
spawning ‘hotspots’
‘Hotspots’ for
recruitment
Migration
Case study 1: Wooing native fish into Victorian rivers
Births
So managing flows
for the population
at the scale of the
lower connected
basin, as well as at
each river
Two environmental
flows released in the
Murray
Operationally how was this achieved?
Two environmental
flows released:
- One in the Campaspe
- One in the Goulburn
Operationally how was this achieved?
SUCCESS!
Operationally how was this achieved?
Case study 1: Wooing native fish into Victorian rivers
Monitoring techniques
Case study 1: Wooing native fish into Victorian rivers
Learnings
• Lots of coordination required
• Some native fish have life cycle characteristics that
operate at scales that transverse local (state) borders
• Fish need connection to important source populations
‘Flowing across borders’ Case study 2
Ensuring survival of black box and red gum ‘patches’
The aim:
To use water to ensure survival of
flood-dependent forest vegetation
(in this case, black box)
Remember…
Environmental Water Matters Forum 2017
Figure 1. A target tree at the watered site in 2014 (left) before
environmental watering and in 2017 (right) two years after watering.
Case study 2:
Ensuring survival of black box and red gum ‘patches’
Number of Black Box seeds collected at
watered vs unwatered sites (Hattah)
Important for
‘births’
(i.e. seeding)
Case study 2:
Ensuring survival of black box and red gum ‘patches’
• Major Mitchell’s Cockatoo
depends on tree hollows
• Modified river regimes =
less frequent flooding for
black box and river red gum
• Water for the environment is
important to bring back
some of this regime
Major Mitchell’s Cockatoo
Cacatua leadbeateri
Case study 2:
Ensuring survival of black box and red gum ‘patches’
Watering black box patches brings benefits to Major Mitchell!
Environmental Water Matters Forum 2017
Environmental Water Matters Forum 2017
Regent Parrot
(eastern subspecies)
Polytelis anthopeplus monarchoides
• Regent parrot nests in old river
red gums (hollows) along the
Murray and Wimmera Rivers
• Modified river regimes =
reduced the number of river
red gums with old hollows
• Water for the environment is
important to bring back some
of this regime
Case study 2:
Ensuring survival of black box and red gum ‘patches’
Watering red gum ‘patches’ brings benefits to regent parrot!
Learnings
• Vegetation has wider value than just at site-scale
(vegetation has landscape scale benefits – especially for
birds)
• The biodiversity value of floodplain woody vegetation is large
and supports iconic species
• We need to maintain these patches of habitat or we risk
losing key iconic species
Case study 2:
Ensuring survival of black box and red gum ‘patches’
• We manage water in an altered landscape
• However, landscape-scale water
management is important to attempt
(despite barriers) to ensure species can
breed, move, survive and feed (important
population processes)
• Our remaining habitat patches, and the
rivers connecting them are critical
• Animals and plants operate within an
ecosystem that has no knowledge of our
imposed ‘boundaries’
Environmental Water Matters Forum 2017
Environmental Water Matters Forum 2017
1. What is prioritisation?
2. The context in which we prioritise
3. How VEWH currently prioritises across the state
4. What came out of last year’s forum session on this?
5. Proposed new approach to prioritisation
• Roundtable session to help us with the new approach (1 hour)
“What should our top five objectives be?”
Deciding how much water to use, where to use
it and when to use it
(as we’ve only got a limited amount)!
? ?
?
?
“If we can’t water everything,
how do we get the most
bang for our buck?”
Environmental Water Matters Forum 2017
• Extent and significance of benefit expected from watering
• Certainty of achieving environmental benefit
• Ability to manage threats
• Watering history of the site
• The implications of not watering
• The feasibility of watering
• Cost effectiveness of the watering
We consider the:
…within a single waterway
Should we use water now, or save it for summer when water quality is a risk?
…within a river basin
Should we use water in those wetlands or that creek?
…between river basins
Should we trade this basin’s water to a different basin?
…between years
Should we keep water for next year, instead of using it this year?
We make trade offs:
There’s no magic formula
• Dynamic context
• We are still developing our knowledge
• It is difficult to compare environmental ‘values’
• There are a number of communities and opinions!
• We need to make ‘value judgements’
• The decisions we make are interconnected with other issues
Current approach
• Focus on local scale objectives
• Focus on many different objectives
• Focus on sites with modified water
regime and some ecological values
• Focus on 1-2 year outlook
• We don’t have enough water to satisfy every objective, especially in
times of water scarcity
• Large numbers of objectives creates confusion and potentially leads
to subjective decisions about which objectives are most important
• The science is telling us that ecosystems operate at a landscape
scale.
• We need more definitive long term water planning
• Prioritise sites for watering based on the merit of each site
• Prioritise watering based on landscape-scale outcomes (rather than just site-based)
• Incorporate drought and climate change considerations into decision-making
• Use already available tools to assist decision-making
• Consider impacts of decisions on communities and communicate those decisions
Key suggestions from last year’s roundtable:
Current approach Proposed approach
• Focus on local scale objectives
• Focus on many different
objectives
• Focus on sites with modified
water regime and some
ecological values
• Focus on 1-2 year outlook
• Focus on regional scale
objectives
• Focus on a few top priority
objectives
• Focus on sites that best meet
regional objectives
• Focus on 3-5 year outlook
Lots of different objectives at local scales
• Focus on regional scale objectives
• Focus on a few top priority objectives
• Focus on sites that meet top objectives
• Focus on 3-5 year outlook
For Objective A (e.g. golden perch) , focus on certain refuges at the regional
scale to meet that objective
For Objective A (e.g. golden perch) , focus on certain boom habitats at the
regional scale to meet that objective
For Objective B (e.g. red gum), focus on refuges at the regional scale to
meet that objective
For Objective B (e.g. red gum), focus on boom habitats at the regional scale
to meet that objective
For Objective C (e.g. colonial nesting waterbirds), focus on refuge habitats at
the regional scale to meet that objective
For Objective C (e.g. colonial nesting waterbirds), focus on boom habitats at
the regional scale to meet that objective
Combined refuge habitats for objectives A, B and C
Combined boom habitats for objectives A, B and C
We want to ask you in a roundtable today:
• What you think the top 5 objectives should be in
each region
• What you think a successful outcome would look
like for those objectives
Potential objectives for northern Vic
1. River red gum forests and woodlands
2. Black box forests and woodlands
3. Non-woody plant communities (sedges, herbs, forbes)
4. Colonial nesting waterbirds
5. Migratory shorebirds
6. Other waterbirds (ducks, rails, coots)
7. Golden perch and silver perch
8. Murray cod
9. Short-lived fish
10. Long-lived fish
11. Ecosystem function
Potential objectives for southern Vic
1. Australian grayling
2. Diadromous fish (migrate from rivers to seas)
3. Non-migratory long-lived species
4. Non migratory short-lived species
5. Non-woody plant communities (sedges, herbs, forbes)
6. Reduce nuisance vegetation
7. Riparian trees and shrubs
8. Platypus
9. Water quality
10. Manage salt wedge and flushing in estuaries
11. Macroinvertebrates
1. Maintain extent and
improve condition of
red gum forests and
woodlands
2. Maintain extent and
improve condition of black
box forests and woodlands
3. Maintain extent and
improve condition of non-
woody plant communities
(e.g. sedges, herbs, forbes)
4. Maintain current species
diversity and increase
abundance of colonial
nesting waterbirds
(e.g. ibis, spoonbills, egrets)
5. Maintain current species
diversity of migratory
shorebirds
(e.g. sharp-tailed sandpipers, Latham’s snipe)
6. Maintain current species
diversity and increase
abundance of other waterbirds
(e.g. Australasian bittern, ducks, rails, coots)
7. Extend distribution and
increase abundance of golden
perch and silver perch
8. Extend distribution and
increase abundance of
Murray cod
9. Maintain current species
diversity, extend distribution
and increase abundance of
short-lived species
(e.g. gudgeons, hardyheads)
10. Maintain current species
diversity, extend distribution
and increase abundance of other
long-lived native fish
(e.g. freshwater catfish, Macquarie perch)
11. Increase ecosystem function
and productivity by increasing
extent and frequency of flow
connections between river and
floodplain
1. Extend distribution and
increase abundance of
Australian grayling
2. Maintain current species diversity, extend
distribution and increase abundance of
diadromous fish
i.e. fish that spend part of their life in rivers and others in the sea
or estuaries
(e.g. tupong, common galaxids)
3. Maintain current species
diversity, extend distribution and
increase abundance of non-
migratory long-lived species
(e.g. river blackfish)
4. Maintain current species
diversity, extend distribution
and increase abundance of non-
migratory short-lived species
(e.g. pygmy perch, mountain galaxias)
5. Maintain extent and
improve condition of non-
woody plant communities
(e.g. sedges, herbs and forbes)
6. Reduce encroachment of
nuisance vegetation into
river channels and wetlands
7. Maintain extent and
improve condition of
riparian trees and shrubs
8. Extend distribution and
increase abundance of platypus
9. Maintain water quality
(e.g. adequate dissolved oxygen
concentration and low salinity)
in freshwater rivers during
low flow conditions
10. Manage salt wedge and
flushing in river estuaries
11. Increase diversity of
macroinvertebrates and overall
abundance of macroinvertebrates
Why are we having a roundtable?
• The VEWH will select priority objectives for each region
with water managers and scientists
• The feedback we get today will inform that selection
• We will articulate why they are included or excluded from
final lists
Environmental Water Matters Forum 2017
Environmental Water Matters Forum 2017
Environmental Water Matters Forum 2017
Environmental Water Matters Forum 2017
Does anyone
here speak
‘water-ish’?
What we promised to do after
last year’s forum
Commercial-in-confidence 4/12/2017
TOTAL n = 96
Fieldwork completed 21 February – 15 March 2017
Qualitative research methodology
Shepparton
(n=11)
1 focus group
2 in-depth interviews
Mildura
(n=27)
1 focus group
2 mini groups
5 in-depth interviews
Sale
(n=11)
1 focus group
2 in-depth interviews
Melbourne
(n=19)
2 focus groups
2 mini groups
3 in-depth interviews
Horsham
(n=11)
1 focus group
2in-depth interviews
5 interviews with
interest groups:
• Educator
• Hunter
• Angler
• Birdwatcher
• Councillor
5
Commercial-in-confidence 4/12/2017
7
Online survey
Victorians aged 18 and over
(n=1,218)
CATI survey
Victorians aged 40 and over
in regional areas
(n=201)
CAPI survey*
Victorians aged 18 years and over (n=75),
including:
- Traditional Owners, n=25
- Elders, n=19
Fieldwork dates: 7-30 April 2017
Quantitative research methodology
Commercial-in-confidence 4/12/2017
Awareness and
understanding
8
Quick quiz:
What percentage of Victorians, statewide, know that our major waterways
have been modified for human use?
AA: 30%
AC: 16 %
AB: 46.5%
A D: 78 %
Commercial-in-confidence 4/12/2017
There is limited awareness and understanding of how water is used
across Victoria and the impact that this has on Victorian waterways
Water uses (unprompted)
Perceptions of water distribution
Impact of water use on waterways
were fully aware that Victoria’s
waterways have been modified
for human use
were fully aware that up to half of
water is removed each year for
human use
were fully aware that Victoria’s
waterways cannot function as they
would naturally and need to be
actively managed
Base: All Victorians (n=1,143-1,419)
16%
18%
21%
4# environment
2# industry
3# farming / irrigation
1# urban consumption
5%
mentioned
environment
related uses
Non-metro (30%)
Non-metro (30%)
Non-metro (36%)
Aged 65+ (27%)
Aged 55+ (28%)
Aged 55+ (32%)
Males (21%)
Males (24%)
Males (26%)
Significantly higher / lower results compared to
other remoteness, age or gender classifications
Contextual understanding of waterways
What is environmental water?
A: Water released back into waterways to
help plants & critters survive, feed and breed.
B: All the water we see in a river
C: Water that isn’t from the desal plant C: A bottled spring water brand
Should have phoned
a friend!
(Preferably over
65 yrs. old in an
‘outer regional’
area!!)
Commercial-in-confidence 4/12/2017
Awareness of environmental water and its benefits was limited – particularly among
metropolitan respondents.
Overall, only around one in six respondents reported that they had both heard of the term
‘environmental water’ and knew about water being set aside for the environment.
Awareness of environmental water Awareness of the benefits of
environmental water
Base: All Victorians (n=1,419)
were fully aware that it
increases opportunities for
recreational activities
were fully aware that it
sustains healthy Country
for Indigenous communities
were fully aware that it
improves water quality,
which has economic
benefits for farmers
23%
18%
23%
Reported that they had heard
of the term ‘environmental
water’
24%
17%
reported that they knew
that water is set aside for
the environment and
released back into
waterways
42%
reported knowing
both: that water is set
aside and released
back and the term
‘environmental water’
Increased with age
(7-9% 18-44 years; 17% 45-
54 years; 23% 55-64 years;
32% 65+ years)
Males (26%)
Aged 55+ (31%)
Non-metro (38%)
Males (21%)
Aged 55+ (23%)
Non-metro (26%)
Males (29%)
Aged 55+ (32%)
Non-metro
(32%)
Increased by remoteness
(11% Metro; 32% inner regional;
44% outer-regional / remote)
Significantly higher / lower results compared to
other remoteness, age or gender classifications
Environmental water
Commercial-in-confidence 4/12/2017
Attitudes and
perceptions
1
2
Commercial-in-confidence 4/12/2017
Once informed about environmental water, participants tended to have more positive perceptions than
negative (80% perceived benefits vs 49% who perceived disadvantages).
The qualitative research found that for those who were negative, good water management was key.
1
3
+• Improving local environments –
including plants, animals, scenery and
flows
• Preventing extinction and irreversible
damage / keeping animals, plants, fish
and birds alive
• Future-proofing Victoria’s waterways for
generations to come
• Providing better / healthier waterways
for people to use (i.e. for recreation) –
both immediate and longer term
• Ensuring there is water available when
it’s needed (e.g. for droughts/ black
water events etc.)
• Reducing water availability for other uses
(e.g. farmers, food production, household consumption)
• Not required – “the environment can look after itself”
• High cost to taxpayer / rates payer / irrigators
• Poor management of environmental water:
o Perceived poor timing of releases (i.e. when already
wet, when too dry or in tourism season)
o Makes some environmental issues worse (e.g. black
water and carp)
o Decisions perceived to be Melbourne centred and
not a consultative process
o Number of agencies involved increased perceptions
of bureaucracy and lack of transparency
o Selling allocation inflated the price of water in the
market + selling water out of region and / or
indicated that VEWH had too much to start with
o Poor communication = lost opportunities for
recreational users who could benefit immediately
from flows (e.g. kayakers, birdwatchers, fishers)
–
Perceptions of environmental water
Commercial-in-confidence 4/12/2017
The research found that an understanding of waterway management issues was an
important foundation for understanding environmental water and its management.
25% of all surveyed had heard information about environmental water over the past 12 months.
Sources of awareness included: radio, TV and newspaper media (17%), seeing changes to waterways and
word-of-mouth (7%), local water corporation newsletters (7%).
However overall, most felt there was not enough information provided in relation to environmental water.
9
Awareness and understanding
Commercial-in-confidence 4/12/2017
Acceptance of environmental water
Commercial-in-confidence 4/12/2017
Language and
messaging
1
7
Commercial-in-confidence 4/12/2017
1
8
Terminology
Commercial-in-confidence 4/12/2017
Language
“Something released in winter something (is that a jail? Who is Thomson and
what’s he entitled to?), erm, got really high on the shoulders of a disease and
…what? Is that the Twilight Zone? What’s reach 4?..... Give up.”
Water-ish
Commercial-in-confidence 4/12/2017
Key information needs
Commercial-in-confidence 4/12/2017
• Key message – specific audiences• 3157 – VEWH Communications research
2
6
Key messages – specific audiences
Commercial-in-confidence 4/12/2017
Insights
• 3157 – VEWH Communications research
2
8
Commercial-in-confidence 4/12/2017
Commercial-in-confidence 4/12/2017
Commercial-in-confidence 4/12/2017
Preferred information sources
Environmental Water Matters Forum 2017
Environmental Water Matters Forum 2017
Environmental Water Matters Forum 2017

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Environmental Water Matters Forum 2017

  • 2. Wurundjeri camp (Source: aboriginalhistoryoftheyarra.com.au)Yarra River (Source: Melbourne Water)
  • 7. VEWH update (before morning tea) Social research session (after lunch) ‘Top five objectives’ session (after morning tea)
  • 8. Before the development of dams, weirs and channels After the development of dams, weirs and channels Increased water use Decreased river and wetland health
  • 9. Government response to decline in river and wetland health: Government capped water entitlements (All water is now fully allocated) Government invested $$ to recover water for the environment Environmental watering = a public policy response because generally people care about healthy waterways.
  • 10. • To ensure water for waterway health including in dry times (Millennium drought experience) • Independence, transparency, accountability, coordination  Enshrined in legislation  An entitlement holder like any other Why were water holders like VEWH set up? Drought-affected Wimmera River at Jeparit, 2009
  • 13. What’s happened since February 2016? • Winter/spring 2016 was WET! • Some highlights • Govt emphasis on communities – through Water for Victoria • VEWH appointed Rueben Berg, a Gunditjmara man • Aboriginal water week • Research into community attitudes towards water for the environment • New VEWH website • Examples of community benefits (shared benefits) from water for the environment
  • 14. What’s happened since February 2016? Winter/spring 2016 was WET! • 2016 was Victoria’s wettest year since 2011 • Wettest September on record What did VEWH do with water allocations? • In some cases, supplemented natural flows • In some cases, didn’t need to provide water as objectives were met naturally
  • 16. Reedy Lake Some highlights Thomson River Bolin Bolin billabong Goulburn River Hattah Lakes Barmah Forest What’s happened since February 2016? Campaspe River Wimmera river
  • 17. What’s happened since February 2016? Govt emphasis on communities Water for Victoria released in 2016 What has VEWH done in this space since the last Forum? Fourth Commissioner Aboriginal Water Week Social research …and some examples of community benefits from environmental flows New VEWH website
  • 18. New VEWH website Feedback was sought from you in April 2016 with a face-to-face option and a webinar option Thanks to those who attended What’s happened since February 2016?
  • 19. A big year for paddlers! Thomson River – Canoe club enjoyed the autumn flow in April 2017 Yarra River – Keen paddler Sean Marler enjoyed year round flows Glenelg River– George Turner and his family enjoyed the December 2016 summer flow Community benefits from water for the environment What’s happened since February 2016?
  • 20. Case study: Glenelg River – March 2017 • Summer-autumn environmental flow for water quality and fish • The flow was also managed to meet objectives for local communities • Angler community objectives • Fantastic outcomes for native fish and the Dartmoor angling club • Aboriginal community objectives • Timing of flow for the Johnny Mullagh memorial cup • Cultural heritage values Community benefits from water for the environment
  • 21. REFLECTIONS VIDEO What’s happened since February 2016? Community benefits from water for the environment
  • 26. • To use water efficiently and effectively, we need to • Understand population processes • Aim for landscape-scale outcomes • Understand that connectivity is key • ‘Beyond local borders’ case studies • Native fish • Vegetation • Birds • Questions / comments / dialogue
  • 27. This aim is the same for environmental water holders and managers as it is for producers / farmers “If we can’t water everything, how do we get the most bang for our buck?”
  • 28. (how a population goes up or down over time), and (where these population processes occur)
  • 29. (how a population goes up or down over time)
  • 30. What influences emigration out of rivers? Murray cod Population What influences immigration to rivers? What influences spawning and births? For example, to understand what cod need, it is critical to understand Murray cod What influences survival and maturity? What influences deaths?
  • 31. In rivers and wetlands, the flow regime is a key driver of these important population processes The way water flows through the landscape influences how a population goes up or down over time … Same for all biota!!
  • 32. (where these population processes occur) ‘Patchiness’ and loss of connectivity can interrupt important population processes
  • 34. Plant and animals populations need connectivity. ‘Fragmentation’ can lead to loss of connectivity. In our fragmented aquatic landscapes, we need to use the flow regime to make sure these patches are healthy, and to ensure connectivity between them.
  • 35. Patchiness – environmental water perspective
  • 36. Where in the landscape do these important lifecycle processes happen? We need to ask: ? ? ? ?
  • 40. ‘Flowing across borders’ Case study 1: Wooing native fish into Victorian rivers The aim: To use water to encourage fish to migrate across borders – from the Lower Darling River (NSW) into the Murray, Goulburn and Campaspe rivers (Vic)
  • 41. Though it is important to manage water for the environment at a site level… It is also important to take into think about the larger implications at a landscape scale River flows are key to this Case study 1: Wooing native fish into Victorian rivers Patches
  • 42. Flows were delivered to ‘patches’ to support the full life cycle of golden and silver perch in each area of river New research found that fish were operating at a larger scale….. • Large numbers of mature fish at the top of the system • Lots of small fish at the bottom • The role of these ‘patches’ was different Case study 1: Wooing native fish into Victorian rivers
  • 43. Co-ordinated flows to promote dispersal from spawning ‘hotspots’ ‘Hotspots’ for recruitment Migration Case study 1: Wooing native fish into Victorian rivers Births So managing flows for the population at the scale of the lower connected basin, as well as at each river
  • 44. Two environmental flows released in the Murray Operationally how was this achieved?
  • 45. Two environmental flows released: - One in the Campaspe - One in the Goulburn Operationally how was this achieved?
  • 47. Case study 1: Wooing native fish into Victorian rivers Monitoring techniques
  • 48. Case study 1: Wooing native fish into Victorian rivers Learnings • Lots of coordination required • Some native fish have life cycle characteristics that operate at scales that transverse local (state) borders • Fish need connection to important source populations
  • 49. ‘Flowing across borders’ Case study 2 Ensuring survival of black box and red gum ‘patches’ The aim: To use water to ensure survival of flood-dependent forest vegetation (in this case, black box)
  • 52. Figure 1. A target tree at the watered site in 2014 (left) before environmental watering and in 2017 (right) two years after watering. Case study 2: Ensuring survival of black box and red gum ‘patches’
  • 53. Number of Black Box seeds collected at watered vs unwatered sites (Hattah) Important for ‘births’ (i.e. seeding) Case study 2: Ensuring survival of black box and red gum ‘patches’
  • 54. • Major Mitchell’s Cockatoo depends on tree hollows • Modified river regimes = less frequent flooding for black box and river red gum • Water for the environment is important to bring back some of this regime Major Mitchell’s Cockatoo Cacatua leadbeateri Case study 2: Ensuring survival of black box and red gum ‘patches’ Watering black box patches brings benefits to Major Mitchell!
  • 57. Regent Parrot (eastern subspecies) Polytelis anthopeplus monarchoides • Regent parrot nests in old river red gums (hollows) along the Murray and Wimmera Rivers • Modified river regimes = reduced the number of river red gums with old hollows • Water for the environment is important to bring back some of this regime Case study 2: Ensuring survival of black box and red gum ‘patches’ Watering red gum ‘patches’ brings benefits to regent parrot!
  • 58. Learnings • Vegetation has wider value than just at site-scale (vegetation has landscape scale benefits – especially for birds) • The biodiversity value of floodplain woody vegetation is large and supports iconic species • We need to maintain these patches of habitat or we risk losing key iconic species Case study 2: Ensuring survival of black box and red gum ‘patches’
  • 59. • We manage water in an altered landscape • However, landscape-scale water management is important to attempt (despite barriers) to ensure species can breed, move, survive and feed (important population processes) • Our remaining habitat patches, and the rivers connecting them are critical • Animals and plants operate within an ecosystem that has no knowledge of our imposed ‘boundaries’
  • 62. 1. What is prioritisation? 2. The context in which we prioritise 3. How VEWH currently prioritises across the state 4. What came out of last year’s forum session on this? 5. Proposed new approach to prioritisation • Roundtable session to help us with the new approach (1 hour) “What should our top five objectives be?”
  • 63. Deciding how much water to use, where to use it and when to use it (as we’ve only got a limited amount)! ? ? ? ? “If we can’t water everything, how do we get the most bang for our buck?”
  • 65. • Extent and significance of benefit expected from watering • Certainty of achieving environmental benefit • Ability to manage threats • Watering history of the site • The implications of not watering • The feasibility of watering • Cost effectiveness of the watering We consider the:
  • 66. …within a single waterway Should we use water now, or save it for summer when water quality is a risk? …within a river basin Should we use water in those wetlands or that creek? …between river basins Should we trade this basin’s water to a different basin? …between years Should we keep water for next year, instead of using it this year? We make trade offs:
  • 67. There’s no magic formula • Dynamic context • We are still developing our knowledge • It is difficult to compare environmental ‘values’ • There are a number of communities and opinions! • We need to make ‘value judgements’ • The decisions we make are interconnected with other issues
  • 68. Current approach • Focus on local scale objectives • Focus on many different objectives • Focus on sites with modified water regime and some ecological values • Focus on 1-2 year outlook
  • 69. • We don’t have enough water to satisfy every objective, especially in times of water scarcity • Large numbers of objectives creates confusion and potentially leads to subjective decisions about which objectives are most important • The science is telling us that ecosystems operate at a landscape scale. • We need more definitive long term water planning
  • 70. • Prioritise sites for watering based on the merit of each site • Prioritise watering based on landscape-scale outcomes (rather than just site-based) • Incorporate drought and climate change considerations into decision-making • Use already available tools to assist decision-making • Consider impacts of decisions on communities and communicate those decisions Key suggestions from last year’s roundtable:
  • 71. Current approach Proposed approach • Focus on local scale objectives • Focus on many different objectives • Focus on sites with modified water regime and some ecological values • Focus on 1-2 year outlook • Focus on regional scale objectives • Focus on a few top priority objectives • Focus on sites that best meet regional objectives • Focus on 3-5 year outlook
  • 72. Lots of different objectives at local scales
  • 73. • Focus on regional scale objectives • Focus on a few top priority objectives • Focus on sites that meet top objectives • Focus on 3-5 year outlook
  • 74. For Objective A (e.g. golden perch) , focus on certain refuges at the regional scale to meet that objective
  • 75. For Objective A (e.g. golden perch) , focus on certain boom habitats at the regional scale to meet that objective
  • 76. For Objective B (e.g. red gum), focus on refuges at the regional scale to meet that objective
  • 77. For Objective B (e.g. red gum), focus on boom habitats at the regional scale to meet that objective
  • 78. For Objective C (e.g. colonial nesting waterbirds), focus on refuge habitats at the regional scale to meet that objective
  • 79. For Objective C (e.g. colonial nesting waterbirds), focus on boom habitats at the regional scale to meet that objective
  • 80. Combined refuge habitats for objectives A, B and C
  • 81. Combined boom habitats for objectives A, B and C
  • 82. We want to ask you in a roundtable today: • What you think the top 5 objectives should be in each region • What you think a successful outcome would look like for those objectives
  • 83. Potential objectives for northern Vic 1. River red gum forests and woodlands 2. Black box forests and woodlands 3. Non-woody plant communities (sedges, herbs, forbes) 4. Colonial nesting waterbirds 5. Migratory shorebirds 6. Other waterbirds (ducks, rails, coots) 7. Golden perch and silver perch 8. Murray cod 9. Short-lived fish 10. Long-lived fish 11. Ecosystem function
  • 84. Potential objectives for southern Vic 1. Australian grayling 2. Diadromous fish (migrate from rivers to seas) 3. Non-migratory long-lived species 4. Non migratory short-lived species 5. Non-woody plant communities (sedges, herbs, forbes) 6. Reduce nuisance vegetation 7. Riparian trees and shrubs 8. Platypus 9. Water quality 10. Manage salt wedge and flushing in estuaries 11. Macroinvertebrates
  • 85. 1. Maintain extent and improve condition of red gum forests and woodlands
  • 86. 2. Maintain extent and improve condition of black box forests and woodlands
  • 87. 3. Maintain extent and improve condition of non- woody plant communities (e.g. sedges, herbs, forbes)
  • 88. 4. Maintain current species diversity and increase abundance of colonial nesting waterbirds (e.g. ibis, spoonbills, egrets)
  • 89. 5. Maintain current species diversity of migratory shorebirds (e.g. sharp-tailed sandpipers, Latham’s snipe)
  • 90. 6. Maintain current species diversity and increase abundance of other waterbirds (e.g. Australasian bittern, ducks, rails, coots)
  • 91. 7. Extend distribution and increase abundance of golden perch and silver perch
  • 92. 8. Extend distribution and increase abundance of Murray cod
  • 93. 9. Maintain current species diversity, extend distribution and increase abundance of short-lived species (e.g. gudgeons, hardyheads)
  • 94. 10. Maintain current species diversity, extend distribution and increase abundance of other long-lived native fish (e.g. freshwater catfish, Macquarie perch)
  • 95. 11. Increase ecosystem function and productivity by increasing extent and frequency of flow connections between river and floodplain
  • 96. 1. Extend distribution and increase abundance of Australian grayling
  • 97. 2. Maintain current species diversity, extend distribution and increase abundance of diadromous fish i.e. fish that spend part of their life in rivers and others in the sea or estuaries (e.g. tupong, common galaxids)
  • 98. 3. Maintain current species diversity, extend distribution and increase abundance of non- migratory long-lived species (e.g. river blackfish)
  • 99. 4. Maintain current species diversity, extend distribution and increase abundance of non- migratory short-lived species (e.g. pygmy perch, mountain galaxias)
  • 100. 5. Maintain extent and improve condition of non- woody plant communities (e.g. sedges, herbs and forbes)
  • 101. 6. Reduce encroachment of nuisance vegetation into river channels and wetlands
  • 102. 7. Maintain extent and improve condition of riparian trees and shrubs
  • 103. 8. Extend distribution and increase abundance of platypus
  • 104. 9. Maintain water quality (e.g. adequate dissolved oxygen concentration and low salinity) in freshwater rivers during low flow conditions
  • 105. 10. Manage salt wedge and flushing in river estuaries
  • 106. 11. Increase diversity of macroinvertebrates and overall abundance of macroinvertebrates
  • 107. Why are we having a roundtable? • The VEWH will select priority objectives for each region with water managers and scientists • The feedback we get today will inform that selection • We will articulate why they are included or excluded from final lists
  • 113. What we promised to do after last year’s forum
  • 114. Commercial-in-confidence 4/12/2017 TOTAL n = 96 Fieldwork completed 21 February – 15 March 2017 Qualitative research methodology Shepparton (n=11) 1 focus group 2 in-depth interviews Mildura (n=27) 1 focus group 2 mini groups 5 in-depth interviews Sale (n=11) 1 focus group 2 in-depth interviews Melbourne (n=19) 2 focus groups 2 mini groups 3 in-depth interviews Horsham (n=11) 1 focus group 2in-depth interviews 5 interviews with interest groups: • Educator • Hunter • Angler • Birdwatcher • Councillor 5
  • 115. Commercial-in-confidence 4/12/2017 7 Online survey Victorians aged 18 and over (n=1,218) CATI survey Victorians aged 40 and over in regional areas (n=201) CAPI survey* Victorians aged 18 years and over (n=75), including: - Traditional Owners, n=25 - Elders, n=19 Fieldwork dates: 7-30 April 2017 Quantitative research methodology
  • 117. Quick quiz: What percentage of Victorians, statewide, know that our major waterways have been modified for human use? AA: 30% AC: 16 % AB: 46.5% A D: 78 %
  • 118. Commercial-in-confidence 4/12/2017 There is limited awareness and understanding of how water is used across Victoria and the impact that this has on Victorian waterways Water uses (unprompted) Perceptions of water distribution Impact of water use on waterways were fully aware that Victoria’s waterways have been modified for human use were fully aware that up to half of water is removed each year for human use were fully aware that Victoria’s waterways cannot function as they would naturally and need to be actively managed Base: All Victorians (n=1,143-1,419) 16% 18% 21% 4# environment 2# industry 3# farming / irrigation 1# urban consumption 5% mentioned environment related uses Non-metro (30%) Non-metro (30%) Non-metro (36%) Aged 65+ (27%) Aged 55+ (28%) Aged 55+ (32%) Males (21%) Males (24%) Males (26%) Significantly higher / lower results compared to other remoteness, age or gender classifications Contextual understanding of waterways
  • 119. What is environmental water? A: Water released back into waterways to help plants & critters survive, feed and breed. B: All the water we see in a river C: Water that isn’t from the desal plant C: A bottled spring water brand Should have phoned a friend! (Preferably over 65 yrs. old in an ‘outer regional’ area!!)
  • 120. Commercial-in-confidence 4/12/2017 Awareness of environmental water and its benefits was limited – particularly among metropolitan respondents. Overall, only around one in six respondents reported that they had both heard of the term ‘environmental water’ and knew about water being set aside for the environment. Awareness of environmental water Awareness of the benefits of environmental water Base: All Victorians (n=1,419) were fully aware that it increases opportunities for recreational activities were fully aware that it sustains healthy Country for Indigenous communities were fully aware that it improves water quality, which has economic benefits for farmers 23% 18% 23% Reported that they had heard of the term ‘environmental water’ 24% 17% reported that they knew that water is set aside for the environment and released back into waterways 42% reported knowing both: that water is set aside and released back and the term ‘environmental water’ Increased with age (7-9% 18-44 years; 17% 45- 54 years; 23% 55-64 years; 32% 65+ years) Males (26%) Aged 55+ (31%) Non-metro (38%) Males (21%) Aged 55+ (23%) Non-metro (26%) Males (29%) Aged 55+ (32%) Non-metro (32%) Increased by remoteness (11% Metro; 32% inner regional; 44% outer-regional / remote) Significantly higher / lower results compared to other remoteness, age or gender classifications Environmental water
  • 122. Commercial-in-confidence 4/12/2017 Once informed about environmental water, participants tended to have more positive perceptions than negative (80% perceived benefits vs 49% who perceived disadvantages). The qualitative research found that for those who were negative, good water management was key. 1 3 +• Improving local environments – including plants, animals, scenery and flows • Preventing extinction and irreversible damage / keeping animals, plants, fish and birds alive • Future-proofing Victoria’s waterways for generations to come • Providing better / healthier waterways for people to use (i.e. for recreation) – both immediate and longer term • Ensuring there is water available when it’s needed (e.g. for droughts/ black water events etc.) • Reducing water availability for other uses (e.g. farmers, food production, household consumption) • Not required – “the environment can look after itself” • High cost to taxpayer / rates payer / irrigators • Poor management of environmental water: o Perceived poor timing of releases (i.e. when already wet, when too dry or in tourism season) o Makes some environmental issues worse (e.g. black water and carp) o Decisions perceived to be Melbourne centred and not a consultative process o Number of agencies involved increased perceptions of bureaucracy and lack of transparency o Selling allocation inflated the price of water in the market + selling water out of region and / or indicated that VEWH had too much to start with o Poor communication = lost opportunities for recreational users who could benefit immediately from flows (e.g. kayakers, birdwatchers, fishers) – Perceptions of environmental water
  • 123. Commercial-in-confidence 4/12/2017 The research found that an understanding of waterway management issues was an important foundation for understanding environmental water and its management. 25% of all surveyed had heard information about environmental water over the past 12 months. Sources of awareness included: radio, TV and newspaper media (17%), seeing changes to waterways and word-of-mouth (7%), local water corporation newsletters (7%). However overall, most felt there was not enough information provided in relation to environmental water. 9 Awareness and understanding
  • 128. “Something released in winter something (is that a jail? Who is Thomson and what’s he entitled to?), erm, got really high on the shoulders of a disease and …what? Is that the Twilight Zone? What’s reach 4?..... Give up.” Water-ish
  • 130. Commercial-in-confidence 4/12/2017 • Key message – specific audiences• 3157 – VEWH Communications research 2 6 Key messages – specific audiences
  • 131. Commercial-in-confidence 4/12/2017 Insights • 3157 – VEWH Communications research 2 8