When water for the environment is delivered to a wetland or river it is monitored to measure the response of native plants and animals, to understand how water has moved in the landscape and the extent of inundation. Watering events are often monitored collaboratively. Government agencies work with independent researchers, tertiary institutions and community groups to gather data. The collected information is used to measure how well we are meeting long term water plan objectives and Basin Plan obligations. It also informs how we might improve future management of water for the environment.
Major themes addressed by the monitoring and evaluation program are:
- river flows and connectivity
- native vegetation
- native animals including waterbirds, frogs and turtles
- native fish.
Monitoring information is easy to access and designed to facilitate collaboration and participation across agencies and the community, thereby meeting Open Government principles.
The year in review
In the 2018–19 water year we worked closely with the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder, community groups and independent scientists to increase our understanding of ecological responses to watering activities. An example of this collaborative approach is our work with the Gayini Nimmie-Caira Core Team, which includes members from the Nari Nari Tribal Council, University of NSW and government agencies. The team worked together to deliver and monitor water for the environment in the Gayini-Nimmie-Caira system to maintain and improve the natural and cultural values of this area.
We are also working with researchers to increase our knowledge of how water management influences the environment. Projects include:
- learning how to improve land and water management in Ramsar wetlands
- how water for the environment influences waterbird genetics.
Our coordinated monitoring evaluation and research (MER) program informs how water for the environment contributes to environmental outcomes and how we might improve the management of water for the environment to better meet long-term targets.
It provides a framework for the development of a common foundation for MER programs across New South Wales that support sound policy, planning and regulatory decision-making.
This framework also guides individual MER plans for each New South Wales basin catchment and allow us to meet Basin Plan as well as other policy and planning reporting requirements.