In this chapter we reflect on a relatively small but influential example of adaptive management which seeks to enhance the environmental benefits of the flow regime in the highly regulated Mitta Mitta River in Australia's Murray-Darling Basin. In 1999 an operational review recommended the reintroduction of greater in-stream flow variability in the Mitta Mitta River in an attempt to improve river health. The river managers have worked towards this through managed variable releases from Dartmouth Dam. These variable releases have been trialled four times from 2001-2008, with the explicit intention of learning more about the ecological impacts of variable flows while still achieving operational goals for the River Murray System overall. The ecological impact of the variable releases was studied via a series of consultancies by a University freshwater ecology team. They concluded that variable flow improved ecological condition compared with the condition after periods of relatively constant flow for greater than 1 month, although the benefits of it are relatively short-lived. Principles were developed over time through discussions between river managers and the research team. These principles are being progressively refined and incorporated into the current operational plan for the river, and learning continues. We suggest that three key ingredients enabled and supported adaptive management in this particular case; aspects of the operational context, the people involved and the trusting relationships that developed.
|Title of host publication||Adaptive environmental management|
|Subtitle of host publication||a practitioner's guide|
|Editors||Catherine Allan, George Henry Stankey|
|Place of Publication||Dordrecht|
|Number of pages||11|
|Publication status||Published - 2009|