Using flow guilds of freshwater fish in an adaptive management framework to simplify environmental flow delivery for semi-arid riverine systems

Lee Baumgartner, John Conallin, Ian Wooden, Bruce Campbell, Rebecca Gee, Wayne Robinson, Martin Mallen-Cooper

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37 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Freshwater rivers have been substantially altered by development and flow regulation. Altered hydrological regimes have affected a range of biota, but impacts are often most obvious on freshwater fish. Flow largely influences the range of physical habitat available to fish at various life history stages. Biological rhythms are therefore often linked to flow and optimized so that opportunities for spawning, growth and dispersal are synchronized. Assuming that flow therefore becomes the main factor which structures freshwater fish communities, the use of species specific biological information should be able to inform adaptive flow delivery strategies from the river reach to catchment scale. A test of this assertion was performed as a case study of native fish within the Edward-Wakool River system (New South Wales, Australia). Fish within the system were assigned to one of four groups based on biological similarity. Aspects of reproductive and movement ecology were then reviewed to generate optimal flow release strategies for each group. Life expectancy and hydrological constraints were then investigated and used to develop a possible 10-year flow delivery program that could generate ecological outcomes within a strategic adaptive management framework that considered potential impacts on third parties. The approach could be used to develop flow characteristics to benefit biota in any watercourse provided enough data are available to link potential outcomes with flow delivery.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)410-427
Number of pages18
JournalFish and Fisheries
Volume15
Issue number3
Early online date2013
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2014

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adaptive management
guild
freshwater fish
fish
biota
rivers
biological rhythm
flow regulation
biological rhythms
life expectancy
hydrological regime
organisms
river
river system
New South Wales
spawning
life history
catchment
ecology
case studies

Cite this

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title = "Using flow guilds of freshwater fish in an adaptive management framework to simplify environmental flow delivery for semi-arid riverine systems",
abstract = "Freshwater rivers have been substantially altered by development and flow regulation. Altered hydrological regimes have affected a range of biota, but impacts are often most obvious on freshwater fish. Flow largely influences the range of physical habitat available to fish at various life history stages. Biological rhythms are therefore often linked to flow and optimized so that opportunities for spawning, growth and dispersal are synchronized. Assuming that flow therefore becomes the main factor which structures freshwater fish communities, the use of species specific biological information should be able to inform adaptive flow delivery strategies from the river reach to catchment scale. A test of this assertion was performed as a case study of native fish within the Edward-Wakool River system (New South Wales, Australia). Fish within the system were assigned to one of four groups based on biological similarity. Aspects of reproductive and movement ecology were then reviewed to generate optimal flow release strategies for each group. Life expectancy and hydrological constraints were then investigated and used to develop a possible 10-year flow delivery program that could generate ecological outcomes within a strategic adaptive management framework that considered potential impacts on third parties. The approach could be used to develop flow characteristics to benefit biota in any watercourse provided enough data are available to link potential outcomes with flow delivery.",
keywords = "Adaptive management, Environmental flows, Freshwater fish, Hydrology, Murray-Darling basin, Recruitment",
author = "Lee Baumgartner and John Conallin and Ian Wooden and Bruce Campbell and Rebecca Gee and Wayne Robinson and Martin Mallen-Cooper",
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T1 - Using flow guilds of freshwater fish in an adaptive management framework to simplify environmental flow delivery for semi-arid riverine systems

AU - Baumgartner, Lee

AU - Conallin, John

AU - Wooden, Ian

AU - Campbell, Bruce

AU - Gee, Rebecca

AU - Robinson, Wayne

AU - Mallen-Cooper, Martin

N1 - Includes bibliographical references.

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N2 - Freshwater rivers have been substantially altered by development and flow regulation. Altered hydrological regimes have affected a range of biota, but impacts are often most obvious on freshwater fish. Flow largely influences the range of physical habitat available to fish at various life history stages. Biological rhythms are therefore often linked to flow and optimized so that opportunities for spawning, growth and dispersal are synchronized. Assuming that flow therefore becomes the main factor which structures freshwater fish communities, the use of species specific biological information should be able to inform adaptive flow delivery strategies from the river reach to catchment scale. A test of this assertion was performed as a case study of native fish within the Edward-Wakool River system (New South Wales, Australia). Fish within the system were assigned to one of four groups based on biological similarity. Aspects of reproductive and movement ecology were then reviewed to generate optimal flow release strategies for each group. Life expectancy and hydrological constraints were then investigated and used to develop a possible 10-year flow delivery program that could generate ecological outcomes within a strategic adaptive management framework that considered potential impacts on third parties. The approach could be used to develop flow characteristics to benefit biota in any watercourse provided enough data are available to link potential outcomes with flow delivery.

AB - Freshwater rivers have been substantially altered by development and flow regulation. Altered hydrological regimes have affected a range of biota, but impacts are often most obvious on freshwater fish. Flow largely influences the range of physical habitat available to fish at various life history stages. Biological rhythms are therefore often linked to flow and optimized so that opportunities for spawning, growth and dispersal are synchronized. Assuming that flow therefore becomes the main factor which structures freshwater fish communities, the use of species specific biological information should be able to inform adaptive flow delivery strategies from the river reach to catchment scale. A test of this assertion was performed as a case study of native fish within the Edward-Wakool River system (New South Wales, Australia). Fish within the system were assigned to one of four groups based on biological similarity. Aspects of reproductive and movement ecology were then reviewed to generate optimal flow release strategies for each group. Life expectancy and hydrological constraints were then investigated and used to develop a possible 10-year flow delivery program that could generate ecological outcomes within a strategic adaptive management framework that considered potential impacts on third parties. The approach could be used to develop flow characteristics to benefit biota in any watercourse provided enough data are available to link potential outcomes with flow delivery.

KW - Adaptive management

KW - Environmental flows

KW - Freshwater fish

KW - Hydrology

KW - Murray-Darling basin

KW - Recruitment

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DO - 10.1111/faf.12023

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VL - 15

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