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St Ives Chase, Australia

Baumgartner L.,Australian Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries | Zampatti B.,SARDI Aquatic Sciences Center | Jones M.,Arthur Rylah Institute for Environmental Research | Stuart I.,Researcher and Principal of Kingfisher Research P L | Mallen-Cooper M.,Fishway Consulting Services
Ecological Management and Restoration

Summary: Construction of instream barriers, preventing fish from accessing spawning, nursery and feeding habitat, is a major issue impacting fisheries sustainability throughout the world. Since European settlement, development in the Murray-Darling Basin for irrigation and potable water supplies has led to the construction of over 10,000 barriers to fish movement. The Native Fish Strategy listed fish passage as a major driving action and was proactive in progressing cost-effective solutions to help inform large-scale rehabilitation programmes. The strategy identified a list of high-priority barriers for mitigation works based on feedback from jurisdictional agencies. Research initiatives were then implemented, with measurable outcomes, to help address key knowledge gaps. Research demonstrated that a project to restore passage to the Murray River main channel was meeting all ecological and engineering objectives. Follow-on work identified low-cost mechanisms to improve the effectiveness of existing fishways without compromising ecological functionality. The Native Fish Strategy was also explicit in addressing fish passage issues at irrigation infrastructure and wetland regulators. Work to minimise these impacts included quantifying the scale of irrigation-associated infrastructure and also optimising screen designs to be retrofitted to pump systems to prevent fish entrainment. Options to enhance lateral movement were also identified. The objective of this study is to summarise the fish passage issues progressed by the Native Fish Strategy to develop basin-wide solutions to enhance fish passage over the long term. © 2014 The Authors. Ecological Management & Restoration published by Ecological Society of Australia and Wiley Publishing Asia Pty Ltd. Source

Koehn J.D.,Arthur Rylah Institute for Environmental Research | King A.J.,Charles Darwin University | Beesley L.,University of Western Australia | Copeland C.,Australian Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries | And 2 more authors.
Ecological Management and Restoration

Summary: Increased regulation and extraction of water from rivers has contributed to the decline of fishes, and the use of environmental water allocations (EWAs) is now a key rehabilitation measure. Major reform of water policy in the Murray-Darling Basin (MDB), Australia, has recently provided significant EWAs to improve ecological outcomes. Conflict over water buybacks, the value of the water and the need to maximise environmental benefits and minimise risks of unwanted outcomes has increased the expectation for science to underpin and justify such actions. Recent research has focussed attention on the need to understand fish-flow relationships. The Native Fish Strategy for the Murray-Darling Basin 2003-2013 (NFS), while not specifically targeted at water policy reform or water delivery, has provided fish ecology research and flow restoration experimentation and contributed considerable new scientific knowledge to support flow management. It has contributed to a substantial and positive change in environmental watering for fish, with native fish targets now regularly incorporated into watering objectives. This study documents changes to water management in the MDB, summarises current knowledge of flow-related fish ecology in the MDB, highlights the benefits and risks of some water management practises and provides recommendations for future management and research. A major recommendation is the need for a coordinated, cross-jurisdictional approach to flow restoration for native fish, ensuring that the best available science is being used in all watering allocations. We caution on the use of environmental works such as regulators to artificially inundate floodplains and suggest that such approaches should be viewed as large-scale experiments with the significant risks posed to fish needing to be recognised, adequately monitored and adaptively managed. © 2014 The Authors. Ecological Management & Restoration published by Ecological Society of Australia and Wiley Publishing Asia Pty Ltd. Source

Baumgartner L.J.,Australian Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries | Conallin J.,Australian Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries | Wooden I.,Australian Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries | Campbell B.,Environment | And 3 more authors.
Fish and Fisheries

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. © 2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd. Source

Brown R.S.,Pacific Northwest National Laboratory | Colotelo A.H.,Pacific Northwest National Laboratory | Pflugrath B.D.,Pacific Northwest National Laboratory | Boys C.A.,Port Stephens Fisheries Institute | And 8 more authors.

Freshwater fishes are one of the most imperiled groups of vertebrates, and population declines are alarming in terms of biodiversity and to communities that rely on fisheries for their livelihood and nutrition. One activity associated with declines in freshwater fish populations is water resource development, including dams, weirs, and hydropower facilities. Fish passing through irrigation and hydro infrastructures during downstream migration experience a rapid decrease in pressure, which can lead to injuries (barotrauma) that contribute to mortality. There is renewed initiative to expand hydropower and irrigation infrastructure to improve water security and increase low-carbon energy generation. The impact of barotrauma on fish must be understood and mitigated to ensure that development is sustainable for fisheries. This will involve taking steps to expand the knowledge of barotrauma-related injury from its current focus, mainly on seaward-migrating juvenile salmonids of the Pacific Northwest, to incorporate a greater diversity of fish species and life stages from many parts of the world. This article summarizes research that has examined barotrauma during fish passage and articulates a research framework to promote a standardized, global approach. The suggested approach provides clearly defined links to adaptive development of fish friendly technologies, aimed at mitigating the threats faced by global freshwater fisheries from the rapid expansion of water infrastructure. © 2014 American Fisheries Society. Source

Dugan P.J.,Worldfish Center | Barlow C.,Australian Center for International Agricultural Research | Agostinho A.A.,State University of Maringa | Baran E.,Worldfish Center | And 10 more authors.

The past decade has seen increased international recognition of the importance of the services provided by natural ecosystems. It is unclear however whether such international awareness will lead to improved environmental management in many regions. We explore this issue by examining the specific case of fish migration and dams on the Mekong river. We determine that dams on the Mekong mainstem and major tributaries will have a major impact on the basin's fisheries and the people who depend upon them for food and income. We find no evidence that current moves towards dam construction will stop, and consider two scenarios for the future of the fisheries and other ecosystems of the basin. We conclude that major investment is required in innovative technology to reduce the loss of ecosystem services, and alternative livelihood strategies to cope with the losses that do occur. © 2010 Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. Source

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