Authors: ARRC and CFE
The Centre for Freshwater Ecosystems recently held a research forum in Canberra on 21st March 2019 where research and knowledge from the five years of the Murray-Darling Basin Environmental Water Knowledge and Research (EWKR) project were shared with various stakeholders. Among these were water managers, who will benefit extensively from some of the findings of the research and better understand the effect of, and interactions with the environment of environmental flows.
The day consisted of research and insight-sharing across the four EWKR themes: vegetation, fish, waterbirds and food webs, and a panel discussion on how research outcomes of EWKR could be distilled and shared effectively with water managers.
Highlights from the day:
- The day provided a valuable opportunity for multi-disciplinary discussions between scientists and water managers, and to explore topics of relevance to environmental watering decisions.
- Collaboration has been a cornerstone of the EWKR project, both among distributed research teams, but also between researchers and water managers from a broad cross section of commonwealth, state and regional departments and organisations. The forum highlighted the success of the program in delivering knowledge relevant throughout the Murray-Darling Basin.
- Presentations on each of the four research themes highlighted exciting findings and insights from 5 years of research that need to be shared, and attendees were keen to explore how the knowledge can be made accessible to support on-ground needs of water managers relatively quickly.
- The benefits that emerge from a five-year funding program were also evident in the types of questions that could be tackled, many of which would simply not be possible within a shorter-term funding cycle.
- Information about the research program is also being shared via the EWKR Storyspace, which has provided ongoing updates on the research program, and which to-date has had over 3,400 visitors and stories read over 8,000 times.
- In addition to the Storyspace, the project has so far produced four peer-reviewed publications with an additional three submitted, has held special sessions at both national and international conferences (ESA, RiverSymposium, AFSS), and was featured in a recent issue of RipRap (“Thrive: Nature Water and Wellbeing”), a magazine that celebrates Australia’s diverse riverine environments through stories on their science and management.
- Reports and factsheets are freely available through the EWKR Figshare site (https://latrobe.figshare.com/EWKR), which will provide an enduring portal for EWKR research outputs.
- Overall, there was excitement in the room for research to be helpful and to be used by water practitioners, including how it could be shared and in formats that make it accessible.