MDB-EWKR Project:
2019 Synthesis Report

Theme Coordinator: Nicole Thurgate


The Murray–Darling Basin Environmental Water Knowledge and Research Project (MDB EWKR) was a five-year project funded by the Commonwealth Environmental Water Office in the Department of the Environment and Energy. The research focussed on four thematic areas, which were identified by water managers as high priority knowledge gaps; fish, waterbirds, vegetation and food webs.

Reviews, synthesis, models, experiments and field studies were undertaken to better understand processes in the Murray Darling Basin; and the information provided in this report (and each individual theme reports) is for both scientists and managers to use. We believe that EWKR has conducted ground-breaking research that improves understanding of what we know and what remains to be discovered within each theme.


Key outcomes:

  • Floodplain inundation is crucial to provide the highest quality resources for riverine foodwebs.
  • Processes within the Basin operate at a myriad of scales so managing a river for recruitment or dispersal, for example requires information at each scale (i.e. site, catchment, basin).
  • Connectivity of rivers, habitats and catchments is needed to ensure the movement of organisms and resources across the Basin.
  • Improvements in habitat quality can be influenced by flow management and resource management e.g. by providing flows that promote fish movement or improve the structural complexity within rivers.
  • There is no one correct way to manage the Basin. The ‘boom and bust’ variability of unregulated Australian rivers needs to be mimicked to provide the maximum opportunity for all life history strategies.
  • Projects such as EWKR have value beyond the performance of research projects as they provide a unique opportunity for the formation of collaborations, networks and research directions between groups of scientists, and between scientists and water managers.

To download the full report, click the button below.

Download Report


Individual theme reports


Fish Theme


Foodwebs Theme


Vegetation Theme


Waterbirds Theme


Additional read: A day of research and knowledge sharing: 2019 EWKR Forum Recap