An adaptive approach is critical in managing water dependent ecosystems so both land managers and policy makers can learn and change strategies based on the outcomes of research and watering actions. It is also known as ‘learning by doing’ through designing, implementing, monitoring, reporting and evaluating our work. Adaptive management informs the on-going refinement and implementation of the EWMP by incorporating outcomes from environmental delivery, ecological monitoring, operation of works at each site, modelling and community consultation.
The Annual TLM Environmental Watering Plan is developed at the beginning of the watering season and complements the Icon Site EWMP. As the season progresses, the annual water planning process is responsive to changing water resource conditions, opportunities and environmental priorities. A flexible decision making framework is included in the annual plan so that as water resource conditions change the EWG is able to adaptively assess watering priorities during the year.
To highlight and analyse the past year’s activities and outcomes the MDBA coordinates with the Icon Site Managers to produce an annual TLM Implementation Report (also a requirement under Clause 199 of TLM Business Plan) which is presented to the Murray–Darling Basin Ministerial Council.
To capture key learnings and changing icon site management practices, schedules appended to the EWMP will be updated as required.
For the LLCMM icon site, the condition and intervention monitoring programs and environmental water requirements modelling provide the core information for water bids, and are integral to the adaptive management process. Past monitoring programs have informed the need to protect key refugia in the Lower Lakes, enhance connectivity between the Lakes and Coorong and develop optimal barrage release patterns for Coorong health, leading to the development of water bids which aimed to deliver these objectives. Monitoring programs have also been used to determine whether the aims and objectives of particular watering events have been successfully met. Long-term monitoring results have helped to shape the current environmental water requirements for the icon site, and it is envisaged that these will be further refined in the future as more up-to-date information becomes available.
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