Event Title

The use of the River Styles framework as a tool for River Science and Management

Presenter Information

Gary Brierley

Location

ECC 216

Event Website

http://water.usu.edu/

Start Date

4-4-2012 9:00 AM

End Date

4-4-2012 9:35 AM

Description

Effective environmental management is adaptive, building upon scientifically informed policies that themselves are emergent. Geomorphic principles provide a landscape platform with which to link policy, planning and on-the-ground applications in a coherent, cross-scalar manner, ensuring that river management strategies reflect the values and attributes of a given place. Applications of the River Styles Framework generate catchment-specific, baseline information and understanding of river forms, processes, evolution, condition and trajectory. Working under the mantra ‘know your catchment’, this open-ended learning tool has four stages. The first stage examines and explains the pattern and connectivity of reaches within the context of catchment scale boundary controls. Assessment of river character and behavior is based on the assemblage of geomorphic units (channel and floodplain landforms) along any reach. Distinct assemblages of features characterize different river types. Stage Two analyses geomorphic river condition, identifying geomorphic responses to human disturbance. In this non-prescriptive approach to the determination of reach condition, practitioners select (or develop) appropriate criteria for the type of river that they are working upon. This enables the assessment of the ‘natural’ diversity and range of variability (the ‘expected’ behavioural regime) of a river. Stage Three interprets river recovery potential at the catchment-scale based upon analyses of river evolution and the key drivers and stressors that fashion system adjustment. The direction and causes of changes in geomorphic river condition are identified. Evolutionary assessment at the catchment-scale identifies threatening processes that may compromise future geomorphic river condition and future pressures that may be placed on the system. Finally, management applications of the information generated in Stages 1-3 are identified in Stage 4. A vision of the optimal catchment-scale achievable state, and associated reach-scale target conditions, is determined, and a prioritization framework for management actions is applied. Recent policy developments in NSW Australia apply this landscape template as an integrating platform for catchment action planning, water management planning, vegetation management, water quality assessment, conservation and rehabilitation planning and implementation, and monitoring programs. Inevitably, scientific guidance may clash with social priorities and values, especially the quest for short-term, quick-fix solutions in areas of obvious disturbance and change. However, measures in these areas are likely to be ineffective in both financial and environmental terms unless degradational influences are addressed elsewhere within the catchment.

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Apr 4th, 9:00 AM Apr 4th, 9:35 AM

The use of the River Styles framework as a tool for River Science and Management

ECC 216

Effective environmental management is adaptive, building upon scientifically informed policies that themselves are emergent. Geomorphic principles provide a landscape platform with which to link policy, planning and on-the-ground applications in a coherent, cross-scalar manner, ensuring that river management strategies reflect the values and attributes of a given place. Applications of the River Styles Framework generate catchment-specific, baseline information and understanding of river forms, processes, evolution, condition and trajectory. Working under the mantra ‘know your catchment’, this open-ended learning tool has four stages. The first stage examines and explains the pattern and connectivity of reaches within the context of catchment scale boundary controls. Assessment of river character and behavior is based on the assemblage of geomorphic units (channel and floodplain landforms) along any reach. Distinct assemblages of features characterize different river types. Stage Two analyses geomorphic river condition, identifying geomorphic responses to human disturbance. In this non-prescriptive approach to the determination of reach condition, practitioners select (or develop) appropriate criteria for the type of river that they are working upon. This enables the assessment of the ‘natural’ diversity and range of variability (the ‘expected’ behavioural regime) of a river. Stage Three interprets river recovery potential at the catchment-scale based upon analyses of river evolution and the key drivers and stressors that fashion system adjustment. The direction and causes of changes in geomorphic river condition are identified. Evolutionary assessment at the catchment-scale identifies threatening processes that may compromise future geomorphic river condition and future pressures that may be placed on the system. Finally, management applications of the information generated in Stages 1-3 are identified in Stage 4. A vision of the optimal catchment-scale achievable state, and associated reach-scale target conditions, is determined, and a prioritization framework for management actions is applied. Recent policy developments in NSW Australia apply this landscape template as an integrating platform for catchment action planning, water management planning, vegetation management, water quality assessment, conservation and rehabilitation planning and implementation, and monitoring programs. Inevitably, scientific guidance may clash with social priorities and values, especially the quest for short-term, quick-fix solutions in areas of obvious disturbance and change. However, measures in these areas are likely to be ineffective in both financial and environmental terms unless degradational influences are addressed elsewhere within the catchment.

https://digitalcommons.usu.edu/runoff/2012/AllAbstracts/63