Background


The freshwater component of the EHMP uses rigorous science to provide a detailed regional overview of the ecosystem health of the non-tidal reaches of rivers and streams throughout South East Queensland. These waterways are a critical part of the natural environment as:


the water they carry is vital to the survival of life within the region


they support a diverse range of aquatic animals and plants


they provide a critical link between the land and sea, transporting nutrients, sediments and chemical pollutants

Healthy waterways mean healthy catchments, and the Freshwater EHMP component provides important information for the planning and evaluation of ecologically sustainable management within South East Queensland. Within this program, healthy waterways are defined as having three important attributes (Rapport et al., 1998):


Vigour – Healthy streams have appropriate rates of ecological processes, e.g. slow/steady algal growth


Organisation – Healthy streams have a complex biological structure, e.g. high biodiversity, complex food webs


Resilience – Healthy streams have the capacity to maintain their ecological structure and function in the presence of stress, e.g. they recover after a major disturbance such as drought or flood
 
EHMP-freshwater-diagram
 
The conceptual model developed for the freshwater EHMP includes indicators of physical and chemical parameters, ecosystem processes, aquatic macroinvertebrates, nutrient cycling and fish.
 
Reference:

Rapport, D.J., Costanza, R. and McMichael, A.J. (1998). Assessing ecosystem health. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 13:397-402.

Methods and Indicators