October 2009

the Little Yarra

27.10.2009 - Posted by Amanda Wealands
After a long period of dry conditions, its been good to see some flow in the rivers of southern Victoria. Michael Bain, Misko Ivezich and Dom Blackham have had a couple of trips to the Little Yarra River in the last month or so to look at instream large wood – it was a bit hard to see much of the channel on the first trip, when the flow was up around bankfull.

But back to more average conditions on the field trip today

where is Geoff?

12.10.2009 - Posted by Amanda Wealands
Dr Geoff Vietz has recently joined The University of Melbourne as a Research Fellow on the Farms River and Markets Project (FRM Project). The FRM project is an inter disciplinary project that seeks to inform adaption strategies for farming communites and environmental mangers allowing them to achieve better results with less water in a drier climate. The project is funded by the National Water Commission, the Victorian Water Trust, the Tallis Trust and the University of Melbourne.

Geoff, along with a team of ecologists and hydrologists, is focused on the Rivers component which has three main objectives:
- to improve the capacity of managers to evaluate the outcomes of proposed catchment management changes - this component will develop an ecological catchment model to evaluate the environmental response in terms of community changes, persistence and condition to changes in water regime
- to ehance achievement of management objectives through improved water management decisions - this component will adapt techniques from decision sceince that are designed to guide decision making in cases where the future costs and benefits vary through time and are uncertain, such as with the complicated scenarios facing environmental water managers under the current climate
- to improve ecological outcomes through improved knowledge of the relationshp between flow, ecology and physical form and evaluate the potential environmental benefits of using wetlands as off-river storages

The field work for the Rivers project is being undertaken on the Broken River in north-central Victoria. One of the focus habitats types is slackwaters: identified for their importance in providing hydraulic diversity; as fish and macroinvertebrate habitat; and for sedimentation and the formation of in-channel morphologies such as benches. Identification of the variation in slackwater habitat under varying flow scenarios, and potential to optimise the availability of habitat under regulated conditions, will be a key output from this project.

In addition to his 4 days per week at The University of Melbourne Geoff will maintain a working relationship with Alluvium on geomorphic and water resource projects.