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Step 4: Identify a mix of management interventions

At this point in the process, it should have been established that rehabilitation is required. There should be clear objective/s, the services and values to be maintained or enhanced should have been identified and the beneficiaries and stakeholders should be known. This information can be used to identify a mix of management interventions.

Rehabilitation process diagram locator

Management interventions to deliver aquatic ecosystem rehabilitation outcomes can be broadly divided into six themes:

  1. Best management practice (BMP) including pressure reduction: practices that prevent impacts on the environment and reduce pressures from the source.
  2. Engagement, extension and education: options that build awareness, enthusiasm, relationships, knowledge and capacity for improved management.
  3. Systems repair: options involve improving processes and/or components of an ecosystem primarily through natural means such as active revegetation.
  4. Applied research and monitoring: options involve providing additional information to solve problems such as filling key knowledge gaps and repeat assessments (monitoring) to discover system trajectories.
  5. Engineered solutions: options involve building engineered structures used to modify aquatic ecosystem components and processes.
  6. Planning and institutional arrangements: options such as protection of environmental values using regulatory planning, assessment, approval, compliance and enforcement mechanisms administered by Commonwealth, State and local Governments.

Every rehabilitation site will be different but there are general principles that apply to all sites when it comes to the types of intervention used. Engagement, extension and education should be part of all interventions, but the degree will differ with the project. Best management practices should be applied first as these can reduce the need for other types of management intervention. Interventions such as engineered solutions may pose a higher risk or require lengthy lead in time (e.g. planning and institutional arrangements) often making them last resort options if no other solutions are possible.

While each of these themes are described separately, in practice there is often overlap and many interventions will require actions from different themes. An engineered solution, such as bank stabilisation, may often be undertaken with systems repair, such as active revegetation. Management interventions may also span more than one theme, for example assisted natural regeneration falls under best management practice and systems repair. In selecting the most appropriate management interventions the available budget and legal requirements will often be the key deciding factor. The ultimate goal is to limit risk (social, financial and environmental) and fix the problem rather than apply a temporary solution.

A range of tools and methods are available for assessing and prioritising management interventions and factors to be considered are outlined in the Whole-of-System Values-Based framework. In Great Barrier Reef Catchments, the Gully and Streambank Toolbox can be used to assess erosion potential, sediment loss and prioritise cost effective management interventions. A preliminary list of actions with a timeline and equipment list should be developed, but note that a detailed design is required in step 5. For example, if erosion and sediment is identified as a threat to the values of the aquatic ecosystem then the plan will need to address both short and long-term sediment control. Short-term approaches may include sediment fencing, while long-term activities may involve adding vegetated filter strips and buffer zones or the placement of boulders and logs to aid stabilisation.

Things to think about:

  • Is expert advice required to help make a decision?
  • What are the risks of not intervening at the site and monitoring instead (i.e. passive management) or making alternative management decisions (e.g. consider if the infrastructure can be moved to a more appropriate location and take action to minimise the threats)? Are these acceptable risks?
  • What is the ultimate goal for rehabilitation and are the risks of the proposed interventions acceptable?
  • What are the most important actions to achieve that goal?
  • What risks are there to health and safety and the public both during the intervetion and long-term?
  • Have unanticipated consequences to interventions been considered?
  • What is the budget and timeframe and are the proposed interventions timely and cost effective?
  • Have long-term maintenance and monitoring requirements been considered?
  • What are the values and desired ecosystem services of the beneficiaries including First Nations people?
  • Have legal obligations (e.g. permits) been considered and are they achievable?

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Last updated: 28 June 2022

This page should be cited as:

Department of Environment and Science, Queensland (2022) Step 4: Identify a mix of management interventions, WetlandInfo website, accessed 1 July 2022. Available at: https://wetlandinfo.des.qld.gov.au/wetlands/management/rehabilitation/rehab-process/step-4/

Queensland Government
WetlandInfo   —   Department of Environment and Science