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Step 3: Reassess the purpose or objective

Things to think about

  • Are the desired ecosystems services or values achievable?
  • Are the financial constraints too significant?
  • Are the legal constraints too high?
  • Are the underlying pressures or threats too hard to manage?
  • Are the ongoing maintenance requirements too great?
  • Is there clarity on who will undertake the ongoing site management?
  • Are the risks of rehabilitation too great or unknown?
  • Is there adequate research and understanding to proceed?
  • Are the time frames realistic?
Rehabilitation includes rock placement to help fish move up and downstream  Photo by Queensland Government

Quick facts

models can be used to describe current understanding of the ecology, components and processes that characterise wetland types. These models can inform management and rehabilitation actions and underpin research and monitoring. Wetland classification information and the Wetland Profiles are also available.

Once all of the information from Step 2 has been collated it is important to review and reassess the original objectives and outcomes. Use the 'things to think about' list above as a guide to establishing how viable the rehabilitation works may be and modify expectations and outcome accordingly.

Many local wetlands are changing and some of these changes result in irreversible impacts. Also proposed develops in or near the wetlands or climate change predictions may make rehabilitation actions effectively redundant. Reinstating original ecosystem, in cases where significant environmental change has occurred, may not be feasible or efficient. In some cases an appropriate solution may be to establish an alternative, ecosystems better suited to the changed conditions with clear links to the services it will provide.

For example where there has been irreversible physical (soil and water), biological or hydrological changes e.g. from saline to freshwater or low flow to high flow and rehabilitation of the site may include changing the wetland type. This style of rehabilitation has been labelled with many names in the past, but is often now referred to as 'conversion'. Whether a conversion would be considered ecological rehabilitation through hydrological or revegetation works, depends on there being a reasonable likelihood of achieving a viable local naturally occurring ecosystem.

  • Where biological degradation cannot be reversed, the next best alternative may be rehabilitation to the highest practicable ecological functionality, with as with as many, locally occurring, high value ecosystem services as possible.
  • The conceptual model/s and information gathered in Step 2 will greatly assist with this step.
  • Due to the extensive variability and flexibility of wetlands, and the importance of water, the results of wetland rehabilitation are not always expected. Deviation from the desired outcome can be minimised by good research and an extensive understanding of the site and temporal/seasonal dynamics.

Last updated: 10 September 2018

This page should be cited as:

Department of Environment and Science, Queensland (2018) Step 3: Reassess the purpose or objective, WetlandInfo website, accessed 13 May 2021. Available at:

Queensland Government
WetlandInfo   —   Department of Environment and Science