Wild Rivers model
Description and method logic
The wild rivers model was developed to identify Australia’s wild rivers.
The Wild Rivers project defines a wild (or near-pristine) river as a channel, channel network or a connected network of water bodies, of natural origin and exhibiting overland flow in which the biological, hydrological and geomorphological processes associated with river flow; and the biological, hydrological and geomorphological processes in those parts of the catchment with which the river is linked; have not been significantly altered since European settlement.
When developing a methodology for a national assessment, national, direct measures of river condition disturbance were found to be lacking and indirect measures known to relate to river condition and functioning were used. The wild rivers model was developed to produce indices of river disturbance using a grid-based GIS modelling procedure. These indices indicate the potential of a stream section to meet the definition of a wild river. The model is based on concepts of a disturbance continuum.
The model could be refined with improvements to the drainage analysis, primary disturbance database and varied rather than simple weightings.
Used with "Conservation Management Guidelines for Wild River Values" the wild rivers database provides a basis for maintaining the integrity of Australia's remaining wild rivers.
Criteria groupings of the method
Because of limited national data, indirect indicators were used to rate the wild river status of streams. Wilderness values were related disturbance to natural processes affecting river flow, either directly such as dams or indirectly through human changes to the catchment.
National Wilderness Index primary database (NWI), topographic data (GEODATA) and mineral occurrence locations database (MINLOC).
A database of the 1998 results of the Wild Rivers model is no longer available.
Improvements using more accurate data available since then would require the Wild Rivers software toolkit, ArcInfo with the GRID module and updated data.
Criteria by category
Physical and chemical
Management and planning
Natural resource managers, government agencies.
Last updated: 7 February 2019
This page should be cited as:
Department of Environment and Science, Queensland (2019) Wild Rivers model, WetlandInfo website, accessed 2 February 2022. Available at: https://wetlandinfo.des.qld.gov.au/wetlands/resources/tools/assessment-search-tool/wild-rivers-model/