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Surface water in regional NRM plans

  • Year: 2005
  • Author: McDonald G (CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems); Walker M (Queensland Department of Natural Resources and Mines); Heyenga S
  • Editors: McDonald G (ed), Taylor B (ed), and Robinson C (ed).
  • Journal Name: Findings from a review of regional NRM plans
  • Publisher: Cooperative Research Centre for Tropical Savannas
  • Published Location: Darwin NT
  • Country: Australia
  • State/Region: Queensland

This paper reviews regional natural resource management (NRM) plans prepared by regional NRM bodies in Queensland under the guidelines of the National Action Plan for Salinity and Water Quality (NAPSWQ) and the Natural Heritage Trust (NHT). The review focuses on how the regional NRM plans addressed water quality and water supply criteria, specifically maintaining or improving soil and water salinity levels and maintaining or improving water quality in freshwater streams and lakes, maintaining environmental flow requirements of streams and maintaining or restoring groundwater levels and quality. Overall, the review found that very few plans could define resource condition targets for water that met program expectations, despite the major efforts to collect new information for regional overviews and to assimilate the available science. The collected information was patchy and the science behind cost-effective management change incomplete. Nevertheless, the plans demonstrate a lot of initiative andachievements against significant resourcing and institutional barriers. With the time and resources to succeed, the plans are the first really integrated and rigorous step in delivering improved catchment and river health working alongside the necessary statutory programs. The key requirement is that communities, regions and governments see this as an ongoing adaptive process and not an immediate solution.

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