01 Nov David Reid
Dr David Reid works with Georges Riverkeeper in southern Sydney. David has worked in both freshwater and estuaries, through roles as a researcher, lecturer and consultant in Australia, New Zealand and USA. His current position involves research, monitoring and education to inform diverse groups about waterway management issues and solutions.
Monitoring of water quality and macroinvertebrates are most often used in programs to assess the condition of waterways. Limitations of such indicators are that they often provide information primarily about ecological values and are resource intensive, so only a relatively small number of sites can be assessed. A broader suite of indicators and a larger number of sites may be monitored using rapid visual assessments. We modified the Rapid Riparian Assessment methodology developed in urban areas of Sydney to include additional metrics for key fish habitat, vegetation community types, weeds, litter and community values. This facilitates providing information about ecosystem services, such as social values, as well as more detail about ecological values to inform management of specific issues along streams. Even after the inclusion of additional metrics, the application of the visual assessment methodology is rapid and cost effective, without the need for any follow-up laboratory processing. Rapid assessment was further enhanced by using database software which allowed electronic data entry in the field and iterative development of the method without compromising data integrity. In urban landscapes, the method allows for the assessment of over ten stream reaches per day and it was possible to quickly collect a large dataset with high spatial resolution. Data collected using the rapid assessment was readily integrated with data from water quality and macroinvertebrate surveys. Mapping of different metrics from the rapid visual assessments allowed the identification of hotspots with specified management issues and the communication of multiple lines of evidence to guide stream management.