Paul Maxwell

Paul Maxwell

Paul Maxwell is a Senior Principal Scientist at Healthy Land and Water, a not-for-profit organisation in south east Queensland responsible for natural resource management in the region. Paul co-ordinates the organisation’s research and monitoring activities.

Evaluating the Success of Past Strategies: Why Looking to the Past is Critical for Future Catchment Resilience

It’s been nearly 20 years since the development of the strategy that launched south east Queensland’s Healthy Waterways and Catchments Partnership. Back in 2001 local councils, state government departments and universities agreed on a way forward to reduce the threats to, and enhance the resilience of, the waterways of South East Queensland. The result was the SEQ Regional Water Quality Management Strategy released in September 2001. The region’s vision for their waterways was that by 2020, the waterways and catchments would be healthy living ecosystems supporting the livelihoods and lifestyles of people in SEQ. So as we approach 2020 and after approximately $1 billion of investment in the actions outlined in the strategy, what have we achieved? This presentation will provide an evaluation of the 2001 strategy using data sets from a long-term monitoring program. It will showcase the improvements we’ve seen (significant improvements in water quality in many estuaries and in recent years a return of seagrass to the most impacted regions of Moreton Bay) as well as the threats and challenges that still remain. Most importantly, the presentation will highlight the importance of these long-term strategies as an antidote to a world dominated by shorter term political cycles, the importance of long-term monitoring and evaluation programs to assess the effectiveness of these strategies and the resolve required to “stay the course” so that ultimately our waterways might be given a chance to recover.

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