Evolution of a river management industry in Australia reveals meandering pathway to 2030 UN goals

Kathryn Russell*, Kirstie Fryirs, David Reid, Alison Miller, Geoff Vietz, Ian Rutherfurd, Ben Pearson, Apanie Wood, Sarah Gregor, Jess Walker, Johanna Slijkerman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
33 Downloads (Pure)


Globally, river management is a multi-billion-dollar industry. The United Nations (UN) Decade of Ecosystem Restoration calls for accelerated action towards integrated, participatory, and adaptive water resources management. Here we test whether the required shifts are occurring in the Australian stream management industry, an environmental management industry in a developed western nation. We undertook structured review and topic modelling of 958 peer-reviewed papers presented at the national stream management conference from 1996-2021. We investigated trends in collaboration, transdisciplinary knowledge, diversity of- input and perspectives, adaptive management, interaction with policy, and responses to natural events. We found that the industry has matured over the past 25 years, with increasing collaboration, diversity and interdisciplinarity. However, there was no measurable increase in on-ground community participation or use of adaptive management. The findings highlight opportunities for the industry to mature further to achieve UN 2030 goals for integrated water resource management and ecosystem restoration.
Original languageEnglish
Article number93
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalCommunications Earth and Environment
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 24 Mar 2023

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2023. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


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