Geomorphology in action

Linking policy with on-the-ground actions through applications of the River Styles framework

Gary Brierley*, Kirstie Fryirs, Nick Cook, David Outhet, Allan Raine, Lucy Parsons, Michael Healey

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

27 Citations (Scopus)


Integrative approaches to natural resources management build upon scientifically informed policy frameworks. Landscape templates provide a physical platform with which to develop and enact coherent measures which balance concerns for ecosystem health and economic development. The River Styles framework (Brierley & Fryirs, 2000, 2005, p. 398) is a geomorphic tool that feeds scientific information into river management applications and prioritization, striving to ensure that actions reflect the values of a given place. Three recent developments in the use of the River Styles framework in New South Wales, Australia are reported here. First, the use of this cross-scalar, catchment-framed tool in the development and implementation of proactive and strategic management measures is outlined. Regional-scale conservation planning activities are applied using reference reaches for differing River Styles. Catchment-scale investigations into river character, behaviour and evolutionary trajectory frame site/reach considerations in their catchment context. Second, policy links to on-the-ground activities are explored, highlighting ways in which a physical landscape template provides an integrating platform for catchment action planning, water management planning, vegetation management, water quality assessment, conservation and rehabilitation planning and implementation, and monitoring programs. These applications build upon a fragility index that combines concerns for common values, system condition and risk. Third, extensions to the River Styles framework that support management of urban streams are outlined. The use of Geographic Information Systems as a cross-scalar spatial analysis tool with which to guide coherent management applications is highlighted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1132-1143
Number of pages12
JournalApplied Geography
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2011

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