Things we can do now that we could not do before: developing and using a cross-scalar, state-wide database to support geomorphologically-informed river management

Kirstie Fryirs*, Fergus Hancock, Michael Healey, Simon Mould, Lucy Dobbs, Marcus Riches, Allan Raine, Gary Brierley

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

A fundamental premise of river management is that practitioners understand the resource they are working with. In river management this requires that baseline information is available on the structure, function, health and trajectory of rivers. Such information provides the basis to contextualise, to plan, to be proactive, to prioritise, to set visions, to set goals and to undertake objective, pragmatic, transparent and evidence-based decision making. In this paper we present the State-wide NSW River Styles database, the largest and most comprehensive dataset of geomorphic river type, condition and recovery potential available in Australia. The database is an Open Access product covering over 216,600 km of stream length in an area of 802,000 km2. The availability of the database presents unprecedented opportunities to systematically consider river management issues at local, catchment, regional and state-wide scales, and appropriately contextualise applications in relation to programs at other scales (e.g. internationally)-something that cannot be achieved independent from, or without, such a database. We present summary findings from the database and demonstrate through use of examples how the database has been used in geomorphologicallyinformed river management. We also provide a cautionary note on the limitations of the database and expert advice on lessons learnt during its development to aid others who are undertaking similar analyses.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0244719
Pages (from-to)1-33
Number of pages33
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume16
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jan 2021

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2021. 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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