The Applied Aquatic Ecology Hub recently hosted a two-day forum 'Water for the Environment: Share, Connect & Improve' (WFE : SCI) that aimed to understand and improve the effectiveness, efficiency and impact of knowledge exchange in environmental water planning and decision making.
Over 100 environmental water professionals from 30 different organisations across NSW, Victoria, South Australia and the ACT attended, representing a mix of those working in research, management, Traditional Owners and policy and program development.Associate Professor Ian Rutherford provided an excellent first day keynote address that set the scene.
Professor John Thwaites, Chair of ClimateWorks Australia and the Monash Sustainable Development Institute and a former Deputy Premier of Victoria, provided a fascinating keynote address providing valuable insights on how to get your message to penetrate within government and to politicians.
Professor John Thwaites gave a keynote presentation 'The 10 Commandments of political engagement'
Over the two days, a fantastic line-up of speakers presented a diverse set of case studies covering topics such as coordinated flows for Silver and Golden Perch movement, cultural flows, blackwater, environmental water knowledge management, monitoring environmental flows and the Living Murray Icon sites.
Emerging science presentations were also shared with participants on eco-acoustic techniques for measuring wetland health, the effects of flow on platypus and developing research priorities for environmental water.
A key theme identified by forum participants was of the importance of relationships. Whether it is science and research informing management, policy and program development; regional water managers communicating with community; or traditional owners engaging in environmental water planning, these, and all our relationships, are key to the success of a water for the environment program.