The Simple Estuarine Response Model is a tool for environmental scientists to explore the ecological behaviour of Australian estuaries. It can be used to explore the effects of changing point source loads, catchment condition and freshwater flow rate to better understand ecological dynamics of estuaries and their responses to human pressures.
The model simulates the dynamics of the plants (phytoplankton, seagrass, macroalgae and benthic microalgae) and the microscopic animals (zooplankton) that are vital components of the ecology of estuarine habitats in Australian estuaries. A simple transport model simulates typical estuarine circulation patterns.
To capture the broad range of Australia's estuaries, we have simulated ecological behaviour for a wide range of estuarine parameters. Estuarine parameters detail the physical and chemical characteristics that strongly impact on estuarine ecology: the size and circulation of the estuary, the amount of fresh water flowing into the estuary, the mixing rate with the ocean, the climate patterns, the nutrient loads from human activities, and the percentage of the catchment that has been cleared.
For each combination of estuarine parameters simulated (over 15,000 in all), a database records statistics of the predicted seasonal cycles in a set of ecological indicators (such as chlorophyll, dissolved inorganic nitrogen). Using the SERM explorer tool, the user can select arbitrary subsets of the simulated estuaries, and plot a selected model indicator versus other indicators or estuarine parameters. Alternatively, the user may select estuarine parameters to match a particular estuary (as closely as the database permits), and allow just one parameter, such as catchment clearance or point source loads, to vary. An Assessment Interface allows the user to view all indicators simultaneously for a selected estuary, or subset of estuaries.
The web-site includes case studies, with assessments of model performance, for six estuaries: Brunswick River (NSW), Port Phillip Bay (VIC), Huon Estuary (TAS), Wilson Inlet (WA), Maroochy River (QLD) and Barker Inlet (SA).
SERM represents a first attempt to develop such broad-brush, generic models of Australian estuaries, and the user should treat the results cautiously. In particular, SERM is not intended, and should not be used, to replace detailed local modelling studies in developing and assessing management strategies for individual estuaries. However, SERM can help us to develop better models, especially if users provide feedback. Tell us where the model describes the behaviour of your local estuary - and where it doesn't!
Explore the Simple Estuarine Response Model.
3-dimensional models illustrate the general characteristics of estuaries and how various uses affect their condition. The models can assist managers develop management plans.
- Process-based classification models:
- Wave dominated estuary
- Tide dominated estuary
- Wave dominated delta
- Tide dominated delta
- Condition assessment
- Recreational fishing
- Urban/industrial and port development
- Commercial fishing and Aquaculture
- Catchment pressures
The OzEstuaries database houses updated physical and geomorphic data and images of each of the estuaries assessed. Query the database by estuary name or locate an area of interest using the mapping tool.
Coastcare is a major component of Coasts and Clean Seas, the Commonwealth Government's marine and coastal conservation initiative under the Natural Heritage Trust. The Commonwealth, and State and Territory Governments provide matching funding for Coastcare community grants while Local Government provides financial and in kind support for Coastcare projects.
The objectives of Coastcare are:
- to engender in local communities, including local industries, a sense of stewardship for coastal and marine areas;
- to provide opportunities and resources for residents, volunteers, business and interest groups to participate in coastal management;
- to support community identification of natural and cultural heritage resources;
- to facilitate interaction between the community and bodies with responsibility for managing coastal areas.
Since the inception of Coastcare in 1995, the program has funded over 1300 projects around Australia. The focus of Coastcare is to assist on-ground work such as:
- protecting or rehabilitating dunes, estuaries and wetlands;
- rehabilitating coastal and marine habitats;
- removing threats to coastal environments;
- monitoring beach conditions, and coastal flora and fauna;
- helping to develop and implement local management plans;
- education and training activities that raise community awareness, knowledge or skills on coastal and marine conservation issues.
Waterwatch Australia is a national community water monitoring program that encourages all Australians to become involved and active in the protection and management of their waterways and catchments.
Since Waterwatch began, the number of monitoring groups has grown from 200 operating in 16 catchments, to nearly 3000 groups in 200 Ccatchments. Regular monitoring occurs at approximately 5,000 sites nationally.
The Waterwatch network is made up of individuals, community groups and school groups who undertake a variety of biological and habitat assessments and physical & chemical tests to build up a picture of the health of their waterways and catchments.
By monitoring their local waterways over time community members can determine if the health of the waterway and surrounds are improving, declining or being maintained.
The LOICZ Project is one of eleven program elements of the International Geosphere-Biosphere Program and focuses on the area of the earth's surface where land, ocean and atmosphere meet and interact. The overall goal of this project is to determine at regional and global scales:
- the nature of that dynamic interaction;
- how changes in various components of the Earth system are affecting coastal zones and altering their role in global cycles;
- to assess how future changes in these areas will affect their use by people and;
- to provide a sound scientific basis for future integrated management of coastal areas on a sustainable basis.
The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment will improve the management of the world's natural and managed ecosystems by helping to meet the needs of decision-makers (in governments and the private sector) and the public for peer-reviewed, policy-relevant scientific information on the condition of ecosystems, consequences of ecosystem change, and options for response.
The Millennium Assessment will provide information and also build human and institutional capacity to provide information. A diverse group of experts from the natural and social sciences, governmental agencies, non-governmental organisations, and the private sector will undertake the assessment over a four year period, beginning in April 2001.
United States of America Estuaries Assessment
EMAP's Estuaries Group assessed the status and trends in the condition of the nation's estuaries extending inland to the head of tide. In addition to coastal embayments, bays, inland water ways, and tidal rivers, the Estuaries Group also mnitored coastal wetland areas and salt-water marshes. Monitoring and assessment activities were conducted jointly by the US-EPA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
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