Review of the Murray Darling Basin Native Fish Strategy Demonstration Reach Concept

by | Oct 12, 2012

Client: Murray Darling Basin Authority (MDBA)

The MDBA is an Australian Government statutory authority which is responsible for planning the integrated management of the water resources of the Murray–Darling Basin. The Authority manages the Native Fish Strategy (NFS) which provides a long-term coordinated response to the key threats to native fish population in the Basin. The demonstration reach concept is part of the NFS. It’s a unique and practical concept to address the ecological challenges facing the Basin’s native fish and engage local communities and other stakeholders.

Client comments on Inovact’s work

“Great to see it all coming together – such a useful document (the Compendium) in so many ways -terrific!”

“Overall the document looks impressive.”

Key issues prevailing at commencement

  • First ten-year NFS strategy reaching its conclusion on 30 June 2013.
  • Significant investment by the MDBA required an independent strategic review of progress in implementing the demonstration reach concept and its impact and legacy.
  • Information on demonstration reaches was dispersed and the client required a consolidated information resource on the demonstration reaches for management of the concept and coordination across the Basin.
  • Loss of corporate memory with staff turnover in the native fish sections of the MDBA and states/territories.
  • Variable quality of performance reporting on progress of the demonstration reaches.
  • Variable implementation of monitoring and reporting protocols for native fish rehabilitations.
  • No monitoring and reporting protocols for community engagement.
  • Limited information sharing across the demonstration reaches.

Key services provided by Inovact

  • Designed a tailored evaluation framework based on Program Logic and linked with outcomes sought under the NFS.
  • Collected and collated performance information and evidence.
  • Engaged state government NFS coordinators, demonstration reach managers, MDBA staff, NFS Advisory Panel and Demonstration Reach Advisory Committee in addressing monitoring and evaluation issues.
  • Presentation to NFS coordinators and demonstration reach managers to build understanding and gain contributions.

Outcomes and value to date
Inovact’s work has provided a focus for the MDBA and stakeholders to objectively appraise the value, progress and areas for improvement in the direction of demonstration reaches and native fish rehabilitation. More specifically, there is now:

  • MDBA and stakeholder ownership of a comprehensive and consolidated information resource on demonstration reaches for managers, researchers and the community.
  • Support for further building a culture of information and experience sharing to advance native fish rehabilitation.
  • Access to evidence of the progress, achievements, lessons learnt and legacy of the demonstration reach concept that will enable more informed decision making on future directions.

Contact us to speak with a NRM and environmental assessment consultant.

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