Aquatic Ecosystems Toolkit Module 1: Guidance Paper
Aquatic Ecosystems Task Group for Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water Population and Communities, 2012
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The first module is an overarching document which provides background material about the development of the Aquatic Ecosystems Toolkit and guidance on its purpose and possible applications, including guidance on the use of Modules 2, 3 and 4 in each jurisdiction.
Development of the Toolkit
The concepts and approach for many of the tools developed in the Aquatic Ecosystems Toolkit originated from State and Territory initiatives. However, the Toolkit provided a unique opportunity to build on existing programs and establish commonalities in approaches across jurisdictions with a 'common language' for aquatic ecosystems.
Several projects were commissioned by the Aquatic Ecosystems Task Group (AETG), to provide guidance and information to develop and trial components of the Toolkit.
Purpose and use of the Toolkit
The Aquatic Ecosystems Toolkit does not have a 'one size fits all' purpose, because it is non-prescriptive and flexible in its application. Thus the outcomes will vary, depending on the purpose of the assessment and which tools are applied. However, the Toolkit has the capacity to assist with:
- articulating processes for identifying and classifying HEVAE sites to meet agreed commitments under the NWI
- identifying priority HEVAE sites (at an appropriate scale) for investment
- identifying areas where data is absent or poor for the focus of future data collection
- recording aquatic ecosystem types (that can be translated into existing systems)
- understanding aquatic ecosystem components, processes, connectivity, and condition
- providing strategic direction for research priorities to build knowledge and capacity for water planning and management.
The Toolkit can be applied in its entirety, or individual tools can be used for specific purposes.
The Aquatic Ecosystems Toolkit is not expected to replace existing tools or systems for identifying and classifying potential aquatic ecological assets. It has been designed to complement and build on other systems, and is flexible in its application. To assist users of the toolkit, guidance has been provided by states and territories on the appropriate application of the toolkit in each jurisdiction and its link to existing jurisdictional tools. In applying all or some components of the Aquatic Ecosystems Toolkit, consideration should be given to existing agreed jurisdictional processes that can be used to achieve similar outcomes.