Environmental monitoring protocols to assess potential impacts from Ranger minesite on aquatic ecosystems: Macroinvertebrate community structure in streams

Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities, 2013

Internal Report 591
Supervising Scientist Division

Executive summary

The SSD operates an integrated chemical (including radiological), physical and biological monitoring program to ensure protection of the aquatic ecosystems of the ARR from the operation of uranium mines in the region. This stream monitoring program is an independent, assurance program, unlike the compliance and check water chemistry monitoring programs of the mining company (Ranger) and the NT government regulator respectively.

The techniques and ‘indicators’ used in the monitoring program satisfy two important needs of environmental protection: (i) the early detection of significant changes in measured indicators to avoid short or longer term ecologically important impacts; and (ii) assessing ecological or ecosystem-level effects by way of measured changes to surrogate indicators of biodiversity.

The SSD has prepared protocols for the measurement programs required to implement each of these monitoring techniques. For each technique, two types of protocols have been prepared, high-level protocols and detailed operational manuals. This document is the high-level protocol, describing the science underpinning one of the biological biodiversity-assessment techniques, namely monitoring of macroinvertebrate communities in streams.

This protocol for the stream macroinvertebrate monitoring technique provides an overview of the monitoring principles and objectives, experimental and statistical design, field, laboratory, data analysis and impact assessment procedures and reporting requirements.