Ecological risk assessment for Australia's tropical rivers
Renee Bartolo, Rick van Dam and Peter Bayliss
The objective of the Tropical Rivers Inventory and Assessment Project (TRIAP) ecological risk assessment sub-project is to develop a framework applicable to key focus catchments and significant locations that meet stakeholder needs. A broad overview of the major pressures on tropical Australia's aquatic ecosystems will be provided through this sub-project, in addition to more detailed risk assessments for the following focus catchments: the Daly River (Northern Territory); the Flinders River (Queensland); and the Fitzroy River (Western Australia).
A conceptual risk assessment model of the Daly River Catchment that identifies the key ecological assets and threats was developed following consultation with government stakeholders and an extensive review of existing reports and management plans. This conceptual model is a key planning tool and focuses on the interactions between susceptible assets and key threats. The conceptual model provides the basis for undertaking a "first-pass" semi quantitative risk assessment of multiple threats to multiple assets, and at different spatial scales within a GIS framework. This approach allows the production of relative risk maps for catchments across the Northern Rivers Region down to sub-catchments at the focus catchment scale.