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Environmental Water Scientific Advisory Panel Members

The Environmental Water Scientific Advisory Panel comprises prominent scientists and experts in fields such as hydrology, limnology, river operations management, river and floodplain ecology and the management of aquatic ecosystems.

Members of the Environmental Water Scientific Advisory Panel

Rear (Left to Right) Prof Kingsford, A/Prof Walker, Prof Arthington, Dr Stewardson, Mr Dole
Seated (Left to Right) Dr Gawne, Prof Hart (Chair), A/Prof Watts

Current members of the Panel are:


Professor Barry Hart

Professor Barry Hart is Director of the environmental consulting company – Water Science Pty Ltd, having recently retired from Monash University. He has been appointed an Emeritus Professor by Monash University. Previously he was Director of the Water Studies Centre at Monash University and Deputy Director Research of the CRC for Freshwater Ecology.

Professor Hart has established an international reputation in the fields of ecological risk assessment, environmental flow decision-making (particularly using Bayesian Network models), water quality and catchment management and environmental chemistry (heavy metal and nutrient biogeochemistry). He has published over 175 refereed papers and 12 books, and is on the editorial board of 5 international journals. He has received several awards, including the Limnology Medal (1982) from the Australian Society for Limnology, the Environmental Chemistry Medal (1996) and Applied Chemistry Medal (1998) from the Royal Australian Chemical Institute, and in 2003 a Centenary Medal for services to water quality management and environmental protection.

He is well known for his sustained efforts in developing knowledge-based decision making processes in natural resource management in Australia and south-east Asia (most of the latter with the Mekong River Commission). Currently, he is involved in projects in China and PNG.

Professor Hart is currently a member of the Murray Darling Basin Authority and President and Chair of the Board of Greening Australia (Victoria). He also chairs the Gippsland Lakes & Catchment Taskforce, Yarra Coordinating Committee, the Science Advisory Committee for the Victorian Strategy on Healthy Rivers, Estuaries and Wetlands, the Victorian Environmental Flows Technical Audit Panel, and Melbourne Water's Waterways Advisory Committee.

Previously, he was a member of the Victorian Environment Assessment Council, the Scientific Reference Committee for the Victorian Government's Land & Biodiversity White Paper, the Expert Advisory Taskforce for the Victorian White Paper (Securing Our Water Future Together), the Victorian Environment Protection Authority Board, the Victorian Catchment Management Council, the Great Barrier Reef Water Quality Partnership Science Advisory Panel, EPA Victoria's Science Futures Panel, the Alligator Rivers Region Technical Committee and the Gippsland Integrated Natural Resources Forum. He has recently completed 5 years as Technical Advisor to PEAK an independent Advisory Panel overseeing the sustainability of the Porgera Gold mine in PNG.

Professor Angela Arthington

Professor Angela Arthington leads research projects and programs on freshwater biodiversity, flow-ecology relationships/processes and environmental flow methods and management strategies for rivers, floodplains, intermittent estuaries and lakes. She directs aquatic ecology research in the eWater CRC, Marine and Tropical Research Facility (MTSRF), and Tourism CRC.

Professor Arthington's major expertise concerns the development and application of environmental flow methods, working with many Australian State, Commonwealth and Local Government agencies, as well as in south-east Asia (Mekong River Commission; International Water Management Institute (IMWI); Comprehensive Assessment of Water Management in Agriculture), South Africa (Water Research Commission; FRD), United States of America (The Nature Conservancy), Europe (Water Framework Directive; Ramsar; DIVERSITAS) and New Zealand (Foundation for Research, Science and Technology). She has over 160 national/international peer reviewed publications and is co-author with Dr Brad Pusey and Dr Mark Kennard (ARI) of Freshwater Fishes of North-eastern Australia (CSIRO, 2004), winner of the 2005 Whitley Medal for best zoological text published in 2004.

Professor Arthington has supervised 28 postgraduate students (and currently works with 10 PhD students). She is working on a new project funded by the National Water Commission entitled Ecohydrological relationships in Queensland rivers to guide environmental flow management.

Mr David Dole

Mr David Dole has had some 48 years experience as an engineer in water resources management in Victoria, in the Murray-Darling Basin and in a number of overseas countries.

In Victoria he held state wide responsibilities for design, construction, modernisation and management of major rural water conservation and supply systems as well as drainage and salinity mitigation works and measures. He has also had extensive experience in development and application of groundwater management and river and flood plain management policies and practices.

Mr Dole was involved with the Murray-Darling Basin initiative for over 30 years including serving several years as General Manager, River Murray Water where he had operational responsibility for directing the management of the River Murray and Lower Darling River systems. During this time, as a member of the Murray-Darling Basin Commission's senior management team, he was involved in the development of policies and practices aimed at achieving economic, social and environmental sustainability of the Basin's natural resources.

Following his retirement in 2003 he has continued to be involved in a number of water resources management roles, particularly in the Basin, in a consulting role.

Dr Ben Gawne

Dr Ben Gawne is the Director of the Murray-Darling Freshwater Research Centre located on the Murray River. The centre's mission is to generate the scientific knowledge required to enable the sustainable management of water and associated environmental resources of the Murray-Darling Basin. He has 15 years experience undertaking research and knowledge exchange activities in the area of freshwater ecology and management.

Dr Gawne is a member of The Living Murray's Scientific Reference Panel and has worked on the development of the Sustainable Rivers Audit and the Review of the Murray-Darling Basin Cap. He has also led multidisciplinary examinations of the impacts of flow regime on the ecology of lowland rivers and wetlands. Dr Gawne was previously the foundation Scientist-in-Charge of the Lower Basin Laboratory in Mildura, and prior to this undertook research on algae, macroinvertebrates and trophic interactions in upland and lowland rivers in Australia and the United States of America.

Professor Richard Kingsford

Professor Richard Kingsford, from the School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences of the University of NSW, has focussed his research over the past 20 years on the waterbirds, wetlands and rivers of arid Australia, which cover about 70 per cent of the continent. He has identified the significant impacts of water resource development on the rivers and wetlands of the Murray-Darling Basin and contributed to policy development and environmental flow management.

Aerial surveys of waterbirds, mapping of wetlands and development of software for delivering knowledge about catchments are other areas of Professor Kingsford's work.

Professor Kingsford's research has demonstrated the ecological values of many rivers and the impacts of water resource development in arid Australia, for which he received a Eureka Award in 2001. He has more than 100 publications to his name, including a book on the desert rivers of the world. In 2007, he received the Hoffman medal for contribution to global wetland science, and in 2008, the Eureka Award for Promoting Understanding of Science.

Dr Michael Stewardson

Dr Michael Stewardson is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at The University of Melbourne. His research focuses on linkages between catchment hydrology and freshwater ecology at various spatial scales.

Dr. Stewardson has an international reputation for his ecohydrology research and more than 50 scientific publications. He has been involved with environmental water management in Australia since 1992, contributing to environmental flow planning in many rivers across Australia. He is a member of the Victorian Technical Audit Panel which advises the Victorian Water Minister on environmental flow plans for the State. He has also assisted the development of the Victorian Environmental Flow Monitoring and Assessment Program. His particular expertise is in monitoring human impacts on rivers, remote sensing of freshwater ecosystems and environmental water management and planning.

Associate Professor Keith Walker

Associate Professor Walker is a river ecologist with 35 years experience, mainly at the University of Adelaide. Originally a zoologist, he has worked with colleagues in other disciplines to develop broad perspectives of the effects of flow regulation on the River Murray and its floodplain. He has published 140 peer-reviewed articles and about 100 non-refereed articles, mainly on the fauna, flora and ecology of the Murray, and has supervised 120 research students. He left the University in 2007 to work as a consultant, but remains an Adjunct Associate Professor with the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences.

Associate Professor Walker was editor of the journal River Research and Applications from 1986-2006, and the Transactions of the Royal Society of South Australia from 2001-2002. He received the Australian Society for Limnology Medal for Research in 1993, the University's Stephen Cole Prize for Teaching in 1992 and the Unsung Hero of South Australian Science award from Australian Science Communicators in 2000.

His appointments include the South Australian Water Resources Council (1980-1986), Environment Protection Council of South Australia (1989-1993) and Natural Areas Evaluation Panel (SA) (1994-97). He has been involved in FAO (UN) and AusAID projects in China and Thailand. He is a member of the Independent Sustainable Rivers Audit Group (MDBC), the Threatened Species Scientific Committee (DEWHA), and recently completed a review of species listed under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 implicated in a proposal to dam the Mary River in Queensland (DEWHA).

Associate Professor Robyn Watts

Associate Professor Robyn Watts is the Sub-Dean (Research) of the Faculty of Science and a Principal Researcher with the Institute for Land, Water and Society at Charles Sturt University. She has over 15 years research and tertiary teaching experience in the fields of aquatic ecology, restoration ecology and river management. Over the past eight years her research has focussed on ecological responses to flow regimes in regulated rivers.

Associate Professor Watts has led several multidisciplinary research projects in partnership with ecologists, hydrologists, geomorphologists, social scientists, management agencies and the community, including: the Murrumbidgee Regional Evaluation for the first step of The Living Murray initiative; an ARC project on the development of ecological indicators for the assessment of environmental flows; an assessment of trial flow releases from Dartmouth Dam to the Mitta Mitta River; and a review of the environmental benefits and costs of pulsed flows for the Australian National Water Commission.

In 2001 Associate Professor Watts was a member of the River and Floodplain Ecology Research Group that won the Charles Sturt University Vice-Chancellor's Award for Team Research.

Professor Peter Davies

Professor Peter Davies is a Professor of Zoology at the University of Tasmania, and a research and consulting scientist specialising in freshwater environmental issues. In 2012 he was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia 'for service to conservation and the environment as a contributor to national water policy development and through research of Australia's rivers and waterways'.

Professor Davies has 30 years' work experience in aquatic environmental research and management, with skills in the conservation of aquatic biota, environmental pollution, environmental water management and bioassessment. A graduate of the University of Tasmania, with a BSc with Honours in Chemistry, and a PhD in aquatic toxicology, he worked as fisheries biologist and ecologist with the Tasmanian Inland Fisheries Service for 9 years then as national science coordinator for the National River Health Program for 10 years. In 1993 he established the aquatic environmental consultancy Freshwater Systems.

Since 2000, Professor Davies has been Chair of the Independent Sustainable Rivers Audit Group (ISRAG), the science panel reporting the ecosystem health of Murray Darling Basin rivers. He provides science and management advice on minimising agriculture, mining, hydro and forestry impacts on streams, and works with community groups on stream restoration. He is the conservation Board member of the Tasmanian Forest Practices Authority.