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Chapter 8: Development of a national river bioassessment system (AUSRIVAS) in Australia

Davies, PE 2000 , 'Chapter 8: Development of a national river bioassessment system (AUSRIVAS) in Australia', in J. Wright and D. Sutcliffe and M. Furse (eds.), Assessing the biological quality of freshwaters: RIVPACS and other techniques , Freshwater Biological Association, Cumbria, UK, pp. 113-124.

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Book Abstract:
This book presents an up-to-date account of developments in predictive bioassessment
systems for classifying and monitoring fresh waters, based on macroinvertebrates. It
describes in considerable detail developments with the River Invertebrate Prediction and
Classification System (RIVPACS) of the UK, the AUSRIVAS programme in Australia, and
the BEAST in Canada. Multimetric methods from North America, bioassessment
approaches in The Netherlands, Sweden and Spain, and the application of artificial
intelligence techniques are all included. The book is based on an international workshop of
59 invited scientists from 23 countries that took place at Jesus College, Oxford in 1997.
For all those who are professional scientists involved in aquatic bioassessment methods or
the management of natural and impacted fresh waters, this book is a necessary reference
text. Similarly for students wishing to learn more about the use of macroinvertebrates for
assessing biological quality of fresh waters, it is an invaluable source of information.

- - - - - Chapter Abstract:
The history and development of the new Australian national river bioassessment system is described. The AUStralian RIVer Assessment Scheme (AUSRIVAS), contains a river bioassessment system largely based on the British RIVPACS. It has been developed in a cooperative effort between federal and state government agencies, and a variety of researchers. Despite the maintenance of state and territory boundaries in developing a national river bioassessment framework, uniformity of sampling, modelling and reporting was sought. The encapsulation of the reference condition within a bioassessment system was also seen as important. The RIVPACS framework was selected for adaptation to Australian conditions under the nationally-managed Monitoring River Health Initiative (MRHI), and over 1500 reference sites were sampled over a 2-year period for invertebrates and environmental variables, under a common protocol. The political, managerial and environmental context of Australia markedly shaped the manner in which RIVPACS was adopted. The 48 RIVPACS-type models developed under the MRHI are run behind a common software platform, accessible over the internet. Differences between RIVPACS and AUSRIVAS are described. AUSRIVAS is being used to conduct the first national assessment of river health, and is becoming integrated into a variety of policy and regulatory mechanisms. Problems associated with developing and maintaining integrated, evolving systems like RIVPACS at a national level are described, including the recent wave of changes to the public sector.

Item Type: Book Section
Authors/Creators:Davies, PE
Keywords: Water quality; Pollution indicators; Computer programs; Mathematical models; Benthos; Methodology;
Publisher: Freshwater Biological Association
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