Multiple Lines and Levels of Evidence for Detecting Ecological Responses to Management Intervention

Richard Norris, Peter Liston, Sue Nichols

    Research output: Contribution to conference (non-published works)Abstract


    Every year, millions of dollars are spent on river management and rehabilitation activities across Australia. Most of these activities are based on assumptions about the ecology of river systems and potential causes of degradation. River management activities are widespread but assessment of the their effectiveness relative to anticipated ecological outcomes is less common. Rivers usually have multiple stressors and causal relationships between them, management interventions and environmental condition are of interest. Evaluating the ecological response of rivers to management interventions can be complex. Limited opportunities for replication and randomization often makes the more common impact assessment methods (e.g. BACI designs) difficult to apply, thereby reducing our ability to draw inferences on causality. A Multiple Levels and Lines of Evidence (MLLE) schema is presented from which it is possible to examine evidence for causality between environmental stressors, management interventions and ecological outcomes. MLLE was originally developed for epidemiological studies when it was difficult to assign causality. Here we apply the MLLE schema to the design of monitoring programs for assessing the ecological outcomes of environmental flow releases. The method complements the approaches adopted by various jurisdictions, such as the IMEF process in NSW and the Australian Water Quality Monitoring Guidelines.
    Original languageEnglish
    Number of pages7
    Publication statusPublished - 2005
    EventNorth American Benthological Society Annual Meeting - Louisiana, United States
    Duration: 1 Jan 2005 → …


    ConferenceNorth American Benthological Society Annual Meeting
    Country/TerritoryUnited States
    Period1/01/05 → …


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