Increasingly, environmental flow assessments (e-flows) are being used to address the threat to rivers and human communities posed by flow alteration. Conceptual models that underpin e-flows tend to include only biophysical interactions however, eschewing socio-cultural complexity, local eco-hydrological knowledge and governance matters. These dimensions are especially important where Indigenous people have strong connections with rivers. We used a transdisciplinary approach to develop a conceptual model based on published information on ecological values and a wider set of values held by Indigenous peoples of the west Kimberley, Australia. The conceptual model demonstrated the need to maintain hydrological connectivity to support hydro-ecological values and Indigenous use for food and amenity, and to meet religious responsibilities. Our process identified the need to recognise Indigenous and non-indigenous governance and management systems at multiple scales to build legitimacy in the e-flows process. We used the model to distill propose guiding principles for using e-flows to protect aquatic ecosystems and their dependent human cultures and livelihoods. We are now undertaking targeted field research to address gaps identified through this process.
|Publication status||Published - 2019|
|Event||Ecological Society of Australia - Launceston, Australia|
Duration: 24 Nov 2019 → 29 Nov 2019
|Conference||Ecological Society of Australia|
|Period||24/11/19 → 29/11/19|