Developing an Australian Vision for Water?

ARDC-Max FinlaysonProfessor Max Finlayson was a keynote speaker at the Australian Regional Development Conference held at the Albury Commercial Club on 26 – 28 August 2015.  Here is a short summary of his presentation.

Developing a vision for water entails the establishment of a common view about the future of our landscape, communities and economic activities, and the role that water plays in our lives. Water is critical for human wellbeing and forms important ecosystems that support a diverse array of life. I am confident that most of us believe in having a healthy riverine environment, but do we mean the same thing when we say this? I am pretty sure that we do not – once we get to the details and these entail change or threaten our very livelihood and worldview I am sure we will see very large differences of opinion.

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Looking beyond the water

17th International Riversymposium: Looking beyond the water  

Jess Schoeman, ILWS PhD Candidate

Jess Schoeman, ILWS PhD Candidate

During a conversation about river management, a colleague once said to me, ‘if you’re looking at the water, you’ve got your back to the problem’. This message has stuck with me for many years and motivated my decision to cross over to the social sciences for my PhD research. Understanding human nature and our river cultures is essential for diagnosing the source of our water problems, rather than just treating the symptoms.

The over-arching theme of this year’s International Riversymposium, held in Canberra, was ‘large river basin management’, with three case studies: the Murray-Darling Basin, the Rhine River Basin and the Mekong River Basin. A common thread throughout the conference was the portrayal of rivers as complex social-ecological systems. Managing rivers is not just about ecology and hydrology; it is about people: our philosophies, cultures, needs, wants and desires.

This post explores just a few thoughts from the conference:

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Managing Natural Resources in Canada

Natural Resource Management issues faced in Canada are not that dissimilar to those in Australia according to Randy Milton, Manager of Wildlife Resources with the Ecosystems and Habitats Program, with the Department of Natural Resources in Nova Scotia, Canada.

Randy Milton

Randy Milton

“A lot of the issues are the same though the scales may be different,” says Randy, a colleague of Institute Director Professor Max Finlayson. Randy first met Max in 1999 at a Ramsar meeting in Costa Rica. Like Max he is a member of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands’ Scientific and Technical Review Panel (STRP).
The two have worked together on the United Nations Environment Program’s Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, a couple of academic papers, and, as STRP members, on documents for various resolutions.
His week- long visit to Australia in March was a social one – to catch up with Max for his 60th birthday and “to get away from two metres of snow back home.” Read more of this post

International recognition for CSU wetlands expert

Professor Max Finlayson

Professor Max Finlayson

A new international appointment for Charles Sturt University (CSU) Professor Max Finlayson has highlighted the high standing of CSU in international environmental research and policy development. Through collaboration between the Ramsar Secretariat, UNESCO’s Institute for Water Education (IHE) and CSU, Professor Finlayson, the Director of the University’s Institute for Land, Water and Society, was recently appointed as Ramsar Chair for Wise Use of Wetlands.

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Sturt's Notebook

Research, opinion and news from graduate students at the School of Environmental Science, Charles Sturt University

River Ecology and Research

Understanding how rivers function

Ian Lunt Ecology

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