ARRC NEWSLETTER – APRIL 2021 EDITION
We hope this email newsletter finds you well and that you enjoyed our message to you on Earth Day as a reminder of this amazing planet that we share. The reason we do what we do is because we care, and we have a really interesting article in this edition by Eleanor Armstrong who focused her Honours work on this topic.
Care is what also motivated a group of Omni Executive staff and family to join us and plant trees, shrubs and grasses at Murrells Crossing to protect and restore habitat for Macquarie perch. Care is central in all the other stories in this edition, whether it be Cherie’s PhD investigating how we value native vegetation, Kate’s latest Riparian Real Estate Guide which is all about enabling platypus to survive and thrive, or our story about the habitat you can find in fish eyes – a truly amazing bit of research!
We also have our latest Conversation over a Cuppa featuring Associate Professor Lorrae Van Kerkhoff who talks about why we find thinking about the future so difficult. This ‘cuppa convo’ is well worth a listen, and we do hope you enjoy it. There is also the opportunity for you to attend the Australian Stream Management Conference and the European River Symposium face to face and online which is a terrific development. We hope to see you there.
– Siwan and the ARRC team 😊
RIVERS OF CARBON – PLANTING TREES FOR MACCAS
Omni Executive do marvellous work for Maccas on the Murrumbidgee
There is nothing like a planting event to remind you of how fortunate we are to do the work we do. On a cold and blustery Wednesday April 14, a large bus appeared over the rise with a group of Omni Executive staff and families keen to do their bit for the Maccas living in the Upper Murrumbidgee River. They came to plant trees, shrubs and grasses along a stretch of river we know the Maccas love for its rock riffles and deep pools.
It has to be said that the wind threatened to blow us all away with gusts of up to 70 kms per hour (!), however, spirits remained high, and as you can see from the photos, everyone pitched in and got those plants into the ground. The final number was 960 plants which is a wonderful outcome. Even better is that a week after they went in we got a nice shower of rain which will keep those plants fresh and hopefully keen to grow.
ARRC – INSIGHTS INTO ‘CARE’
The centrality of care – from conservation to COVID19 and back again
Eleanor Armstrong is a woman with a curious mind, and when conducting her Honours research as part of the Australian National University’s (ANU) Bachelor of Philosophy (Arts/Social Sciences) program she became interested in how local Canberrans were galvanised as part of a Facebook group called ‘Water our Wildlife’ (WOW). This online collective at one point boasted nearly 6,000 members.
Some of these people were activated to leave out DIY ‘water stations’ for many parched animals. While local park and wildlife care groups have been in operation for decades, there was something about this particular moment of ecological crisis that brought a whole new demographic of people to participate in these activities: it seemed our wildlife’s suffering had broken through. This is a thought provoking article about how our ability care is central in connecting with people and nature.
RIVERS OF CARBON – NEW RIPARIAN REAL ESTATE GUIDE
What platypus need to thrive
The platypus is a unique species that is currently listed as near-threatened on the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List. Platypus live only in Australia, inhabiting a diverse array of reliable freshwater habitats from sea level to an elevation of more than 1600 metres near the top of the Australian Alps.
A recent study by Bino, Kingsford and Wintle (2020), has found that the platypus has lost 22% of its habitat over the last 30 years, with its decline looking worse in natural river systems that have been heavily modified and developed by humans. Current threats to the platypus populations include climate change, habitat destruction, land clearing, pollution, introduced predators, drought and water distribution pressures.
This guide will help you understand the habitat platypus need to survive and thrive.
ARRC – Take me to the river
Why is thinking about the future hard?
Guest Speaker: Associate Professor Lorrae van Kerkhoff
In this episode, we have a Conversation over a Cuppa with Associate Professor Lorrae van Kerkhoff about why thinking about the future is hard, and the importance of institutional environments that allow for uncertain futures.
Lorrae is the Director of the Institute for Water Futures and Associate Director of the Fenner School of Environment and Society at the Australian National University. Lorrae uses a multidisciplinary approach to solving complex environmental and water problems, and in this episode she explains the importance of creativity in problem-solving and planning for the future. She talks about how we, as humans, imagine our future selves as strangers, making it very difficult to anticipate the reality of the future.
Have a listen and delve into futures thinking, uncertainty and the adaptive capacity we are all going to need to develop for today and tomorrow.
Striking Gold: Golden perch flows and spawning in the Lachlan River
As good rain fell in the upper Lachlan River catchment in spring 2020, excitement grew around a potential translucent flow through downstream river bends to benefit native fish. A translucent flow occurs in a regulated river system when a portion of inflows are passed through a regulating structure – in this case Wyangala Dam near the headwaters – to enable a near-natural flow pulse into the river system.
The timing of this pulse looks like it ideally matched, in both temperature and time of year, the flow-dependent spawning requirements of a native large-bodied fish, the Golden perch.
Find out what happened…
Great conferences coming up for you to attend face to face or online!
Fish eyes tell an amazing story
A recent US study has found exciting new discoveries for freshwater fish monitoring and conservation, which can be implemented in Australian freshwater fish management.
The study called ‘Advanced diet reconstruction in fish eye lenses’ by Bell-Tilcock et. al (2020) conducted experiments on Chinook Salmon in California to trace fish diet and habitat history using isotope concentrations in eye lenses. The scientists analysed fish that had lived in three different freshwater habitats (1) hatchery (2) river and (3) seasonal floodplain.
They measured the concentrations of the stable isotopes of carbon (δ13C), nitrogen (δ15N) and sulfur (δ34S) in the lenses of fish from each of the three habitats. Analysing the stable isotopes in eye lenses can reveal a fish’s life history and its diet, which can have important breakthroughs in knowledge for better management practice of fish habitats.
INSPIRATION – NATURE, BEAUTY, GRATITUDE
My close friend Greta, with whom I share many camping adventures, sent me a link to this TED talk which is absolutely stunning. Given the theme of this newsletter is ‘Care’, I thought this beautiful sequence of images is something you might enjoy as you take a break to feel grateful for this amazing planet we call home.
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