Often riparian restoration projects are either monitored poorly or not monitored at all. As a consequence, we have a poor understanding of how riparian zones and streams respond to restoration efforts, and what indicators should be used to monitor changes. Since 2004, an experiment led by researchers at Monash University and the Arthur Rylah Institute has been underway in the southern Murray-Darling Basin to evaluate the ecological responses to restoration of river red gum-dominated riparian zones along five small, intermittent lowland streams.
In November 2010, a workshop was held to discuss the lessons and findings of the project. The workshop discussed ways to improve monitoring and reporting of riparian restoration projects, and was attended by representatives from the range of natural resource management agencies across the Murray Darling Basin. Two important constraints to effective riparian restoration and monitoring were identified:
- a lack of ecological evidence on the effects of restoration efforts, and
- short-termism in commitment to restoration efforts, funding of monitoring and expected time spans of ecological responses.
We are fortunate to have the full report from the workshop on our site, with links out to recently published journal articles on the topic of monitoring riparian restoration. Thank you to Robyn Hale and his team for sharing this new knowledge with us.