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Many waterways and wetlands in Australia have become severely degraded following European settlement. While many rehabilitation programs have been initiated in recent decades, general community awareness of the plight of our aquatic ecosystems remains limited. We know, however, that people identify with fish, and demonstration reaches use them as a “hook” to harness interest and gain community participation in broad river rehabilitation programs.
A demonstration reach is a reach of river or area of wetland where different management interventions are used to rehabilitate habitat for native fish and provide multiple benefits to the health of the river and wider community. It is a coordinated approach to native fish rehabilitation on a large scale. The model has been trialed successfully at seven sites in the Murray-Darling Basin over a ten year period.
Why create a demonstration reach toolbox?
The first demonstration reach was established in 2005, and seven have been formed across the Basin. Ten years of experience has indicated demonstration reaches provide an effective model for river rehabilitation and community engagement. Valuable insights have been gained into what is needed for successful creation and implementation of demonstration reaches, the challenges that exist and how best to address these. While each site and community is different, there are commonalities.
This toolbox has been developed in response to growing interest in the demonstration reach concept and to river rehabilitation in general. It is intended as a resource to guide anyone from community groups, natural resource management groups or catchment management authorities, through to government agencies. The demonstration reach concept is designed to actively engage all stakeholders in management actions, this means the toolbox has relevance to anyone interested in rehabilitating rivers and their native fish populations.
How to use this toolbox?
This toolbox provides an overview of the demonstration reach model, details of all existing demonstration reaches, the specific steps involved in each of the four pillars of establishment, as well as case studies, further reading, links to relevant websites and organisations and an overview of the demonstration reach network.
Information about how to use the Demonstration Reach approach is provided in varying levels of detail throughout the Finbox. The following infographic summarises key Finbox components and can be downloaded as an easy to use reference guide. Please feel free to use the infographic at workshops and events, as we are keen for others to share and open the Finbox!
You can also download the complete Demonstration Reach Toolbox Report by following this link.