Assessing the ecological value of NSW Rivers

High Ecological Value Aquatic Ecosystems

The river value assessment assigns an instream value to each river reach to determine the value of each river relative to others. These assigned values are then used in the development and remake of water sharing rules. The assessment also contributes to identifying river reaches with high conservation value.

The High Ecological Value Aquatic Ecosystems (HEVAE) framework was developed by the (then) Australian Government Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Populations and Communities (SEWPaC). The framework identifies surface and groundwater systems of high conservation value at a national scale, so they can be managed to protect and enhance those values. The HEVAE approach is used to identify high conservation value ecosystems in NSW, and will be incorporated into the value and risk assessment component of the RIVER CONDITION INDEX.

Module 3: Guidelines for Identifying High Ecological Value Aquatic Ecosystems (HEVAE) (PDF, 1.62 MB)

The NSW application of the HEVAE Framework focuses on freshwater inland and coastal rivers above the tidal limit, and includes four of the five HEVAE criteria; diversity, distinctiveness, naturalness, and vital habitat.

Assessment of the availability of data for the attributes associated with the four criteria indicated enough useful data could be collated into the HEVAE framework to enable spatial outcomes to be derived at the river reach scale. Download Figure 1, a simple diagram explaining the four criteria and HEVAE framework.

NSW has completed HEVAE mapping and assessments for all NSW inland river valleys, and has substantially progressed work on the coast.  A detailed technical report on how the HEVAE framework has been applied in NSW (%asset_summary_207055) is available.