Active projects

Theme A : Waterway health planning tools

Spatial prioritization of management action for biodiversity outcomes in streams and wetlands

Project A1: Prioritization

This project builds on existing spatial planning tools used for the new Healthy Waterways Strategy that allow different planning options and their associated costs and outcomes to be evaluated and prioritized. It will develop Habitat Suitability Models for wetlands to provide a similar level of rigour to wetland planning decisions, as well as strengthening the existing stream models with the incorporation of new spatial datasets and environmental predictors.
Project lead: Yung En Chee. Expected date of completion: October 2023.
Project Summary

Testing critical assumptions of interventions and outcomes, and designing effective, efficient biodiversity monitoring to support strategy implementation

Project A2: MERI

This project will support the overarching Monitoring, Evaluation, Reporting and Improvement (MERI) plan for the Healthy Waterways Strategy. It will help identify critical assumptions between management interventions, environmental conditions and key values. The focus will be on interventions where there is high investment by MW but low confidence in the outcomes. This project will also investigate approaches and methods for improving the effectiveness and efficiency of biodiversity monitoring in waterways.
Project lead: Yung En Chee. Expected date of completion: October 2023.
Project Summary

Geomorphic change & disturbance thresholds for the protection or recovery of stream form in urban catchments

Project A3: Channel Prediction

The project will develop: 1) an understanding of the change in stream physical form relative to urbanisation, 2) a tool to assist with planning and development applications to identify the extent of impacts of various development scenarios, and 3) the level of intervention required to achieve post-development, sustainable physical form capable of supporting values. This project will highlight gaps in our knowledge to be filled, and ultimately enable a more quantitative approach to physical form management for the next Healthy Waterway Strategy.
Project lead: Geoff Vietz. Expected date of completion: October 2021.
Project Summary

Theme B : Waterway hydrology and geomorphology

Urban flow ecology: Investigating relationships between flow, channel form, vegetation and ecosystem function

Project B1: Stream Flows

This research will investigate how key aspects of the urban flow regime influence channel form and ecosystem values and services; and in turn how catchment runoff can be best managed to protect and restore streams in the urban environment.
Project lead: Sam Imberger. Expected date of completion: October 2023.
Project Summary

Major sources and fate of sediments in streams, wetlands, estuaries and bays to inform management opportunities.

Project B2: Sediment Budget

This project builds on recent MWRPP and CSIRO (dSednet catchment sediment model for Westernport) research on sediment budgets across the region by validating the contributions of different land uses, including sediment generation from the construction of new urban areas.
Project lead: Geoff Veitz. Expected date of completion: October 2021.
Project Summary

Optimizing constructed wetland design, management and performance prediction

Project B3: Constructed Wetlands

This project aims to inform revisions to guidelines and practice for wetland planning, design and construction, modelling and maintenance, and to inform policy regarding investments in wetland constructions and renewals. This includes answering the question as to which stormwater control measures provide the greatest community benefit relative to cost.
Project lead: Chris Szota. Expected date of completion: October 2023.
Project Summary

Understanding the interactions between groundwater, surface water and Groundwater Dependent Ecosystems

Project B4: Ground Water

This project will increase our understanding of the interactions between groundwater, surface water and high value GDEs across the region. It will seek to quantify the age and transit time of ground- and surface waters and help identify GDEs that could be at risk of contamination— particularly those where water travel times are very short. The initial focus will be the impact of stormwater infiltration on groundwater quality and flow paths and in subsequent years, quantify the age of groundwater in areas associated with high value GDEs.
Project lead: Matt Burns. Expected date of completion: October 2023.
Project Summary

Theme C : Urban stormwater and rural runoff management for waterway health

How can retention, use and treatment of urban stormwater protect or provide natural flow regimes for waterway health?

Project C1: Urban Flows

This project aims to test the assumption that stream protection, and potentially restoration is possible through catchment-based stormwater control measures (SCMs). It will do this by asking if stormwater runoff from urban developments can be adequately retained, used and treated to protect or restore stream ecosystem structure and function.
Project lead: Chris Walsh. Expected date of completion: October 2023.
Project Summary
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Redesigning streetscapes to protect streams and grow the urban forest.

Project C1.1: Street Trees

As a component of C1:Urban Flows, this sub-project aims to develop new streetscape designs and provide the guidance required for a radical shift away from conventionally built roads and associated drainage networks.
Project lead: Chris Szota. Expected date of completion: October 2023.
Project Summary

Effectiveness of rural land interventions to improve stream flows and water quality

Project C2: Rural Runoff

This project will continue previous work on mitigating the impacts of rural runoff on waterway, in particular identifying the source of pollutants and the effectiveness of runoff control measures. The overall objective of this proposal is to develop a framework for our Rural Land Management Program to prioritise locations for investment and identifying the most appropriate rural runoff treatment measures.
Project lead: Tim Fletcher. Expected date of completion: June 2020.
Project Summary

Effective, efficient indicators for monitoring Water Sensitive Urban Design asset performance

Project C3: SCM Monitoring

This project will identify cost effective indicators for WSUD performance monitoring, and incorporate them into a novel new “Expert System” for management of WSUD assets. This system will identify (i) processes to involves stakeholders in the design process likely to ensure future maintenance, (ii) critical maintenance points and ‘trigger indicators’, (ii) required maintenance frequencies and the factors that can predict them, based on validated deterioration models.
Project lead: Frederic Cherqui. Expected date of completion: October 2021.
Project Website | Project Summary

Theme D : Riparian and wetland vegetation management

Understand the role of small headwater streams in urbanizing catchments for supporting waterway health

Project D1: Headwaters

This research seeks to investigate and quantify the magnitude of the values and services provided by headwater streams across the Melbourne Water management region; and ultimately facilitate their effective management and protection in areas of rapid urban growth
Project lead: Matt Burns. Expected date of completion: October 2023.
Project Summary

Understanding and managing the impacts of deer on riparian vegetation

Project D2: Deer

This project will quantify the threats posed by deer to waterway vegetation values, revegetation projects and water quality, and map waterways at ’high risk’ and inform management to reduce their impacts.
Project lead: Joe Greet. Expected date of completion: October 2023.
Project Summary

Evaluating direct seeding as a cost-effective revegetation technique

Project D3: Direct Seeding

This is a transition project, with the research phase concluding with the completion of data collection and synthesis of the data and knowledge acquired throughout the course of the project into tools and resources for use by Melbourne Water. The project will then become a Development Project (lead by Melbourne Water), that will look to embed direct seeding into MW business practice.
Project lead: Rhys Coleman. Expected date of completion: October 2020.
Project Summary

Yellingbo hydrology works MERI program

Project D4: Yellingbo

This project aims to support a targeted monitoring, evaluation, reporting and improvement (MERI) program to accompany Melbourne Water hydrology works currently underway at the Cockatoo Swamp, Yellingbo Nature Conservation Reserve. It will continue to implement a comprehensive hydrological and vegetation monitoring program, that will inform adaptive management of this ecologically significant site.
Project lead: Joe Greet. Expected date of completion: October 2022.
Project Summary

Modelling the Risk of Key Revegetation Species to a Changing Climate

Project D5: Revegetation Risk

This project to develop statistical and mechanistic species distribution models to predict the future distribution of key revegetation species under a changing climate in Victoria. It will investigate how key revegetation species used by Melbourne Water will be influenced by a changing climate; those species most at risk and whether provenance selection may ameliorate that risk.
Project lead: Craig Nitschke. Expected date of completion: October 2020.
Project Summary

Theme E : Community participation in waterway management

The impacts of ‘next generation’ citizen science programs

Project E1: Volunteers

This project will examine the adoption of ‘next generation’ digitally-mediated citizen science programs (such as the Frog Census app). In particular, it will consider the new forms of ‘community’ that might be supported by these technologies and the relationship with face-to-face and place-based volunteer experiences.
Project lead: Stephanie Lavau. Expected date of completion: October 2021.
Project Summary

Long-term effectiveness of WSUD assets on private land

Project E3: Private SCMs

This research project will explore the long-term effectiveness of WSUD assets on private land. The initial research objectives for this study are to: 1) map the lines of influence of various professional and private stakeholders that impact on the lifecycle of WSUD assets on private land (from planning and design, through to construction and maintenance), 2) identify key factors that impact on the long-term effectiveness of individual WSUD assets on private land and 3) identify challenges related to the management of this distributed system of assets on private land.
Project lead: Stephanie Lavau. Expected date of completion: October 2023.
Project Summary

Indigenous perspectives and practices in the management of Melbourne’s waterways

Project E4: Indigenous Perspectives

This project aims to support Melbourne Water and its partners in further recognising and fostering indigenous cultural perspectives, knowledge and practices for management of Melbourne’s waterways. This may involve assisting in 1) understanding the range of indigenous knowledge of, connections with, and aspirations for, Melbourne’s waterways, and 2) identifying principles and practices for facilitating indigenous participation in waterway planning, management and monitoring. It is proposed that this project start in year 2 with a workshop in partnership with Melbourne Water’s Community Relations team and Traditional Owners to assist Melbourne Water in working towards the development of a policy and protocols for appropriate sharing and use of cultural knowledge in future projects.
Project lead: Stephanie Lavau. Expected date of completion: October 2023.
Project Summary