The Murray River winding into the distance with grasses and river red gums lining the banks.

Effective use of environmental water will help protect iconic species along the River Murray. Photo: Ian Overton

Ecological Outcomes of Flow Regimes in the Murray-Darling Basin report

This report outlines research that is assisting water managers to improve and justify the delivery of environmental water to protect ecological assets across the Murray-Darling Basin. (422 pages)

  • 10 May 2010 | Updated 24 July 2014

The Ecological Outcomes of Flow Regimes Project commenced in July 2008 and was funded by the National Water Commission through its Raising National Water Standards Program. 

This project explored the science underpinning many ecological responses linked to changes in river flows, which are required for management practices, through analysis of existing empirical datasets in the Murray-Darling Basin.

Download the Ecological Outcomes of Flow Regimes in the Murray-Darling Basin report from the CSIRO Research Publications Repository.

Final report contents

  • Executive summary
  • Acknowledgements

Section 1 Introduction and methodology

  • Chapter 1 Introduction
  • Chapter 2 Review of management plans 
    Paul Wettin, Danny Simpson, Simon Treadwell and Robyn Watts 
  • Chapter 3 Data analysis techniques
    Brent Henderson, Warren Jin, Elliot Dovers and Carmen Chan
  • Chapter 4 Ecological data 
    Kim Pullen, Linda Merrin, Gary Caitcheon and Heather McGinness
  • Chapter 5 Hydrological data 
    Linda Merrin, Gary Caitcheon, Elliot Dovers, Warren Jin and Brent Henderson

Section 2 Ecosystem responses 

  • Chapter 6 Biogeochemistry
    Darren Baldwin and Todd Wallace
  • Chapter 7 Plankton 
    Rod Oliver
  • Chapter 8 Macroinvertebrates 
    Richard Norris and Lea Knight
  • Chapter 9 Native fish 
    Qifeng Ye, Katherine Cheshire, Brent Henderson and Elliot Dovers
  • Chapter 10 Waterbirds 
    Julian Reid, Tony Arthur and Heather McGinness
  • Chapter 11 Floodplain trees 
    Jane Roberts, Carmen Chan, Brent Henderson and Ian Overton
  • Chapter 12 Basin-scale vegetation 
    Neil Sims, Matthew Colloff and Juan-Pablo Guerschman
  • Chapter 13 Geomorphology 
    Mike Stewardson and Warren Jin
  • Chapter 14 Estuary
    Michael Geddes, Nadine Kilsby, Dan Rogers and Craig Noell

Section 3 Conclusions and future directions

  • Chapter 15 Summary of hypotheses
  • Chapter 16 Operational management objectives 
    Paul Wettin
  • Chapter 17 Basin eco-hydrological zones 
    Ian Overton and Tanya Doody
  • Chapter 18 Remote sensing of inundation 
    Juan-Pablo Guerschman, Neil Sims, Garth Warren, Tony Arthur and Matthew Colloff
  • Chapter 19 Floodplain inundation mapping 
    Tanya Doody, Ian Overton and Daniel Pollock
  • Chapter 20 Floodplain classification 
    Matthew Colloff and Warren Jin
  • Chapter 21 Conclusions 


  • A Management plan objectives
  • B Metadata catalogue
  • C Conceptual models

Read more about Water for a Healthy Country.

Overton, I.C., Colloff, M.J., Doody, T.M., Henderson, B. and Cuddy, S.M. (eds). (2009). Ecological Outcomes of Flow Regimes in the Murray-Darling Basin. Report prepared for the National Water Commission by CSIRO Water for a Healthy Country Flagship. CSIRO, Canberra. 422p