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Aquatic Ecology Hub

CeRDI is working with The Victorian Government Aquatic Ecology Hub to develop a website and a database of aquatic research and monitoring projects in order to enhance access to, and sharing of, key information and projects.

Background

The Applied Aquatic Ecology Research Hub (The Hub) represents a partnership between divisions of the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP), the Victorian Environmental Water Holder (VEWH) and Catchment Management Authorities (CMAs). Research and monitoring projects undertaken by Hub partners are captured in the Research and Monitoring Database (RaMonD), which currently contains around 520 records that have been undertaken in the last 3-5 years.

This research collaboration between DELWP and the Centre for eResearch and Digital Innovation builds on a growing body of knowledge sharing between the two organisations in the areas of aquatic science and the management of water resources.

The creation of the Hub website and RaMonD database will help make existing research and monitoring activities more accessible, and also enable regular updating and sharing of information between partners. This will increase the awareness of research findings by practitioners, enable uptake of these findings, minimise duplication of effort, and facilitate targeted research to fill knowledge gaps.

Outcomes

The Hub Partner Group appointed a Hub Coordinator in 2017, based within the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning.  The Hub Coordinator oversees project management, communication between all parties, and Hub evaluation.  Additionally a RaMonD User Group (RUG) was appointed in 2017 to provide input for planning of version 1.1 of the Hub.

Innovation

The compiling and federating of government-funded aquatic research activity through an online platform, that is accessible across multiple government departments and external agencies, has not been previously attempted. This novel application of technology in an aquatic research context will guide the development of new approaches for managing government data and knowledge sharing with stakeholders.

Technical Features

The RaMonD database enables users to conduct searches on aquatic ecology monitoring information, filtering by habitat, catchment management authority, flora and fauna keywords, species name and by monitoring program name. Hub activities are organised around eight themes aligning with the current areas of investment activity of the partner organisations, of which five reflect key aquatic assets - River Channels, Wetlands and Floodplain, Estuaries and Riparian zones. Three themes are relevant to key Victorian waterway management issues and key focus areas - water for the environment, Cultural Values and Knowledge and Citizen Science. The Hub and RaMonD are designed to be adaptable, and so themes may change over time, depending on emerging priorities. The design of the RaMonD interface and the Hub website reflect these requirements.

Approach

The purpose of the Hub is to support all Hub partners in achieving improved coordination of aquatic ecology research and monitoring in Victoria. To this end a strategy guided by four core principals has been adopted amongst Hub partners.  This strategy draws on models of collaborative governance, organisational autonomy, good governance and good project management in alignment with public sector values and principals.

For further information see: Applied Aquatic Ecology Research Hub Strategic Plan, 2017-2020.

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