Aquatic ecosystem monitoring, evaluation and reporting (AECR)
The EPA monitors South Australian waters (creeks, rivers, marine) in order to assess their condition and provide information that can be used to guide management decisions.
Monitoring data are used to produce aquatic ecosystem condition reports (AECRs) every year. There are reports available for creeks, rivers and nearshore marine waters.
The AECRs are also used to inform both the State of the Environment (SOE) reporting and the South Australian Environmental Trend and Condition Report Cards published by the Department for Environment and Water (DEW).
The SOE reports focus on statewide trends and the Trend and Condition Report Cards on statewide and NRM region-wide conditions, while AECRs address individual ecosystems. The AECRs may show localised areas of good or poor condition that are not visible at the statewide level.
The EPA has released a context and overview report which outlines the main reasons why there is a need to assess aquatic ecosystems, review the equivalent approaches adopted elsewhere and propose a way forward which covers all natural waters in South Australia using the aquatic ecosystem monitoring, evaluation and reporting program.
The Report on subsurface groundwater ecosystems presents the EPA’s perspective and discusses possible policy implications and outlines an approach that will generate new knowledge about the ecosystem services that are provided by stygofauna and microbial communities in groundwaters in South Australia.
Coorong and Otway
Marine nearshore sites in the South East were survey in 2021. When compared to previous monitoring carried out in 2015, there was little change and the habitats remain in 'Very Good' and 'Good' conditions.
Canunda – Very Good
Overall, the score stayed the same for the two monitoring periods, total seagrass percent cover did not change. All sites containing reef were made up of complex communities with little sand sedimentation. The presence of epiphyte and opportunistic algae were not recorded within the biounitA geographic (marine) area usually between 30–100 km long which contains similar marine habitats..
Coorong – Very Good
The nearshore habitats in the Coorong biounitA geographic (marine) area usually between 30–100 km long which contains similar marine habitats. were assessed and remain Very Good. Although seagrass percent cover has reduced in areas, reef condition has largely stayed the same. The reduction in epiphyte loads, although not considered in the score, indicates that the biounitA geographic (marine) area usually between 30–100 km long which contains similar marine habitats. is becoming less nutrient enriched and suitable for restoration efforts.
Encounter – Very Good
Many of the sites within the biounitA geographic (marine) area usually between 30–100 km long which contains similar marine habitats. were made up of mixed complex habitats of seagrass and reef. Overall the biounitA geographic (marine) area usually between 30–100 km long which contains similar marine habitats. experienced 6% loss in total seagrass coverage with no sites experiencing new growth. At all sites where seagrass was recorded epiphyte loads were reduced when compared to the previous monitoring period.
Nene – Good
The findings suggest that the condition of the Nene biounitA geographic (marine) area usually between 30–100 km long which contains similar marine habitats. has not changed since last monitoring period and is still scored as Good. Indicators of nutrient enrichment have reduced since 2015. The high wave energy, lack of substantial areas of restricted flow and low population appear to be having minimal impact on the condition of habitats in Nene.
Piccaninnie – Very Good
The findings suggest that the condition of the Piccaninnie biounitA geographic (marine) area usually between 30–100 km long which contains similar marine habitats. has largely stayed the same since last monitoring period. Reef health indicators such as canopy forming brown algae have slightly improved across the biounitA geographic (marine) area usually between 30–100 km long which contains similar marine habitats. from 2015, although an increase, scores have remained at Very Good.
Check out the full reports further down this page.
What are Aquatic Ecosystem Condition Reports?
AECRs provide a comprehensive picture of the ecological condition of sites sampled in creeks and lakes, and rate each site on a scale from Excellent through to Very Poor using an ecological condition gradient.
Check out what data is collected and how the sites are rated in the information sheet on EPA Aquatic Ecosystem Condition Reports
How often are AECRs released?
Reports are released annually presenting assessments of sites sampled previously.
What data or information is used to create a report?
A range of biological, chemical and physical information is recorded at each sampling site including nutrients, salinity, dissolved oxygen, water temperature, algal growth, macroinvertebrate data, aquatic vegetation coverage, riparian vegetation coverage and sediment type and condition. Further information on the data collected and how it is used is provided in the information sheet EPA Aquatic Ecosystem Condition Reports.
Do other states produce similar reports?
Report cards of a similar nature have been produced in other states as a means of assessing the ecological and water quality condition of waters in their regions. Queensland and Victoria have report cards assessing the ecological and water quality condition, and New South Wales has report cards based on water quality data only.
What do the different ratings mean?
The ratings provide information on the ecological condition of each site. Sites are rated on a scale between Excellent and Very Poor using an ecological condition gradient. These ratings are explained in more detail in the information sheet EPA Aquatic Ecosystem Condition Reports.
Can I download any raw data?
Water quality measurements, habitat data and a list of macroinvertebrates found at each site is available for downloading on this website and through WaterConnect.
Are there any technical reports that explain the scientific methods?
- Methods report for the inland waters ecosystems monitoring, evaluation and reporting program
- Methods report for the nearshore marine ecosystems monitoring, evaluation and reporting program – Addendum
- Information sheet defining reference condition for South Australian streams.
Where can I find definitions for some of the words used?
A glossary has been provided with explanations and definitions of the some of the more technical terminology.
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