RPS’ Toowoomba office, as part of the Condamine Alliance, and other project partners was recently awarded the 2012 Australian Riverprize by the International River Foundation.
This is arguably the most prestigious environmental award in Australia for work in catchment management and river science. Each year the International River Foundation selects an outstanding project from each continent and this is only the second time in 15 years that a Queensland project has won the Australian prize.
Since early 2009 the Condamine Alliance has been undertaking a project in a section of the Condamine River catchment between Toowoomba and Dalby.
The project aimed to restore aquatic habitat, support recovery in native fish communities, rehabilitate riparian zones and river banks, communicate the social and cultural history in the area, improve water quality, and implement an enduring catchment/river management plan to ensure future environmental sustainability. It has been one of the most significant multi-disciplinary Natural Resource Management projects of its kind in Australia - named the 'Dewfish Demonstration Reach' project.
In the foundation stages of this project, RPS was engaged by the Condamine Alliance to conduct aquatic ecological surveys, riparian vegetation and bird surveys, water quality investigations and to write the initial river reach environmental management plan.
Results from the most recent fish surveys (mid 2012), for example, are already demonstrating clear signs of native fish community recovery in this part of the Condamine River catchment, with numbers increasing by up to 1000% for some species.
Aquatic ecological habitat and water quality have also improved, providing environmental and social benefit locally as well as in areas further downstream in the Condamine River catchment, which is part of the northern Murray-Darling Basin.