AUSRIVAS (Australian River Assessment System) is a prediction system used to assess the biological health of Australian rivers. AUSRIVAS was developed under the National River Health Program (NRHP) funded by the Federal Government in 1994, in response to growing concern in Australia for maintaining the ecological values of our rivers. The NRHP involved the major environmental agency in each state and territory and was centrally administered by Environment Australia (EA) and the Land and Water Resources Research and Development Corporation (LWRRDC). The AUSRIVAS predictive software was developed at the Co-operative Research Centre for Freshwater Ecology (CRCFE).

AUSRIVAS Macroinvertebrate Predictive Modelling

Fundamental to AUSRIVAS are the predictive models, based on the British RIVPACS approach (River InVertebrate Prediction And Classification System, Wright 1995). These models predict the aquatic macroinvertebrate fauna expected to occur at a site in the absence of environmental stress, such as pollution or habitat degradation, to which the fauna collected at a site can be compared. Thus, AUSRIVAS produces a biological assessment that can be used to indicate the overall ecological health of the site. AUSRIVAS macroinvertabrate predictive models have been developed for each state and territory for the main habitat types found in Australian river systems, including riffle, edge, pool and bed habitats.

Each state/territory has models constructed from single season data in addition to models with data combined from several seasons. The AUSRIVAS predictive system and associated sampling methods offer a number of advantages over traditional assessment techniques. The sampling methods are rapid and standardized within each state/territory, fast turn around of results is possible and the outputs from the AUSRIVAS models are tailored for a range of users including community groups, managers and ecologists.

The following pictures illustrate some of the stages in the development and use of the AUSRIVAS Macroinvertebrate Predictive Model (place the cursor over a picture to view it's description).

Edge sampling Plecoptera Eustheniidae (stonefly) Describing the site
Live pick Odonata (dragonfly nymph) Chemistry sampling
Bug identification and counting Plecoptera Gripopterygidae (stonefly) Lab sorting
Training Athercidae