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Coastal ecosystem management case study: fish connectivity

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Title: Coastal ecosystem management case study: fish connectivity
Authors: Holmes, G.
McGrath, C.
Larsen, J.
Hockings, M.
Moss, P.
Issue Date: 2013
Publisher: Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority
Abstract: The Fitzroy River basin is the largest catchment of the Great Barrier Reef, and the ecosystem functions it provides are vital for maintaining the health of the Great Barrier Reef. The coastal ecosystems of the lower Fitzroy River region, incorporating the lower Fitzroy, Styx, Shoalwater and Waterpark basins, encompass an area of approximately 20,000 km2 and include varying levels of development. Much of the lower Fitzroy and Styx basins have been heavily modified for development (primarily for agriculture, dominated by grazing) while the Shoalwater and Waterpark basins remain relatively development free. In the case of the Shoalwater basin, this is predominantly due to the presence of the military training area which constrains development. Development within the Fitzroy region has led to extensive changes in water flow regimes resulting from the harvesting of water resources for industry, agriculture and domestic use. The associated infrastructure, including dams, weirs, tidal barrages and ponded pasture systems, as well as other infrastructure connected with development such as road and rail connections, have resulted in many obstructions in water courses that act as barriers to fish movement and connectivity between ecosystems. These impacts are representative of many other Great Barrier Reef catchments and the management of them provides lessons for management of the Great Barrier Reef catchment generally.
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