“An ecologically healthy river is a river that retains its major ecological features and functioning similar to that prior to settlement and which would be able to sustain these characteristics into the future.”
It is one which has flow regimes, water quality and channel characteristics such that (basically if it possesses these qualities we can tell it is a healthy river):
– in the river and along its banks, the majority of plant and animal species are native and the presence of exotic species is not a significant threat
– natural ecosystem processes are maintained
– major natural habitat features are represented and are maintained over time
– native river bank vegetation is sustainable along the majority of the river’s length
– native fish and other animals can move and migrate up and down the river
– linkages between river and floodplain and associated wetlands maintain ecological processes
– natural linkages with the sea or terminal lakes are maintained
– associated estuaries and terminal lake systems are productive ecosystems
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