Conceptual and statistical framework for a water quality component of the integrated report card for the Great Barrier Reef catchments

Kuhnert, Petra, Bartley, Rebecca, Peterson, Erin, Browne, Matthew, Harch, Bronwyn, Steven, Andy, Gibbs, Mark, Henderson, Anne, Brando, Vittorio, & (2007) Conceptual and statistical framework for a water quality component of the integrated report card for the Great Barrier Reef catchments. CSIRO.

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This report presents the final deliverable from the project titled Conceptual and statistical framework for a water quality component of an integrated report card’ funded by the Marine and Tropical Sciences Research Facility (MTSRF; Project 3.7.7).

The key management driver of this, and a number of other MTSRF projects concerned with indicator development, is the requirement for state and federal government authorities and other stakeholders to provide robust assessments of the present ‘state’ or ‘health’ of regional ecosystems in the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) catchments and adjacent marine waters. An integrated report card format, that encompasses both biophysical and socioeconomic factors, is an appropriate framework through which to deliver these assessments and meet a variety of reporting requirements. It is now well recognised that a ‘report card’ format for environmental reporting is very effective for community and stakeholder communication and engagement, and can be a key driver in galvanising community and political commitment and action.

Although a report card it needs to be understandable by all levels of the community, it also needs to be underpinned by sound, quality-assured science. In this regard this project was to develop approaches to address the statistical issues that arise from amalgamation or integration of sets of discrete indicators into a final score or assessment of the state of the system. In brief, the two main issues are (1) selecting, measuring and interpreting specific indicators that vary both in space and time, and (2) integrating a range of indicators in such a way as to provide a succinct but robust overview of the state of the system. Although there is considerable research and knowledge of the use of indicators to inform the management of ecological, social and economic systems, methods on how to best to integrate multiple disparate indicators remain poorly developed. Therefore the objective of this project was to (i) focus on statistical approaches aimed at ensuring that estimates of individual indicators are as robust as possible, and (ii) present methods that can be used to report on the overall state of the system by integrating estimates of individual indicators.

It was agreed at the outset, that this project was to focus on developing methods for a water quality report card. This was driven largely by the requirements of Reef Water Quality Protection Plan (RWQPP) and led to strong partner engagement with the Reef Water Quality Partnership.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 78558
Item Type: Report
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: water quality, Great Barrier Reef, statistical science, report card
Divisions: Current > Institutes > Institute for Future Environments
Current > Schools > School of Mathematical Sciences
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Science & Engineering Faculty
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2007 CSIRO
Deposited On: 09 Jun 2015 23:05
Last Modified: 10 Jun 2015 23:38

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