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Framework for the Assessment of River and Wetland Health (FARWH) – Queensland trials


The map below highlights the areas where sampling has occurred for this program.

Click on the map to view information about the drainage basins in this area.

Download boundary KML metadata


Program start date

September 2007

Program end date

June 2011

Objectives of the program

The Queensland Alignment of State and National River and Wetland Health Assessment Needs trials (FARWH) had the following objectives: 

  • assess the national FARWH for its relevance and applicability in meeting state-level requirements for monitoring and assessing aquatic ecosystems
  • examine correlations or redundancies with the existing regional assessment frameworks and state-level monitoring programs to determine the overall applicability of FARWH
  • assess whether one river and wetland health approach can be used to provide both state and national needs
  • present a picture of water management and its relationship to river and wetland health for each focus region
  • develop an implementation plan for the roll out of FARWH for the whole of Queensland, including monitoring scale and frequency
  • provide links to future reporting frameworks under the Australian Water Resources Information System (AWRIS).

Who is involved?

Lead organisation

Department of Environment and Science

Contact details of lead organisation: water.monitoring♲

Partner organisations

National Water Commission

List of indicators monitored

FARWH monitors and reports on aquatic ecosystem condition under six themes:

  • Catchment disturbance
  • Physical form
  • Hydrological disturbance
  • Water quality and soils
  • Fringing zone
  • Aquatic biota

The selection of specific sub-indices within these themes is non-prescriptive and varies according to the particular surface water management area being assessed. The sub-indices can include field collected data, gauged and modelled data, as well as information collected via remote sensing and GIS analysis.

Scale of program

The primary reporting scale of FARWH is at the surface water management area, which in most cases equates to a specific river catchment. For the majority of themes, the monitoring is designed and undertaken at a site and/or reach scale. The results are then combined to produce a broad-scale assessment that is suitable for comparative national reporting.

Brief description of sampling locations

The project trialled FARWH over four different regions in Queensland: Central Queensland, South East Queensland, the Wet Tropics and Lake Eyre Basin. Within these regions following specific surface water management areas were assessed:

  • Burdekin and Pioneer surface water management areas in Central Queensland
  • Moreton surface water management area (including the Brisbane, Pine, Bremer, Lockyer and Stanley Rivers) in South East Queensland
  • Tully River surface water management area in the Wet Tropics
  • Cooper Creek surface water management area in the Lake Eyre Basin.

Frequency of monitoring

The FARWH trials were conducted as part of the national FARWH program and provided a one-off assessment of aquatic ecosystem condition. The monitoring undertaken as part of these trials was undertaken in autumn 2008 in Central Queensland, in spring 2008 in South East Queensland, in winter 2009 in the Wet Tropics and in autumn 2009 in the Lake Eyre Basin. The frequency, timing and scope of the assessments were variable due to the wide range of indicator types used and the program timelines.

Where is the program reported?

Results and findings from the FARWH trials were reported directly to the National Water Commission. They are also presented in the following final report Alignment of state and national river and wetland health assessment needs.

Last updated: 22 March 2013

This page should be cited as:

Framework for the Assessment of River and Wetland Health (FARWH) – Queensland trials, WetlandInfo, Department of Environment and Science, Queensland, viewed 17 May 2018, <>.

Queensland Government
WetlandInfo   —   Department of Environment and Science