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Leading land and water experts win research fellowships.

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The Hon John Anderson MP Minister for Transport and Regional Services

Leading Land and Water Experts Win Research Fellowships

A173/2004 1st December 2004

Three of Australia’s leading land and water experts have been awarded Senior Research Fellowships by Land and Water Australia, the Government’s natural resource management research corporation.

The Acting Prime Minister, John Anderson, and the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Warren Truss, launched the Fellowships today.

“Natural resource management is the major environmental challenge facing Australia. These $100,000 Fellowships are specifically designed to give a select number of our leading land and water researchers time to think, reflect and research without the daily grind of administration,” Mr Anderson said.

“The first of this year’s Fellows is Dr Neil Barr, who has been conducting social science research in the agricultural sector for more than twenty years. He is the leader of the Rural Social Research Team for the Victorian Department of Primary Industries, and co-wrote the standard textbook on the history of environmental innovation in Australia.

“Dr Barr will use his Fellowship to write a book about how farming communities are changing and what they can do to determine their own future. The book will pull together a great deal of inaccessible research and will become an important source of information for communities that are struggling to deal with rapid change.

“The second Fellow is Professor Sam Lake, who has played a major role in the development of freshwater ecology in Australia. He is now Professor of Ecology at Monash University and the Chief Ecologist of the Cooperative Research Centre for Freshwater Ecology.

“Professor Lake is working on a number of research projects, including research into the effect that changing water flows have on the animal and plant life of lowland rivers, and research into the ecological effects of drought on rural streams.

“Professor Lake has pointed out that the effects of floods on freshwater ecosystems have been extensively examined. The effects of drought, however, remain poorly studied. It’s a gaping hole in our scientific knowledge, especially because human activities can greatly worsen its effects.

“He will therefore use his Fellowship to do a comprehensive review of the ecological effects of drought on freshwater ecosystems.

“The third Fellowship will go to Dr Richard Evans, principal hydrogeologist at Sinclair Knight Merz. Dr Evans was the author of the National Groundwater Management Policy, which involved a major review of groundwater practices throughout Australia.

“Dr Evans will use his Fellowship to develop practical ways of handling the interaction between groundwater pumping in a catchment and the amount of water in its rivers and creeks. He recently proposed that as much as 60 percent of the groundwater pumped in a catchment was offset by reduced stream flows.

“Dr Evans’s work will have immediate practical relevance for the National Water Initiative, because it requires the states and territories to include the interaction between groundwater and surface water use in their water plans and water accounting


“The three Fellows will make an important contribution to our knowledge of Australia’s land and water resources, and how the Government and communities can work together to deal with the changes that will be required,” Mr Anderson said.

Media contact: Bill McKinley 02 6277 7680

Bill McKinley Communications Adviser Office of the Deputy Prime Minister Leader of The Nationals Minister for Transport and Regional Services

Tel: +61 2 6277 7680 Fax: +61 2 6273 4126