August 15, 2012
Mitchell Burns, University of Sydney
River concentrations of pesticides result from practices undertaken by individual farmers over an entire catchment. This might contain environments of different ecological value, for example irrigation channels vs. a protected wetland. Subsequently, ecological risk assessments (ERA), when applied at the catchment-scale, could use assessment endpoints that reflect the ecological significance of the different environments according to the local environmental protection goals, such as those defined by the local catchment management agency. Advances in spatial information techniques, applied to ERA, have provided the capability for distinguishing and estimating ecological impacts of pesticides in the different environments of a catchment. This paper presents an Australian case study that evaluates the ecological risk of diuron in an agricultural catchment. In this study a set of assessment endpoints formed in consultation are used to distinguish different environments and a refinement of the current management scale is suggested.