Assessing the Risks of Salinity Fact Sheet

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A framework for assessing the
biological risks of increasing salinity in
Victoria
Fact sheet - April 2008
Background
Applications
Increasing salinity threatens a wide range of native
plants and animals in Victoria. A key stage in managing
the effects of increasing salinity is predicting which
plants and animals are likely to be impacted and where.
The risk modelling approaches and decision frameworks
developed have a number of applications:
•
Determination of how best to allocate resources for
protecting biodiversity assets from salinity;
A team of researchers from DSE has developed new
Salt Impact Modelling approaches to estimate the
proportion of species likely to be affected at different
concentrations of salts in soil or water. Funded by the
National Action Plan for Salinity and Water Quality
(NAP) and the National Heritage Trust (NHT), this
project has developed decision-frameworks and
modelling tools for assessing the risks of salinity. These
tools have been applied to a number of case studies to
demonstrate their application.
Figure 1. Species Sensitivity Distribution
Salt Impact Models
The risk models developed in this project form a central
component in the Ecological Risk Assessment (ERA) of
the effects of salinity. Quantitative approaches to ERA
are being increasingly applied in environmental
management as these methods reduce the subjectivity
in decision making, can be informative when data are
limited or absent, and provide a framework for
incorporating estimates of uncertainty into risk
assessments.
•
Derivation of target salinity levels for setting
objectives and environmental standards;
•
Comparison of the relative risks of effects between
different situations or processes;
•
Identification of priority
management works;
•
Estimation of the risks of effects on sensitive or
vulnerable taxa.
Risk models can take different forms depending on the
input data. A useful approach to predicting the effects
of salinity is to construct a Species Sensitivity
areas
for
salinity
1
e liz _ b 4
0 .5
1
Input Parameters
Distribution (Figure 1) which describes the proportion
of species affected at different salinities. These models
0
100 00
30 000
50000
7000 0
2 0000
4000 0
6 0 000
0 .5
eliz
_b
4
M od el
1
co n c B
0.5
co n cA
30 00 0
to prioritise management actions.
40 00 0
50 00 0
60 00 0
70 00 0
0
1 0 00 0
20 00 0
300 00
40 00 0
50 00 0
60 00 0
70 00 0
80 00 0
1
co n cB
R isk
A second approach is to construct a more complicated
model of the likelihood of effects of salinity. This often
requires combining data from different sources to
develop an overall picture of the risks of change (Figure
2).
0.5
0
20 000
3000 0
40000
50000
600 0 0
70 000
8000 0
Figure 2. Probabilistic Risk Model
Published by the Victorian Government Department of Sustainability and Environment, Melbourne, April 2008
© The State of Victoria Department of Sustainability and Environment 2008
This publication is copyright. No part may be reproduced by any process except in accordance with the provisions of the Copyright Act 1968.
Authorised by the Victorian Government, 8 Nicholson Street, East Melbourne.
ISBN 978-1-74208-340-7 (PDF)
For more information contact the DSE Customer Service Centre 136 186 or Dr Bill Dixon at [email protected], Arthur Rylah Institute, Department of Sustainability and Environment, PO
Box 137, Heidelberg 3084.
This publication may be of assistance to you but the State of Victoria and its employees do not guarantee that the publication is without flaw of any kind or is wholly appropriate for your particular
purposes and therefore disclaims all liability for any error, loss or other consequence which may arise from you relying on any information in this publication.
www.dse.vic.gov.au/ari
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