TRaCK: Tropical Rivers and Coastal Knowledge

Science and knowledge that governments, communities, industries for sustainable use of Australia's tropical rivers and estuaries

Update from TRaCK Director

Photo courtesy Julian Murphy, WWF

Update from TRaCK Director

Release date

10 Dec 2013

The TRaCK consortium has been conducting research to underpin the sustainable management of Australia’s tropical rivers since 2006. Although the programs that funded the first round of the TRaCK program came to an end in 2012, TRaCK’s research and knowledge exchange activity is still going strong.

This is happening in a number of ways: 

  • Researchers who were involved with TRaCK currently lead significant projects in the Northern Australia hub of the National Environmental Research Program. These projects build on TRaCK’s original research on river food webs and connectivity, on floodplain weeds and on aquatic biodiversity. More details of these are available on the NERP website.
  • Earlier this year TRaCK was successful in securing nearly $1 million for the Climate Change Adaptation across Australia’s Monsoonal North project. The project is being done in collaboration with Rangelands NRM in WA, Territory NRM in the NT and North Queensland Dry Tropics Trust, Southern Gulf Catchment, Northern Gulf Resource Management and Cape York NRM in Qld. The project is part of the Department of Environment’s Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Research Grants Program and is aimed at doing synthesis and research to support NRM planning in relation to climate change. The project has nine major activities: Climatic knowledge synthesis; Indigenous knowledge of climate change to improve adaptation planning; Decision making and planning for natural resource management; Vulnerability and risk assessment of northern Australian catchments and biodiversity; Scaling biodiversity data; Climate change impacts on pest plants; Social resilience of agricultural landscapes; Carbon sequestration; and Interactive stressors. Researchers from CDU, CSIRO, GU, UWA and JCU have met with representatives from the NRM bodies in August to determine research priorities and projects are now underway. This partnership with the NRM bodies will continue until 2016. For more information contact Brendan Edgar.
  • Research publications and other outputs from the first phase of TRaCK are continuing to come out and this is continuing to stimulate debate about the future of our northern rivers. For example, a recent paper on the trade-offs involved in water use for people and the environment gained media attention earlier this year, and the launch of a series of seasonal calendars on Indigenous water use was well received at a NAIDOC Week event in Canberra, with one calendar later winning an award at the 2013 Tidy Towns Awards in October.
  • TRaCK also participated in a special session at this year’s Riversymposium on the management of tropical rivers. A number of synthesis products from the TRaCK research were launched, including a video highlighting our major findings and a USB stick containing a suite of TRaCK publications and tools.
  • The TRaCK consortium is continuing to pursue opportunities for future research on tropical rivers. The next round of CRCs offer some possibilities for research linked to the sustainable use of water resources in the north, as does the possible continuation of the NERP program. We hope to have more details about these opportunities early in 2014.

On behalf of the TRaCK consortium I wish you all a merry Christmas and look forward to following up with our researchers and stakeholders in the New Year.

If you would like further information, or a copy of any of our research outputs, please call Amy Kimber on (08) 8946 7619 or email

- Michael Douglas, TRaCK Director