TRaCK: Tropical Rivers and Coastal Knowledge

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

Simon Townsend

Simon Townsend

Simon Townsend
Project Leader
Charles Darwin University

Simon Townsend is manager of the Aquatic Health Unit with the Department of Natural Resources, Environment, The Arts and Sport of the Northern Territory Government.  He is also an honorary research fellow at Charles Darwin University.  Simon has a wide range of interests in aquatic ecology and limnology of the wet-dry tropics that span rivers, floodplain lakes and reservoirs, with academic interests in algal ecology and water quality.  He has been a resident of Darwin since 1983, with one brief year-long sojourn as a researcher with the Australian Antarctic Division of the Australian Government.  His doctoral study with the then Northern Territory University examined the significance of wet-dry tropical climate on the limnology two adjacent reservoirs that differed in their physical characteristics.  Simon is a member of the TRaCK team, and has led projects on river health and water quality monitoring and research into river algal ecology.  He is keen to see river health monitoring is scientifically credible, communicated and informative for water resource management, and considered a societal activity rather than one only undertaken by a Government agency.  Simon has co-authored more than 40 book chapters and scientific papers.


Phase 1 Projects

Outcomes The purpose of the Framework was to: a) Identify beneficial uses for our water resources (where they have not already been set), so they can be appropriately managed in the future to protect the needs of water dependent ecosystems, current water users, existing businesses and allow for future development in a sustainable manner, and b) Guide the planning and implementation of water quality monitoring programs in an integrated, comprehensive manner.
Outcomes In north Australia, the FARWH project provided key data and capacity to allow river health to be compared across Australia. This work included: Evaluating the suitability of implementing the FARWH in the wet/dry tropics of northern Australia in order to make recommendations for ongoing monitoring of river health Helping to align north Australian regional monitoring requirements with national expectations to improve the efficiency of river health assessment and monitoring Providing training and implementation products and tools that are appropriate to northern Australia Increasing the capacity of north Australian regional authorities to undertake river health assessments Reporting on data collection, analysis and interpretation methods, and levels of data confidence Complementing other National Water Initiative activities, deliverables and outcomes Being consistent with other FARWH trials in other jurisdictions