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Introduction

AUSRIVAS (Australian River Assessment System) is a rapid prediction system used to assess the biological health of Australian rivers. AUSRIVAS was developed under the National River Health Program (NRHP) by the Federal Government in 1994, in response to growing concern in Australia for maintaining ecological values.

The goal of the National River Health Program is to provide the information needed to reverse the degradation of our inland waters. The objectives of the National River Health Program are to:

  1. Provide a sound information base on which to establish environmental flows;
  2. Undertake a comprehensive assessment of the health of inland waters, identify key areas for the maintenance of aquatic and riparian health and biodiversity, and identify stressed inland waters;
  3. Consolidate and apply techniques for improving the health of inland waters, particularly those identified as stressed; and
  4. Develop community, industry, and management expertise in sustainable water resources management and raise awareness of environmental health issues and needs of our rivers.

AUSRIVAS has two streams, Bioassessment and Physical assessment. These correspond with rapid biological assessment protocols and rapid geomorphic, physical and chemical assessment protocols respectively.