The tropical rivers of northern Australia account for more than half of the nation's freshwater. Nearly all of these rivers flow freely to the sea with less than 0.001% of river flow diverted for human use. New research has demonstrated that people currently derive many benefits from these rivers but there is mounting pressure to develop the region and repeated calls for a network of dams and irrigation schemes. In some ways, northern Australia is where the Willamette was a hundred years ago. Research scientist Michael Douglas suggests that there are great similarities in the way that science can support river restoration and protection in both of these regions and prompts the audience to consider: If you had the chance to wind back the clock in the Willamette Valley, what would you do differently? What can north Australia learn from the lessons of restoring the Willamette?
Presented on Dec 12, 2013 at Within Our Reach, a conference of Willamette basin stakeholders put on by the Meyer Memorial Trust and the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board every other year.