Skukuza 2009

“Management of environmental flows within a changing climate” Workshop   

7-11 September, Goolwa, South Australia


The ANU Water Initiative is co-sponsoring the 2009 workshop of the Skukuza Freshwater Group, a biennial gathering of experts from academia, governments and environmental organizations to discuss a key emerging issue in freshwater conservation. The previous two Skukuza meetings focused on a) better methods for selecting freshwater habitats for conservation (2004), and b) better conservation methods for conservation of freshwater biodiversity in protected areas (2006). The 2009 workshop will take these issues a step further and ask how freshwater ecosystems can be better conserved in the face of a changing climate. The Skukuza Group brings together experts from Australia, South Africa, the USA, and is now expanding to embrace Europe and China.


Skukuza 2009 will be held on the estuary of the River Murray in Australia, a major Ramsar site. This "MDB" river system is severely impacted by river regulation, diversions, deteriorating water quality and climate change and so will provide a thought-provoking case of the issues to be discussed at the meeting. This may help participants learn lessons from MDB to assist in other over-allocated and climate change-prone rivers. The meeting will aim to review the conservation status and emerging trends in climate impacts on key river systems globally. It will consider how freshwater conservation methods, such as environmental flows and protected area designations, may need to be adjusted to conserve aquatic ecosystems with climate change.


Outputs from Skukuza 2009 will include:

  • i) a peer-reviewed journal special edition documenting the state of play globally and recommended ways forward;
  • ii) up to date scientific and policy advice into key global process, in particular, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, and Convention on Biological Diversity CoP10 in Japan in October 2010.

Skukuza 2009 will concurrently be the venue for meetings of the International Union for Conservation of Nature's World Commission on Protected Areas Freshwater Taskforce, and a working group of the Ramsar Convention's Scientific and Technical Review Panel looking at climate change adaptation.

Participation is by invitation only.


Skukuza communiqué 2009  [here]


This summary communique is the key conclusions reached by the scientists who gathered at Goolwa South Australia. A special edition of Marine and Freshwater Research is due to be published in 2010 based on the workshop's papers and deliberations.


Media coverage: ABC News (AM) <<here>>] ; ABC News (PM) <<here>>


More information: Jamie Pittock –