Once the environmental values (EVs) of a water body have been defined, the level of environmental quality or water quality necessary to maintain each value must be determined. Environmental management goals are quite specific. Examples may include: to eliminate or reduce the occurrence of algal blooms; to improve livestock health and productivity; to minimise the occurrence of fish kills; and to increase biodiversity and ecosystem health. As with EVs, management goals should be defined according to community needs and desires and thus requires consultation with relevant stakeholder groups.
For aquatic ecosystems, these goals typically relate to the key components of aquatic ecosystems, which are:
These components form the basis of indicators of ecosystem health, water quality/ecosystem health objectives and specific management and monitoring programs.
A number of water quality monitoring programs around Australia are based on the key components of aquatic ecosystems, for example, The South East Queensland Regional Water Quality Strategy 2001.
This table provides some examples of management goals for environmental values and associated pressures (PDF 109KB).