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  • Writer's pictureBrendan Cox

The Win-Win Solution for People and Nature: Restoring Habitat for Macroinvertebrates

Updated: Apr 24, 2023

Why restoring habitat for macroinvertebrates improves river health.


If you love rivers, you should care about macroinvertebrates. Macroinvertebrates are small animals that live in freshwater ecosystems, such as insects, worms, snails, and crustaceans. They play a vital role in maintaining the health and function of rivers, as they are food for fish and other wildlife, decompose organic matter, cycle nutrients, and filter water. However, many macroinvertebrates are sensitive to environmental stressors like pollution, habitat loss, climate change, and invasive species. When these stressors affect the quality and quantity of water and habitat in rivers, many macroinvertebrates disappear or decline in numbers. This can have negative impacts on the whole river ecosystem and the services it provides to humans.

That's why restoring habitat for macroinvertebrates is essential for improving river health. By creating or enhancing conditions that support the diversity and abundance of these organisms, we can help them thrive and perform their ecological functions. For example, we can restore riparian vegetation to provide shade, shelter, and food for macroinvertebrates. We can also restore natural flow regimes to mimic the seasonal variations of water levels and velocities that macroinvertebrates need. We can also remove barriers and reconnect fragmented habitats, allowing macroinvertebrates to disperse and colonize new areas.


Restoring habitat for macroinvertebrates is not only good for rivers but also for us. By supporting these organisms, we can improve water quality and quantity, enhance fish production and biodiversity, increase recreational opportunities and aesthetic values, and reduce flood risks and erosion. Restoring habitat for macroinvertebrates is a win-win solution for people and nature.


If you want to learn more about how you can get involved in restoring the habitat for macroinvertebrates in your local river, check out these resources:

  1. Contact your local council or regional natural resource management agency. They may offer advice or support for habitat restoration projects.

  2. Check out the website for the NSW Government's Saving our Species program. This program focuses on preventing threatened species' extinction in NSW and provides information on how individuals can help. https://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/topics/animals-and-plants/threatened-species/saving-our-species-program

  3. The Australian River Restoration Centre provides information and resources on river restoration projects. They have a wide range of resources available, including case studies, guidelines, and training programs. https://arrc.au/

  4. The NSW Landcare Gateway is great for finding local Landcare groups and events. Landcare groups often focus on habitat restoration projects, and they may be able to provide advice or assistance. https://landcare.nsw.gov.au/

  5. The Waterwatch program is a community-based water quality monitoring program that aims to improve the health of waterways in NSW. They offer a range of resources and support for individuals interested in improving water quality and habitat for macroinvertebrates. NSW Waterwatch - https://www.nswwaterwatch.org.au/


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