Representative reserves (protected areas) are an accepted component of terrestrial and marine biodiversity conservation programs. Additionally, representative reserves have important values in protecting ecosystems of special importance, and in providing ecologically based benchmarks useful in assessing the sustainability of management programs. However, in spite of international and national commitments, Australian State governments have been slow to establish systems of representative reserves in freshwater environments.
A central recommendation involves the establishment of agreed national methods for the classification of freshwater ecosystems into (“representative”) categories which can be incorporated into a comprehensive national inventory. A second key recommendation involves the development of a national approach to identifying gaps in the existing reserve system relating specifically to freshwater ecosystems.