Alter water flow rates

How is the evidence assessed?
  • Effectiveness
    not assessed
  • Certainty
    not assessed
  • Harms
    not assessed

Study locations

Key messages

  • One study evaluated the effects of altering water flow rates on reptile populations. This study was in Australia.



  • Abundance (1 study): One before-and-after study in Australia found that releasing a large flow of water into a wetland system had mixed effects on relative abundance of eastern long-necked turtles and the number of turtles caught.
  • Condition (1 study): One before-and-after study in Australia found that after releasing a large flow of water into a wetland system, body condition of eastern long-necked turtles improved.


About key messages

Key messages provide a descriptive index to studies we have found that test this intervention.

Studies are not directly comparable or of equal value. When making decisions based on this evidence, you should consider factors such as study size, study design, reported metrics and relevance of the study to your situation, rather than simply counting the number of studies that support a particular interpretation.

Supporting evidence from individual studies

  1. A before-and-after study in 2008 in an area of wetland and creeks along a river in south-eastern Australia (Howard et al. 2017) found that after a large flow of water was released into the system the relative abundance of eastern long-necked turtles Chelodina longicollis remained similar, and turtle body condition improved. Following the provision of a large flow of water, a similar number of turtles were caught in a refuge pool (0.02 turtles/trap/hour) compared to before (0.15 turtles/trap/hour). However, authors reported that only six turtles were caught after the water flow, whereas 44 were caught before. Turtles in the refuge pool had higher body condition after the flow than before (reported as condition index). In 2008, water flow into Barmah National Park was increased by opening regulators along a river that feeds into the wetlands and creeks of the park. This released 300 ML of water into the system. One pool was surveyed for turtles in October 2008, just prior to the water release, and again in February 2009, three months after the water release. Turtles were trapped using six fyke nets (50 mm mesh) that were set in shallow water in the early evening and retrieved the following morning. Captured turtles were measured and released.

    Study and other actions tested
Please cite as:

Sainsbury K.A., Morgan W.H., Watson M., Rotem G., Bouskila A., Smith R.K. & Sutherland W.J. (2021) Reptile Conservation: Global Evidence for the Effects of Interventions for reptiles. Conservation Evidence Series Synopsis. University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK.

Where has this evidence come from?

List of journals searched by synopsis

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Reptile Conservation

This Action forms part of the Action Synopsis:

Reptile Conservation
Reptile Conservation

Reptile Conservation - Published 2021

Reptile synopsis

What Works 2021 cover

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