Development of a predictive management model for Orange River blackfly outbreaks
This project builds on the previous research related to blackfly outbreaks on the Orange River. Its primary aims are (1) to test and refine the recently developed pilot probabilistic blackfly outbreak model by inclusion of temperature and turbidity data, and using previous flows and monitoring data; (2) to undertake climate change scenario analyses to assist future management planning; and (3) to provide an evaluation framework for monitoring data of blackfly larval densities, based on the outbreak model. This study has considerable potential for consolidating much of the previous research related to the Blackfly Control Programme over the past 15-20 years into a useful predictive management framework. There are two expected outcomes of this project: firstly, a predictive management model for use by the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries for estimating the likelihood of blackfly outbreaks under different flow conditions, and which blackfly species are likely to be the problem; and secondly a mobile phone application as a tool for reporting nuisance levels that can be used by the general public to increase monitoring coverage. Together, the components of this framework are different from previous aspects of the Blackfly Control Programme, because they provide a structured means for auditing the successes and failures of the Blackfly Control Programme, and there is the basis for evaluating the most likely scenarios of future blackfly outbreaks in response to climate-change-induced water temperature increases. This will facilitate more streamlined and proactive control management strategies of blackfly, and promote adaptive management (learning by doing, especially mistakes).
A final report will be produced on completion of the project. A mobile phone application has been developed for reporting nuisance levels.