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About EnSym

EnSym – Environmental Systems Modelling platform – is a computer software package designed to estimate the impact of actions in the landscape. Through modelling, EnSym allows us to understand and quantify the environmental benefits being delivered through on-ground conservation and revegetation works. Environmental benefits reported by EnSym include river, wetland and native vegetation health impacts and outcomes and changes in catchment function including hydrological impacts (surface and groundwater).

This software has been developed by the ecoMarkets team and incorporates science, standards, metrics and information developed within DSE, as well as many leading international and national scientific models.

More detail - EnSym brochure (PDF 1MB)

 

EnSym Tools

EnSym contains three main tools – the Site Assessment Tool for field work, the Landscape Preference Tool for asset prioritisation and metric building and BioSim for catchment planning.

1. EnSym’s Site Assessment Tool estimates the impact of actions on the landscape, allowing natural resource managers to understand and quantify the environmental benefits of on-ground conservation and revegetation works. This tool is designed to ensure the consistent and objective calculation of the change in environmental service expected as a result of management actions (like weeding and revegetation) across a landscape. Importantly, it provides a score, known as the ‘Environmental Benefits Index’, for each site which can be used alongside information on costs to identify cost effective projects.

More detail - Information sheet: Site Assessment Tool (PDF 683KB)

To use the Site Assessment Tool, complete the below questionnaire and return to ensym.support@depi.vic.gov.au

Site Assessment Tool for environmental tenders: Questionnaire (PDF 613KB)

Questionnaire attachment 1: Questionnaire Guide (PDF 94KB)
Questionnaire attachment 2: Quick Guide to Environmental Metrics (PDF 663KB)
Questionnaire attachment 3: Data Lists (PDF 72KB)

 

2. EnSym’s Landscape Preference Tool makes it easy to identify sites that match a program’s natural resource priorities. The Landscape Preference Tool allows natural resource managers to define a set of assessment criteria by which to assess sites and projects. The tool will then score sites using these criteria. These scores can be used as an objective measure to assist investment decision making.

More detail - Information sheet: Landscape Preference Tool (PDF 674KB)

If you wish to use EnSym’s Landscape Preference Tool, please contact ensym.support@depi.vic.gov.au.

 

3. EnSym’s Biosim assists decision making in planning and water resource divisions by predicting the impact of land management on water, sediment and agricultural chemical yields in a catchment. It is the biophysical modelling toolbox of EnSym, designed to simulate all major hydrologic components as simply and realistically as possible.

More detail - Information sheet: BioSim (PDF 662KB)

If you wish to use EnSym’s BioSim, please contact ensym.support@depi.vic.gov.au.

The science behind EnSym
A large part of the science driving ecoMarkets is based on mapping Victoria into 20-metre grids. This level of landscape detail is a first for Victoria and possibly the world. The new landscape modelling techniques make it possible to identify the contribution that each 20-metre grid can make to improving environmental outcomes.
 
At its most basic level, this grid system characterises how each 20-metre area fits into the overall ecosystem. This detailed knowledge of the unique aspects of any particular location in the landscape allows prediction of the catchment scale impacts of any land management action or group of actions. For example, revegetating along a stream with indigenous plants creates improved habitat for native flora and fauna, filters runoff water that reduces sedimentation and harmful nutrients from entering the stream and finally captures carbon. However, this revegetation will also use water that will not be available for aquatic flora and fauna or consumptive purposes downstream. Developing the science to understand these interactions is critical if we are to make real improvements to the environment and avoid potentially unwanted outcomes.
 
So for the first time we can accurately identify and assess environmental quality and judge the relative dollar value of potential improvements to the land. This means we can more easily report on the condition of our ecosystems and quantify in dollar terms the contribution the environment makes to the Victorian economy.
 
Critically, this science will be delivered in a form easily understood by land managers and decision-makers, known as EnSym - Environmental Systems Modelling Platform (formerly known as the Catchment Management Framework or CMF).
Groundwater modelling
In 2007 EcoMarkets initiated a state-wide program to develop groundwater models for each of Victoria's ten Catchment Management Areas. Now completed these groundwater models give Ensym the ability to assess the impacts of land use change and water use change on groundwater regimes and stream aquifer interaction at the catchment scale.
 
A staged approach was adopted during the development of each groundwater model. The initial phase involved the conceptualisation and development of a multi-layered steady state groundwater model. The second phase involved the refinement and expansion of the phase one outputs which lead to the construction of a multi-layered transient groundwater model.
 
The development of each groundwater model had to conform to the following minimum specifications:
  • Finite difference gridding at a maximum of 200 metre cell size; - Multi-layer groundwater model (representing major geological units) consistent with existing models; 
  • Common boundary conditions and consistent aquifer parameters with adjacent models (as arising from the state-wide groundwater modelling workshop outlined below); 
  • Finite difference gridding at a maximum of 200 metre cell size; - Multi-layer groundwater model (representing major geological units) consistent with existing models; 
  • Common boundary conditions and consistent aquifer parameters with adjacent models (as arising from the state-wide groundwater modelling workshop outlined below); 
  • A normalised (scaled) RMS of less than 5 per cent for steady-state based on matching mapped depth to watertable; 
  • A normalised (scaled) RMS of less than 10 per cent for the transient model based on matching mapped depth to watertable, sub-catchment baseflow and groundwater hydrograph responses for selected and agreed groundwater monitoring bores; 
  • A calibration period of no less than 10 years; 
  • A sensitivity analysis to assess the variability of modelled outputs to variations in key model input parameters; 
  • Catchment groundwater water balance error of less than 2 percent; 
  • All catchment water balance features to be considered and reported; 
  • The source and a statement of quality of all input data sets to be reported; 
  • At least 500 groundwater monitoring observation bores used for calibration (if > 500 present); 
  • Model domain represents the entire extent of the catchment management area, and 
  • The steady-state and transient groundwater recharge layers developed and provided by DSE are to be incorporated unaltered into each model unless demonstrated to be erroneous.; 
 
At the end of each phase the models were independently reviewed in accordance with the Murray Darling Basin Authorities Groundwater Modelling Guidelines (Middlemis, 2001) which is Australian best practice guideline for groundwater flow modelling, including review and appraisal.
 
The review process was conducted via direct informal communication between developer and reviewer in conjunction with five structured workshops, held at key stages of the groundwater models development, including:
  • Informal review workshop - following collation of all relevant data sets and development of preliminary aquifer conceptualisation 
  • State-wide groundwater modelling workshop - Carried out post preliminary conceptualisation to ensure consistency between model areas 
  • Phase 1 model review workshop - Formal presentation of the final aquifer conceptualisation and a calibrated steady-state multi layered groundwater model for review. 
  • Phase 2 model review workshop - Formal presentation of the calibrated Phase 2 transient multi layered groundwater model and report for review.
  • Final State-wide groundwater modelling workshop - Presentation of the final groundwater model to DSE and Rural Water Authorities, including discussion on the development, review process and model limitations. 
 
For more information on the EcoMarkets groundwater models please contact: charles.showers@dse.vic.gov.au
 
Each of the model development reports are available for download below (Warning. Large file size)
 
 
Further information & publications

For further information, please see:

DSE EnSym Brochure (PDF 1.0 MB)
 
EnSym AusInnovation (21 May 2009) (PDF 2.1 MB)
 
Vanderkruk, K., Owen, K., Grace, M. and Thompson, R., 2010. Review of Existing Nutrient, Suspended Solid and Metal Models. (PDF 1.6MB)
 
Ha, J., Eigenraam, M., Forbes, G., Lewis, W. and Chua, J., 2010. The Environmental Systems Modelling Platform (EnSym) to Assess Effects of Land Use Changes on Groundwater Recharge, International Congress on Environmental Modelling and Software, 5 - 8 July 2010, Ottawa, Canada (PDF 1.7 MB)
 
Baker, P.J. and Robinson, A., 2010. Review and comparison of tree- and stand-based forest growth models for potential integration into EnSym (PDF 1.5 MB)
 
Feikema, P., Morris, J., Beverly, C., Baker, T. and Lane, P., 2010. Description of the 3PG+ forest growth model (PDF 1.7 MB)
 
Zyngier, R., Shelly, K., Baker, P. and Cavagnaro, T., 2010. Terrestrial nutrient cycling, transport and vegetation dynamics (PDF 2.1 MB)
 
Ha, J., Chua, J. and Eigenraam, M., 2009. Testing a Particle Approach to Determine Surface Water Flow Over a Terrain. In Anderssen, R.S., R.D. Braddock and L.T.H. Newham (eds) 18th World IMACS Congress and MODSIM09 International Congress on Modelling and Simulation. Modelling and Simulation Society of Australia and New Zealand and International Association for Mathematics and Computers in Simulation, July 2009, 4008-4014. (PDF 1.4 MB)
 
Jordan, P., 2010. Methods for incorporating within subcatchment routing and lateral fluxes of water and constituents within the EnSym framework, SKM Report (PDF 602KB)
 
Ha, J., Eigenraam, M., Chua, J. and Lewis, W., 2010. A Programmer's Guide for BioSym - the Biophysical Modelling Toolbox of EnSym. Victorian Department of Sustainability and Environment. (PDF 400KB)
 
Ha, J., Chua, J. and Eigenraam, M., 2009. Testing a Particle Approach to Determine Surface Water Flow Over a Terrain. In Anderssen, R.S., R.D. Braddock and L.T.H. Newham (eds) 18th World IMACS Congress and MODSIM09 International Congress on Modelling and Simulation. Modelling and Simulation Society of Australia and New Zealand and International Association for Mathematics and Computers in Simulation, July 2009, 4008-4014 (PDF 1.4MB)
 
 
 
For information about Ensym
Phone: 136 186 TTY: 1800 122 969 Email: ensym.support@delwp.vic.gov.au
Last updated 07 February 2018 20:02