The need for greater integration among scientists, policy makers and managers remains one of the key challenges for the intelligent management of catchments and rivers. The call for transparent, inclusive and adaptive decision-making processes that are flexible to changing circumstances, and embrace a diversity of stakeholders and perspectives, is a consistent theme in the recent international literature for management and monitoring (e.g. Macleod et al. 2008; Reed 2008; Lindenmayer and Likens 2009). The integration of concerned interests, such as the formation of partnerships, along with policy emphasising ecologically sensitive development, has been widely proposed to strengthen protection and management of natural resources (e.g. Reed et al. 2008). However, the effective translation of scientific-research findings into policy and on-ground practice is still limited. Obstacles to integration and partnerships among these disparate groups are well known and may result from the fundamentally different approaches that scientists and those engaged in the policy process take to scientific knowledge (Briggs 2006; Rogers 2006; Pielke 2007; Hart and Calhoun 2010). Effective catchment management incorporating lessons from the past could be progressively improved by the a priori establishment and maintenance of integrative research projects that provide the conduit for greater awareness, involvement, transparency and understanding among research, policy and management communities.