The Upper Murrumbidgee River is in a state of decline and is in very poor condition along its length. However, as the gorges tend to be inaccessible they retain overall good river and riparian condition and are areas of high ecological value. Slower flowing channel sections and their river flats are more disturbed and suffer accordingly.

Values include:

Terrestrial threatened species and protected areas

Three non-fish species have been listed as threatened in the area ‑ the Pink-tailed worm lizard that occupies the dry valley slopes, and the Tuggeranong lignum – a small scrambling plant that occurs at the base of the valley slopes.

Scottsdale Reserve and the ACT Murrumbidgee River Corridor are protected areas threatened by existing and incoming weeds, overuse, water pollution, soil erosion and introduced fish.

Indigenous cultural heritage

The Murrumbidgee River was an important place for local indigenous people who utilised the area for fishing, camping and hunting. Several sites of Indigenous importance are located along the river ‑ most sites within 150 m of the river. Threats include damage to sites and a lack of awareness about their cultural value.

European cultural heritage

Some European heritage sites of historic and scenic value also occur along the demonstration reach. The area around Tharwa, in particular, contains many representations of early settlement in the Canberra region.

Scenic and recreational asset

The spectacular gorge and river scenery provides the area with scenic and recreational assets including picnic and swimming sites; walking, sightseeing, children’s play and rock climbing areas; as well as boating and fishing opportunities.

In the ACT, Angle Crossing, Tharwa Sandwash, Point Hut, Pine Island, Kambah Pool and Casuarina Sands are areas where recreational activities are concentrated.