Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1/3939
Title: Postgraduate: Susan Lutton - Aquatic biodiversity and the ecological value of the ring-tank water storages on cotton farms (wasFCRC1C)
Keywords: aquatic biodiversity
habitats
natural wetlands
biodiversity
regional issues
water stotage
on-farm
irrigation systems
flow regimes
WUE
water scarcity
best management practices
natural resource management
sustainability
impact
Issue Date: 30-Jun-2008
Publisher: Griffith University, Queensland
Series/Report no.: ;CRC70
;FCRC1C
;2.03.01
Abstract: Globally, natural wetlands are under threat from water resource development reflecting the need to support a growing population. In the Border Rivers Catchment in Queensland, Australia, a large irrigation industry coupled with a highly variable flow regime has necessitated the building of large on-farm water storages and often associated destruction or isolation of their natural counterparts. With the decline in abundance of natural wetlands, the presence of these storages on the floodplain has raised the question of their suitability as alternative aquatic habitat. This project aimed to investigate the diversity of storages and the structure and function of the aquatic assemblages they support compared with nearby natural wetlands. These results were then used to recommend best management practice for optimising both diversity and ecosystem function in storages. Initially the physical variety of water storages in the Border Rivers Catchment was described and their morphology and hydrology compared to that of natural wetlands. Storages and natural wetlands formed two distinct groups based on morphology. Storages tended to be large, deep structures with a more regular shape, while natural wetlands were irregular and shallow with large perimeters. Although there was a degree of variability amongst storage sites, most fell into one group and were considered to be a ‘typical’ storage in this region. Storages primarily function as water supplies and their associated management makes them mostly unsuitable as ‘replacement’ wetlands. However, given the large numbers of storages across the catchment, if managed effectively, they may provide an additional source of aquatic habitat and help maintain regional biodiversity. To maximise the biodiversity of storages it will be essential to reduce the morphological homogeneity of storages across the landscape and increase habitat diversity within storages. In the future, improved design of new storages and alterations to existing storages and their management could help overcome this problem of low diversity of habitat. As a group, storages in the Border Rivers Catchment are still fundamentally different to natural waterbodies, with storages being a mostly homogeneous group. If we are to sustain the aquatic biodiversity in the Border Rivers Catchment and other similar irrigation regions it will be necessary to preserve the spatial and temporal variation in habitat evident in natural wetlands.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1/3939
Appears in Collections:2008 Final Reports

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