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Wetlands and Environmental Flows. By: Dylan Miszkowiec and Joey Radosevic. Definition and Classification of the Resource. Wetlands may be defined as areas that are permanently or temporarily covered by fresh, brackish or saline water.

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wetlands and environmental flows

Wetlands and Environmental Flows

By: Dylan Miszkowiec


Joey Radosevic

definition and classification of the resource
Definition and Classification of the Resource
  • Wetlands may be defined as areas that are permanently or temporarily covered by fresh, brackish or saline water.
  • Environmental flows are the natural flows or water deliberately released to supply the needs of the environment. They attempt to mimic the natural flow regimes of the river.
  • The Wetlands alone contribute to the maintenance of the hydrological, physical and ecological health of the riverine environment.
importance of the resource
Importance of the Resource
  • The Wetlands and Floodplains are essential to the ecosystem. They provide breeding and feeding habitats for many kinds of organisms, waterbirds, fish, invertebrates and plants. They have a role in role in absorbing, recycling and releasing nutrients and trapping sediments. They work as a natural filter to improve water quality. During the wet periods, they spread flood peaks and store floodwater, releasing them gradually to lessen the harsher effects of flooding.
geographic characteristics
The wetlands and environmental flows are commonly infested with algae and other bacterium. They are only small in size, but have a great impact on the river system. There has been a increase in the presence of pests and introduced species.

Macquarie Marshes

Geographic Characteristics
distribution of the resources
Distribution of the Resources

There is over 7,000 wetlands in the Murray Darling Basin, covering approx. 222,000 hectares.

positive and negative impacts of the resource use

The water is used to provide us with another form of resources e.g. Food, cotton etc.

Environmental flows have been allocated to areas in need of more water.

Wetlands support more than 50,000 birds throughout the Murray darling basin.

Floodplains support more then 100,000 birds.


As much as 50% 0f the area of wetland that existed 200 years ago has been lost due to irrigational purposes.

The annual outflow of the river system has been reduced from 13,700GL - 4,900GL.

The constant use of wetlands has degraded them.

Positive and Negative impacts of the resource use
conflicts over use
Conflicts over use
  • There is minimal conflicts over the use of Wetlands and Environmental flows. The majority of Wetlands and Environmental flows are on private property and artificially produced, giving the owners the right of use for this water. Due to how small they are, when they are drained, there is very little left or sometimes none. When there is no water left in a wetland, water diseases like algae are able to grow and get through to the main flow of the river.
management policies and strategies
Management Policies and Strategies
  • Case Study 1- Chowilla Floodplain
  • The Chowilla Floodplain, located near Renmark, SA, covers 17,700 hectares, of which three quarters is in SA and the remainder in NSW, on the northern side of the river. It is a wetland in an arid environment, totally dependent on the Murray River. It contains diverse habitats, with lakes, billabongs, islands, flowing creeks, levees and lunettes, and more than 100km of anabranch creeks (a stream that separates from a river, follows its own course and rejoins the river).
  • Management : It was listed under the Ramsar Convention in 1987, and in 1995, the Chowilla Resource Management Plan was created. It is an integrated plan that understands the requirements of the commercial and recreational users and which, at the same time, aims to protect and restore the natural ecological features of the Chowilla Anabranch system. Among the major issues are improving the salt problem, land degradation, recreation management, wetland management and land tenure. However given the high levels of salinity in the groundwater due to the presence of lock 6 on the Murray River, it will be some time before any positive impacts show.
management policies and stratergies
Management Policies and Stratergies
  • Case Study 2-Ginini Flats Sub-Alpine Bog Complex, Namadgi National Park, ACT
  • Located in the upper catchment of the Cotter River at an altitude of over 1,500 metres, the Ginini Flats is an area of sub-alpine bogs and wet heath and grasslands. There are some 50 hectares of wetlands and 75 hectares of open flats. The Ginini Flats Sub-Alpine Bog Complex is one of the most recent additions to Australia's list of Ramsar sites. The impeded drainage has contributed to the formation of extensive Sphagnum (genus of between 151-350 species of mosses, commonly called peat moss) bogs on deep peaty soils. The area is at the northern limit in the Australian Alps for such vegetation, but includes some of the largest, deepest and best preserved Sphagnum bogs on the Australian mainland. The Flats provide important breeding habitat for a number of rare fauna, in particular, one of the largest known populations of the threatened corroberee frog.
  • Management- is an Australian Ramsar Site.
  • http://www.mdbc.gov.au/education/encyclopedia/wetlands/wetlands.htm
  • http://www.mdbc.gov.au/nrm/water_issues/flood_plain_management/flood_plain_wetland_management_strategy
  • http://www.mdbc.gov.au/nrm/water_issues/wetlands
  • http://www.environment.gov.au/water/environmental/wetlands/index.html
  • New Perspectives VCE Geography Units 1-4