Murray-Darling Basin 2022-23 flood environmental response in the Coorong

Response of the Coorong ecosystem to the impacts of the 2022–23 flood and high flows.

News Title:

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Project Aims to Understand the Environmental Response of the Coorong to the 2022-2023 River Murray Flood Event, Another New Member of Staff Joins the Goyder Institute, Goyder Institute welcomes another new staff member to the team, New Goyder Institute CLLMM Research Centre Participates in Collaborative Effort to Assist with Environmental DNA Sampling for Threatened Species, Delivering a Better Understanding of Water and Ecological interactions in the Braemar, Stuart Shelf and Northern Eyre Peninsula regions for Sustainable Development, Goyder Institute announces new Director, Goyder Institute welcomes three new staff to the team, Are you the Goyder Institute’s new Communications and Engagement Coordinator?, One Basin CRC holds its first annual event, Messages from the Working together for better drinking water in the bush forum warmly received by Federal Minister Plibersek, Research to continue on environmental impact of recent floods, Help us drive sustainable, innovative and 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Project Partners:

The University of Adelaide, SARDI, and Flinders University

Research Theme:

N/A

Status:

Project Overview

Australia’s Murray-Darling Basin is one of the most heavily regulated river systems in the world, however we still do not know the full impact of altered river flows on the receiving estuarine and lagoon environment during times of flood. Flow volumes, land use and water extraction in the Murray-Darling Basin effect the quantity and quality of water reaching the Murray Mouth and Coorong lagoons, with potentially cascading impacts of eutrophication and salination on the estuarine and lagoon ecosystem.

The 2022-23 River Murray flood event was the second largest high flow event in recorded history, and the largest since 1956. Understanding how high flows affect the environmental conditions of the Coorong lagoons, and the response of species to these changing conditions is critical to inform future water management and delivery to the region in the future. Research activities for this project will focus on:

1.    Impacts on the Coorong ecosystem – Response of Coorong nutrient store and dynamics

2.    Impacts on the Coorong ecosystem – Response of Coorong food web

3.    On-ground ecological restoration actions – Macroinvertebrate translocations

Progress Update and Key Findings

Data collection, monitoring and field trips continue to collect data.

Project Impacts

Outcomes from the project will provide valuable insights into the health and functioning of the Coorong ecosystem, enabling effective management and conservation strategies. This includes but is not limited to:

  • How have nutrient and related conditions in the sediment changed due to increased flushing and bioturbation during and following the flood?
  • How did the floods effect macroinvertebrate distribution, diversity, abundance and biomass in the Murray Estuary and Coorong lagoons?
  • How did the flood impact on the Coorong food web and key biota including aquatic plants, macroinvertebrates and fish?

Research Outputs

No Available Content

Project News

The Coorong is a unique wetland, which is culturally and environmentally significant at local, national and international scales. The reduction of fresh water inflow into the Coorong, exacerbated during the Millennium Drought (1996-2010), has led to
A new study from Goyder Institute scientists has found that extremely high levels of salt and nutrients in the Coorong, an internationally important South Australian estuary at the end of the River Murray, is causing serious