Predicting flow and vegetation status in floodplain wetlands during drought

S. G. Sandi, J. F. Rodriguez, P. M. Saco, G. Kuczera, K. R. McDonough, L. Wen, N. Saintilan, G. Riccardi

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceeding contributionpeer-review


    Floodplain vegetation of semiarid and arid areas of Australia is dependent on the water availability. In some lower floodplains, the complex interaction between flow and the low gradient topography form unique wetland sites that serve as invaluable refugia for a diverse range of fauna. The biodiversity of these sites is then dependent on the deliveries of environmental water, which competes with other water uses such as crop irrigation and human consumption. In the Murray Darling Basin (MDB), water-sharing plans are developed by regulatory authorities to outline the delivery of environmental flow to different ecological assets. Although environmental water deliveries are targeted to produce the best outcomes for vegetation and other habitat services, definition of water releases and monitoring of these outcomes can be aided by the use of predicting tools that would allow assessing vegetation status. We have developed a detailed hydrodynamic model integrated with vegetation response functions to provide estimates of the expected state of the vegetation. Here we analyze the current state of vegetation in the Macquarie Marshes, a wetland site located on the Macquarie River floodplain, in NSW. Inflows into the site are controlled by water releases from a dam upstream. Recently, drought has affected the region and limited the availability of environmental water as defined in the water-sharing plan. We use our model to evaluate the wetland habitat services by simulating the overall condition of the vegetation and by identifying critical areas within the site.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationRiver Flow 2020
    Subtitle of host publicationproceedings of the 10th Conference on Fluvial Hydraulics, Delft, Netherlands, 7-10 July 2020
    EditorsWim Uijttewaal, Mário J. Franca, Daniel Valero, Victor Chavarrias, Clàudia Ylla Arbós, Ralph Schielen, Alessandra Crosato
    Place of PublicationLondon
    PublisherCRC Press/Balkema
    Number of pages6
    ISBN (Electronic)9781003110958, 9781000294361
    ISBN (Print)9780367627737
    Publication statusPublished - 2020
    EventConference on Fluvial Hydraulics (10th : 2020) - Delft, Netherlands
    Duration: 7 Jul 202010 Jul 2020


    ConferenceConference on Fluvial Hydraulics (10th : 2020)


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