R. T. Kingsford, K. Brandis, B. Young and S. Fryar
NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service
Progress Report, Year 2 (December 2002)
Report for Environment Australia, July 2003
- Environmental Flows on the Paroo and Warrego Rivers: Progress Report Year 2 (PDF - 2477 KB)
- Environmental Flows on the Paroo and Warrego Rivers: Progress Report Year 2: Appendix (PDF - 1578 KB)
About this report
This project investigated the relationship between river flows, wetland flooding and waterbird distribution on the Paroo and Warrego River catchments of the Murray-Darling Basin. Both catchments lie in arid Australia where annual rainfall is less 500 mm and river regulation and diversions are minimal. Large rainfall events in the catchment were the primary factors driving wetland flooding in the two catchments although local rainfall could also cause significant flooding. These models were confined primarily to high flow events. Monthly models linking rainfall to river flows and wetland flooding were reasonably good in the upper catchment but high geomorphic complexity and limited flow data constrained effectiveness of the hydrological models. Further descriptive statistics and development of these models and predictions of frequency of flooding will continue. Wetland flooding varied with the size of the flood and duration of flooding varied considerably among different types of wetland. Large floodplain areas flooded for up to six months while salt lakes could retain water for more than a year and some freshwater lakes were perennially flooded. The distribution of waterbird populations on the major lakes in the region were highly variable in time and space. Numbers varied from thousands to hundreds of thousands and were easily linked to flooding in the region. Flooding and drying patterns of individual lakes, whether they were freshwater or saline were significant variables in explaining some of the variation in waterbird abundance and distribution.