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Goulburn, Australia

Rogers K.,University of Wollongong | Saintilan N.,Rivers and Wetlands Unit | Copeland C.,Conservation Action Unit
Ecological Modelling | Year: 2012

Empirical data derived from a network of surface elevation tables established on the Hunter River, Australia, in 2000 was used to model sediment accretion within estuarine wetlands using factorial analysis of variance. As surface elevation change did not differ significantly from accretion over the 10 year study period in the mangrove and saltmarsh (p=0.4104), the accretion model was regarded as a reliable estimate of elevation change. Using the current rate of sea-level rise (3.65mmy -1), a rate deemed to be relatively moderate, a landscape elevation model was developed by applying the accretion model to a LiDAR-derived digital elevation model at annual increments to 2050. Based on current rates of sea-level rise and the intertidal elevation that currently supports mangrove and saltmarsh, the landscape elevation model projected a 16% increase in the area within the elevation range suitable to support mangrove and saltmarsh. This contrasts 'bathtub modelling', which projected a 6% decline in wetland extent. Bathtub modelling fails to account for the ability of mangrove and saltmarsh to accommodate sea-level rise through processes of accretion, shrink-swell of sediments and the accumulation of organic material. Results from the landscape elevation model suggest that planning for sea-level rise should be directed towards facilitating wetland adaptation by promoting tidal exchange to mangrove and saltmarsh and providing land for wetland migration. © 2012 Elsevier B.V. Source


Rogers K.,University of Wollongong | Ralph T.J.,Macquarie University | Saintilan N.,Rivers and Wetlands Unit
Wetlands | Year: 2012

The complex task of determining the inundation requirements of large floodplain wetlands is often simplified through the use of representative, umbrella or flagship species. This subset of species is targeted based on the assumption that their collective inundation requirements serve as a surrogate for the broader suite of species found within the wetland. We tested the application of representative species commonly used in wetland and water management planning in the Murray-Darling Basin. In a review of the water requirements of 155 plants and animals, we collated information on preferred inundation timing, duration, depth, rate of rise and fall, and inter-flood period for 115 species. We then used cluster analysis to determine the extent to which ten commonly used representative species corresponded in inundation requirements to the broader suite of species. We found that the habitat surrogates of river red gum, black box, spike rush, coolibah, water couch, lignum and marsh clubrush represented only one third of species at a 60% level of similarity in inundation requirements, due mainly to the lower inundation return period and duration required by the habitat surrogates. The addition of faunal representative species facilitated the inclusion of a broader range of requirements, though primarily amongst related taxa. We recommend the inclusion of several additional indicator species to more adequately cover the inundation requirements of large wetland ecosystems. © Society of Wetland Scientists 2012. Source


Rogers K.,University of Wollongong | Saintilan N.,Rivers and Wetlands Unit | Copeland C.,Conservation Action Unit
Ecological Modelling | Year: 2013

Empirical data derived from a network of surface elevation tables established on the Hunter River, Australia, in 2000 was used to model sediment accretion within estuarine wetlands using factorial analysis of variance. As surface elevation change did not differ significantly from accretion over the 10 year study period in the mangrove and saltmarsh (p=0.4104), the accretion model was regarded as a reliable estimate of elevation change. Using the current rate of sea-level rise (3.65mmy-1), a rate deemed to be relatively moderate, a landscape elevation model was developed by applying the accretion model to a LiDAR-derived digital elevation model at annual increments to 2050. Based on current rates of sea-level rise and the intertidal elevation that currently supports mangrove and saltmarsh, the landscape elevation model projected a 16% increase in the area within the elevation range suitable to support mangrove and saltmarsh. This contrasts 'bathtub modelling', which projected a 6% decline in wetland extent. Bathtub modelling fails to account for the ability of mangrove and saltmarsh to accommodate sea-level rise through processes of accretion, shrink-swell of sediments and the accumulation of organic material. Results from the landscape elevation model suggest that planning for sea-level rise should be directed towards facilitating wetland adaptation by promoting tidal exchange to mangrove and saltmarsh and providing land for wetland migration. © 2012 Elsevier B.V. Source


Saintilan N.,Rivers and Wetlands Unit | Imgraben S.,Environment
Environmental Monitoring and Assessment | Year: 2012

The monitoring of resource condition is receiving renewed attention across several levels of government in Australia. This interest is linked to substantial investment in environmental remediation and aquatic ecosystem restoration in particular. In this context, it is timely to consider principles which ought to guide the development and implementation of monitoring programmes for wetland ecosystems. A framework is established which places monitoring in the context of the strategic adaptive management of wetlands. This framework requires there has to be clear goals for the extent and condition of the resource, with these goals being defined within thresholds of acceptable variability. Qualitative and, where possible, quantitative conceptual models linking management interventions to management goals should be the basis of indicator selection and assessment. The intensity of sampling ought to be informed by pilot surveys of statistical power in relation to the thresholds of acceptable variability identified within the management plan. © 2011 Springer Science+Business Media B.V. Source


Rogers K.,University of Wollongong | Saintilan N.,Rivers and Wetlands Unit | Copeland C.,Australian Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries
Estuaries and Coasts | Year: 2014

We analyse the potential impacts of sea-level rise on the management of saline coastal wetlands in the Hunter River estuary, NSW, Australia. We model two management options: leaving all floodgates open, facilitating retreat of mangrove and saltmarsh into low-lying coastal lands; and leaving floodgates closed. For both management options we modelled the potential extent of saline coastal wetland to 2100 under a low sea-level rise scenario (based on 5 % minima of SRES B1 emissions scenario) and a high sea-level rise scenario (based on 95 % maxima of SRES A1FI emissions scenario). In both instances we quantified the carbon burial benefits associated with those actions. Using a dynamic elevation model, which factored in the accretion and vertical elevation responses of mangrove and saltmarsh to rising sea levels, we projected the distribution of saline coastal wetlands, and estimated the volume of sediment and carbon burial across the estuary under each scenario. We found that the management of floodgates is the primary determinant of potential saline coastal wetland extent to 2100, with only 33 % of the potential wetland area remaining under the high sea-level rise scenario, with floodgates closed, and with a 127 % expansion of potential wetland extent with floodgates open and levees breached. Carbon burial was an additional benefit of accommodating landward retreat of wetlands, with an additional 280,000 tonnes of carbon buried under the high sea-level rise scenario with floodgates open (775,075 tonnes with floodgates open and 490,280 tonnes with floodgates closed). Nearly all of the Hunter Wetlands National Park, a Ramsar wetland, will be lost under the high sea-level rise scenario, while there is potential for expansion of the wetland area by 35 % under the low sea-level rise scenario, regardless of floodgate management. We recommend that National Parks, Reserves, Ramsar sites and other static conservation mechanisms employed to protect significant coastal wetlands must begin to employ dynamic buffers to accommodate sea-level rise change impacts, which will likely require land purchase or other agreements with private landholders. The costs of facilitating adaptation may be offset by carbon sequestration gains. © 2013 Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation. Source

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