Assessing the hydrological changes to flood plain wetland inundation caused by river regulation

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    Abstract

    Flood plain wetlands are crucial to the ecological functioning of Australian lowland rivers. River regulation has resulted in major changes to riverine flow regime and consequently the inundation regimes of flood plain wetlands. This paper presents a procedure for assessing the hydrological changes to flood plain wetland inundation as a result of river regulation. Three simple hydrological measures have been developed which assess the change to the number of times flood plain wetlands are inundated as well as the length and timing of inundation. Testing these on seven key flood plain wetland systems along the Murray–lower Darling River system indicates substantial changes to inundation patterns, particularly the number of times the flood plain wetland is inundated and seasonality of inundation. In contrast median inundation period has changed little. The procedure presented has the advantage of being a repeatable measure of change and may also be used to assess the potential impact of environmental flow options. The procedure would be greatly enhanced by the use of modelled daily flow data, more comprehensive areal inundation data and correlation of inundation regime changes with ecological consequences.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationIAHS Proceedings and Reports
    EditorsFiona J Dyer, Martin C Thoms, Jon M Olley
    Place of PublicationUnited Kingdom
    PublisherIAHS Press
    Pages245-253
    Number of pages9
    ISBN (Print)9781901502961
    Publication statusPublished - 2002
    EventThe Structure, Function and Management Implications of Fluvial Sedimentary Systems - Alice Springs, Alice Springs, Australia
    Duration: 2 Sep 20026 Sep 2002

    Conference

    ConferenceThe Structure, Function and Management Implications of Fluvial Sedimentary Systems
    Country/TerritoryAustralia
    CityAlice Springs
    Period2/09/026/09/02

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