Pumping the wet into wet-land
Pumping of environmental water into Carpark Lagoons at Katarapko commenced earlier this week as part of the Natural Resources South Australian Murray-Darling Basin (Natural Resources SAMDB) wetland and floodplain program with water and funding support from the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder.
The Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder (CEWH) has made environmental water available and is providing significant support to the pumping project. Approximately 300 megalitres of water provided by the CEWH will be pumped into three dry wetland basins over the next three months.
The pumping is anticipated to support extensive stands of mature River Red Gums, provide opportunities for frog breeding, and provide habitat for waterbirds.
Natural Resources SAMDB Wetland Ecologist, Ms Lara Suitor, said that due to the reduced frequency of flooding, many temporary wetlands are less frequently inundated resulting in a decline in health condition.
“Pumping water into wetlands can provide an important source of water between flood events to support vegetation and threatened species.”
“Although an improvement in the environmental condition of the wetlands was observed following the 2010/11 event, it is important to undertake intervention actions that continue to improve the ecological condition of the wetland,” Ms Suitor said.
“At Carpark Lagoons, Lignum and River Red Gum seedlings germinated around the edge of the lagoon following the 2010/11 flood event.”
“The pumping is expected to improve the condition of existing established River Red Gums and River Cooba, and also support the on-going growth of seedlings,” Ms Suitor said.
These species require frequent inundation in order to continue growth and maintain condition, which declined during the drought. The understorey vegetation is also expected to benefit from the pumping event.
Pumping will also provide additional habitat for frog breeding to occur. Up to five frog species have been recorded at the site previously, including the Southern Bell Frog, a nationally threatened species.
Pumping of Commonwealth environmental water into Carpark Lagoons will continue until March 2014, followed by a drying phase. On-going monitoring will be undertaken by wetland ecologists from Natural Resources SAMDB.
For more information contact the Berri Natural Resources Centre on phone (08) 8580 1800.