TRaCK: Tropical Rivers and Coastal Knowledge

Science and knowledge that governments, communities, industries for sustainable use of Australia's tropical rivers and estuaries

Research Themes

Water, sediment & nutrients

People in this Theme

Jon Olley
Theme Leader
Andrew Brooks
Project Leader
Barbara Robson
Project Leader
Gary Caitcheon
Project Leader
Richard Cresswell
Project Leader
Simon Townsend
Project Leader

Water, sediment & nutrients

Catchment development typically results in altered river flows and increased nutrient and sediment loads. These types of changes can impact on the health of aquatic ecosystems and their processes.

Researchers in this theme have sought to predict the effects of land use and climate change on the sources, amounts and movement of water, carbon, sediment, and nutrients. Indicators for monitoring and assessing water quality and quantity have also been developed.

The past few years have seen increasing investment in community-based, participatory natural resource management and monitoring programs across northern Australia. These include the Working on Country Program, the Turtle and Dugong Project, and the Kimberley Waterways Education Project. TRaCK also trialled a community-based participatory monitoring program with Indigenous groups in the Daly (NT) and Fitzroy (WA) catchments.

These programs have sought to involve local people in monitoring aquatic ecosystems, and are potentially very important in the region because while vast areas, sparse populations and limited government resources make widespread monitoring programs difficult, community interest in keeping local waterways healthy is high.

With interest in monitoring tools like I-Tracker increasing, along with government interest in outsourcing some of their monitoring work, TRaCK has developed a guide to monitoring river health in the wet-dry tropics with the expertise of other researchers in the program, and state and Commonwealth government staff.

The report identifies and documents some of the challenges and reasons for the success of various approaches, and makes practical recommendations about ecological indicators suitable for monitoring into the future. The report is available here.

Publications

Conference Paper
2010 Land-use change from indigenous management to cattle grazing initiates the gullying of alluvial soils in northern Australia
2010 A Dynamic Model of Primary Production and Plant Coverage in an Oligotrophic Tropical River
2010 Flood inundation mapping of tropical river catchments in Northern Australia using optical and ALOS-PALSAR data
2008 Using remote sensing to quantify sediment budget components in a large tropical river - Mitchell River, Gulf of Carpentaria
Conference Participation
2010 The tight coupling of photosynthesis and respiration during base flow in the Australian Wet-Dry Tropics
2010 The relative importance of top-down and bottom-up control on primary production in a dryland-tropical river
2009 Evapotranspiration fluxes for three land cover classes in the tropical savannas of the Daly river region of Australia.
2009 3D Mapping and Morphometric Investigation of Gully Erosion Using Geoinformation Approach
2009 Use of spatial technologies for analyzing vegetation and channel changes in Daly River Catchment
2009 Flow, water quality and algae in the Katherine River, tropical Australia
2009 Characterising organic matter sources to the Daly River
2009 Bedload transport dynamics in the Mitchell River, northern Australia
2009 Precipitation partitioning for three land cover classes in the wet-dry tropics of Australia
2009 Alluvial gully erosion rates across the Mitchell River fluvial megafan, Queensland, Australia
2008 Using Remote Sensing for sediment budget development in large tropical rivers - Mitchell River, Gulf of Carpentaria.
2008 A review of factors controlling alluvial gully erosion and a proposal for quantifying changes in gully erosion rates in the Mitchell River, northern Queensland.
2008 Seasonal patterns of evapotranspiration from cleared and uncleared tropical savanna: implications for catchment water balance in the wet-dry tropics.
2007 Tropical floodplain hydrology and erosion processes: critical knowledge gaps and potential constraints on development in Northern Australia.
2007 Alluvial gully erosion: a landscape denudation process in northern Australia.
Corporate Publication
2008 Consultation Strategy: Water Quality Monitoring Framework for the Katherine and Daly River Catchments
Fact Sheet
2012 Alluvial gully erosion: A dominant erosion process across tropical northern Australia
2012 Alluvial gully erosion: A dominant erosion process across tropical northern Australia
2009 A water quality monitoring framework for the Katherine and Daly river catchment
2008 Water budgets
2008 Water Quality Monitoring
2008 Nutrients in rivers
2008 Sediment and nutrient loads
2008 Sediment and Waterholes
Journal Article
2013 Factors controlling primary productivity in a wet–dry tropical river
2013 Sediment production and yield from an alluvial gully in northern Queensland, Australia
2010 Differing effects of catchment land use on water chemistry explain contrasting behaviour of a diatom index in tropical northern and temperate southern Australia
2009 Alluvial gully erosion: an example from the Mitchell fluvial megafan, Queensland, Australia
2009 A model to predict the response of the benthic macroalga Spirogyra to reduced base flow in tropical Australia.
Magazine Article
2010 Daly’s potential goes under microscope
Presentation
2013 The hidden contribution of saltflats to coastal productivity, Australian Marine Science Association Conference, Gold Coast, Queensland - July 2013
2010 How flow and nutrients affect plants and algae in the Daly River, N.T., Riversymposium Conference, Perth 2010
2009 Seasonal patterns of energy balance and land use change in the Daly River catchment - OzFlux Meeting, Darwin, 24-26 June 2009
Report
2012 Alluvial gully erosion: A dominant erosion process across tropical northern Australia (report)
2012 Quantifying interception associated with large-scale plantation forestry in the Northern Territory
2012 Monitoring river health in the wet-dry tropics: strategic considerations, community participation and indicators
2012 Alluvial gully erosion: A dominant erosion process across tropical northern Australia (report)
2011 Soil hydraulic properties of land units associated with the Oolloo Dolostone - Chapter 6
2011 Nutrients and primary production in the Flinders River
2011 Trial of the Framework for the Assessment of River and Wetland Health (FARWH) in the Wet/Dry Tropics for the Daly and Fitzroy Rivers
2011 Surface Water – Groundwater Interactions in the Lower Fitzroy River, Western Australia
2010 A catchment sediment and nutrient budget for the Daly River, Northern Territory
2010 A catchment sediment and nutrient budget for the Mitchell River, Queensland
2010 A statistical analysis of flood hydrology and bankfull discharge for the Mitchell River catchment, Queensland, Australia.
2010 Towards understanding the impacts of land management on productivity in the Daly River
2009 Towards a Water Quality Monitoring and Management Framework for the Katherine and Daly River Catchment
2009 A statistical analysis of flood hydrology and bankfull discharge for the Daly River catchment, Northern Territory, Australia.
Thesis
2011 Alluvial gully erosion rates and processes across the Mitchell River fluvial megafan in northern Queensland, Australia
2011 Alluvial gully erosion rates and processes across the Mitchell River fluvial megafan in northern Queensland, Australia
Webcasts
2012 Monitoring river health media interview