Scientists explore future of river's end

Photo by Michael Bell, Murray-Darling Basin Commission.

Photo by Michael Bell, Murray-Darling Basin Commission.
Full Image (103.99K)

Friday, 4 April 2008

Scientists studying one of Australia's most significant water systems - the Coorong, Lower Lakes and Murray Mouth - have discovered that many of the animals previously widely distributed across the region are now restricted to a small area around the Murray Mouth.

Researchers, currently assessing the future of the estuary based on different scenarios of water availability and climate change, have recorded the changes following elevated salinities and reduced water levels in the Coorong.

The researchers - in the Coorong, Lower Lakes and Murray Mouth (CLLAMMecology) Research Cluster - are today giving a science briefing to media on the long-term future of the water system, at the Steam Exchange Brewery, Goolwa Wharf, Goolwa.

The CLLAMMecology Research Cluster, supported through CSIRO's Water for a Healthy Country National Research Flagship involves a partnership between CSIRO, the University of Adelaide, Flinders University, and SARDI Aquatic Sciences. Geoscience Australia, Fisheries Research and Development Corporation, and Land & Water Australia are additional research and funding partners.

In the first comprehensive research program for this estuary, the $5.3 million project aims to improve the ecological health of the region and protect threatened birds and fish.

Cluster Leader, Associate Professor Justin Brookes from the University of Adelaide's School of Earth & Environmental Sciences, says the research is examining the relationship between river flows, salinity, and the ecology of a range of aquatic organisms, including key fish and bird species.

"No single part of the system can be restored without a whole of system approach to water savings and a commitment to an environmental water allocation. The work we are doing will help with allocating limited water resources so they have the required environmental benefits."

For more information about the CLLAMMecology Research Cluster, visit this website.


Contact Details

Associate Professor Justin Brookes
Cluster Leader, Coorong, Lower Lakes and Murray Mouth (CLLAMMecology) Research Cluster; Joint Leader, China-Australia Environmental Science and Technology Institute
School of Earth & Environmental Sciences
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 3747
Mobile: 0418 898 782

Dr Sebastien Lamontagne
CSIRO Land and Water
Business: +61 8 8313 8713
Mobile: 0439 858 301

Helen Beringen
Water for a Healthy Country Flagship
Business: +61 8 8313 8452
Mobile: +61 418 770 140

Mr David Ellis
Deputy Director, Media and Corporate Relations
External Relations
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 5414
Mobile: +61 (0)421 612 762