Paul Frazier

Paul Frazier

Paul Frazier, Australia.

Dr Paul Frazier is project leader for the Gwydir River LTIM and Junction of the Warrego-Darling River systems LTIM projects.  He has been studying river and floodplain inundation interactions for over 20 years.  He is an adjunct senior lecturer at the University of New England.

Presentation Title:Monitoring the outcomes of environmental watering: Long-term intervention monitoring in the Gwydir River.

In 2014 the Australian Commonwealth Environmental Water Office (CEWO) funded 7 long-term intervention monitoring projects (LTIM) within the Murray-Darling Basin to begin to quantify the effects of environmental watering on key environmental indicators.  The Gwydir River was chosen as one of the 7 selected areas for detailed monitoring. It flows westerly from the Great Dividing Range until it joins with the Barwon River near Collarenebri.  Copeton Dam is a substantial headwater dam that regulates most flow in the system and helps to support a substantial irrigation industry in the catchment.  West of Moree the Gwydir Watercourse, a vast area of complex of wetlands, small channels and floodplains, contains 3 listed RAMSAR sites and several other significant wetlands.  Wetland areas in the lower Gwydir, Gingham and Mallowa Watercourses form the primary target for environmental water in the system. The LTIM project is monitoring target indicators that include aspects of: hydrology, water quality, vegetation, water birds, micro invertebrates and fish.  Field design has been developed specifically to determine the influence of environmental water on indicator response.  This paper will focus on vegetation and micro invertebrate responses in the first 2 years of the program.  Results to date show that environmental water has had significant positive impacts on native wetland meadows.  Water couch was shown to benefits strongly from extended inundation.  Micro invertebrate communities also responded strongly to inundation with over 75 billion animals being produced in a single inundation event and species composition data showed that unique communities exist in the adjacent lower Gwydir and Gingham system.

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