Research to inform the assessment of ecohydrological responses to groundwater
The Commonwealth Department of the
Environment and Energy (Office of Water Science) commissioned a a multidisciplinary consortium led by Griffith University
and including Subterranean Ecology Pty Ltd, the University of New South Wales,
Edith Cowan University and Yorb Pty Ltd, to conduct a two year study on the ecological
importance of groundwater. We used a suite of methods to investigate
how groundwater supports stream ecosystem processes and fauna, including hyporheos
and stygofauna, vegetation and Great Artesian Basin spring wetlands. The full research
report completed in December 2016 outlines the key implications for
environmental impact assessment and monitoring, particularly for coal seam gas extraction and coal mining. The report is available on the
Office of Water Science website. Click here to access the research report.
involved an integrated programme of research that addressed key elements within
each of four major components: (1) Ecohydrology of groundwater dependent
terrestrial vegetation; (2) Ecological values of base-flow and surface
water-groundwater connectivity regimes in non-perennial streams; (3)
Hydrogeochemistry, biogeochemical processes and the hyporheos / stygofauna; (4)
Composition and resilience of Great Artesian Basin spring communities.
Click here to access the research project flyer.
3 was undertaken by Subterranean Ecology and the University of New South
Wales Connected Waters Research Initiative Centre. This component aimed to
understand how changes in hyporheic exchange and biogeochemical conditions
affect the ecological conditions for hyporheos and stygofauna, and the processing of organic matter and nutrients. Components 2 and 3 looked at how changes in hydrology, especially
groundwater drawdown, affect organic carbon cycling, nutrient cycling, redox biogeochemical
and microbial processes.
The research components were scoped at a workshop in July 2014 and published in a report titled Modelling water-related ecological responses to coal seam gas extraction and coal mining. Click here to access the 2014 workshop report.