Science evaluation of coastal wetland systems repair projects across GBR catchments (NESP TWQ 3.3.2, JCU and Griffith University)

This data set contains high frequency logging data to measure water depth, water temperature and electrical conductivity in project wetland sites. In addition fish catch data in wetlands recorded during this project, using electro-fish boat. Coastal wetlands adjacent to the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) have incredible environmental, cultural and economic value. Despite this, many floodplains in the GBR catchments have been modified, impacted or lost entirely because of continuing land use change (such as agricultural, aquaculture, peri-urban/urban, and industrial expansion). Of the floodplains and their wetlands remaining many now provide severely reduced aquatic and avian habitat, due to alien weed infestation and poor water quality. A large number of coastal wetlands have also lost their connectivity with estuaries that flow into the GBR lagoon (e.g. due to earth bunding), which can impact marine and freshwater aquatic (diadromous) species that have a critical estuary lifecycle phase, and rely on this connectivity between the reef and shallow tidal and freshwater wetlands. The overall project objective is to evaluate existing and future coastal wetland system repair investments, covering a combination of project sites across Great Barrier Reef catchment area, to explicitly evaluate how these projects achieve biodiversity improvements, water quality benefits and connectivity with downstream marine coastal habitats (for aquatic species with diadromous ecology). Methods: High frequency water depth logging Water depth, temperature and electrical conductivity were monitored by loggers (CTD-Diver, Eijkelkamp Soil & Water, Netherlands) located in the wetland. The loggers captured data from the bottom of the water column (~ 10 cm above the soil surface) every 20 minutes, and were downloaded as part of routine maintenance visits. Each logger was installed inside a PVC pipe (3m height, 90mm diameter) that was attached to a steel star picket. Loggers were attached to a stainless steel wire cord that was attached to the top of the PVC pipe for easy retrieval (downloading the data and maintenance). The loggers were downloaded every few months. Fish surveys (electrofishing) – Burdekin floodplain Sampling was completed using a Smith-Root 2.5 GPP generator boat-mounted electrofishing unit, involving use of a single pass electro-fishing techniques following a standardised protocol (5-7 five minute shots, depending on size of water body), with effort standardised to number of individuals caught per minute of fishing time. All fish were measured (standard length in mm) and identified according to (Allen et al. 2002). Sampling was non-destructive with all fish returned to the water, apart from non-native species which were retained and euthanised in accordance with Australian Law. Fish surveys (fyke net) – Roundhill Reserve Fyke nets (wing width: 5 m, mesh size: 1 mm) were set in approximately 30cm water at all sites. Nets were set in the afternoon and retrieved the following morning. Fish were identified and measured (SL: standard length) before being returned to the water except declared fish species that were euthanized and disposed of under Queensland legislation. For more details see: Wallace, J., Adame, M.F., Waltham N.J. A constructed wetland near Babinda, north Queensland: a case study of potential water quality benefits in an agricultural tropical catchment (2020) Report to the National Environmental Science Program. Reef and Rainforest Research Centre Limited, Cairns (76pp.). Wallace, J., Adame, M. F., Karim, F., Abbott, B., Waltham, N. J. (2020) Saltwater intrusion by removing bund walls to control invasive aquatic weeds on coastal floodplains. Report to the National Environmental Science Program. Reef and Rainforest Research Centre Limited, Cairns (109pp.). Waltham, N.J., Buelow, C.A., and Iles, J.A. (2020) Evaluating wetland restoration success: feral pig exclusion fencing in the Round Hill reserve. Report to the National Environmental Science Program. Reef and Rainforest Research Centre Limited, Cairns (98 pp.). Format: All data are in Excel format. References: Abott B, Wallace J, Nicholas M, Waltham N (2020) Water quality improvements following bund wall removal. PloSONE 15 (1). Waltham NJ, Wearne L, Buelow C, Pyott M (In Revision) Tracking degraded tropical coastal floodplain restoration efforts for fish production. Waltham NJ, Coleman L, Fry S, Buelow C, Burrows D (In revision) 18 years of restoration efforts to retain fish nursery values along agriculture drainage floodplain. Ocean & Coastal Management Data Location: This dataset is filed in the eAtlas enduring data repository at: data\custodian\2017-2019-NESP-TWQ-3\3.3.2_Wetlands-repair-evaluation

Principal Investigator
Waltham, Nathan, Dr TropWATER (Centre for Tropical Water and Aquatic Ecosystem Research), James Cook University
Point Of Contact
Waltham, Nathan, Dr TropWATER (Centre for Tropical Water and Aquatic Ecosystem Research), James Cook University nathan.waltham@jcu.edu.au

Data collected from 30 Oct 2016 until 10 Mar 2020


Data Usage Constraints
  • Attribution 3.0 Australia