The land resource surveys project provides co-ordinated information on the nature and condition of soil, vegetation and landscape. Maps, reports and databases provide this information in forms that can be interpreted for agricultural and urban land suitability
Department of Natural Resources & Mines (DNRM)
This project is undertaking acid sulfate soil risk mapping in priority areas from Bowen in the north to Miriamvale in the south.
The program is led by the Mackay-Whitsunday Natural Resource Management Group, with the goal to ensure Healthy Waterways in the Mackay-Whitsunday region. The program aims to cooperatively deal with threats and opportunities associated with the “health” of rivers and streams within the region. The programs objective is to have rivers and streams in the region that is able to sustain a high diversity of environmental, economic and social activities. The overall program is made up of: Information Collation and Analysis, Industry Management and Practice – Urban / Industrial / Agricultural, Monitoring, Research and Development.
This project provides essential natural resource information on the health of our rivers and waterways and assists in making decisions about the sustainable management and use of the State’s water resources. The freshwater biological monitoring and assessment program throughout the State’s rivers and streams is to assess river health, using macroinvertebrates as indicators. The program uses the AUSRIVAS predictive models developed as part of the National River Health Program. The outputs of these models are core indicators of the State of the Environment Reporting and are also recommended for the NAPSWQ and NHT2 Monitoring and Evaluation programs. Data and outputs of this project are regularly used for condition and trend assessment for Water Resource Plans, SoE reporting and other assessment programs. Indices have been developed to separate impacts of flows from non-flow related impacts. This has been successfully applied in the Burnett and Pioneer WRPs.
“This project will sample and assess the contemporary fertility of typical surface soils from sugar and horticultural lands in sensitive reef catchments. This information will be interpreted in the context of land use, resource condition and trend and current fertiliser and by-product use practices with the emphasis on evidence of need to improve nutrient management practices and avoidance of overuse. Outcomes: • Collation and circulation of soil test diagnostic criteria for levels separating fertiliser response from non-responsive sites
• Assessment of hillslope erosion risk
• Documentation of laboratory methodology for inclusion in to the Australian • Handbook of Soil Chemical Methods
• Survey of findings by crop, catchment and region
• Assessment of the usefulness of ‘traditional’ soil P tests and the Mehlich 3 for predicting soluble P”
Provides accurate information on vegetation cover change and greenhouse carbon accounting for policy development, resource monitoring, and for compliance with the Government’s Vegetation Management Policy
Nitrogen management is a major challenge facing water quality managers in many parts of Australia. Recent research highlights the importance of nitrogen as the nutrient limiting primary production in some coastal waters and riverine systems. In these situations, an increased delivery of nitrogen is likely to boost algal growth to the detriment of ecosystem health. Increased stream loadings of nitrogen are now recognised as a significant impact of upstream land use in catchments. There is currently a recognised lack of reliable information available to managers to support their decision-making on nitrogen management issues. This is compromising the effectiveness of the very considerable investments now being made in riverine restoration to improve water quality. Riparian buffer zones, particularly those on low order streams, offer the potential for reducing nitrogen entry to waterways, from both surface runoff and shallow groundwater flows. While much of the nitrogen entering streams is attached to sediment in runoff, a significant proportion is often transported in a dissolved form as nitrate. Fluxes of nitrate through the riparian zone are intrinsically linked to water movement (both over and through the soil) and are also strongly influenced by biological processes occurring in that zone. The process of denitrification (microbial conversion of nitrate to nitrogen gas) is particularly important because it effectively removes nitrogen from the riparian zone to the atmosphere. Riparian zone denitrification can have an important impact on downstream water quality when significant amounts of nitrate-enriched groundwater are transported at shallow depths through carbon-rich, anoxic riparian soils, at flow rates that allow enough time for the denitrification process to occur. Outcomes: 1) A simple model for describing denitrification and associated processes in riparian zones; and 2) A methodology for identifying the locations within catchments where these processes may be important. This will enhance the utility of the CRC CH’s Toolkit by adding a new capability to catchment water quality models (such as LEMSS) that describes subsurface fluxes of nitrogen in riparian zones and predicts responses to management change. The research is also very relevant to urban stormwater management and will contribute to the better understanding and prediction of bioretention and subsurface wetland systems.