Design criteria for tailwater input wetland systems

Amber Webster will be developing design criteria for tailwater input wetland systems in the Burdekin River Irrigation Area (BRIA) as part of her final year of undergraduate studies at James Cook University.

Currently there are a number of wetland systems which a significant water input is tailwater from irrigated farms in the BRIA. There is currently little formal documentation of the practises in use or design criteria to assist in tailoring the wetland. Amber is aiming to develop such criteria to achieve multiple objectives including improve water quality and ensure suitable habitat for fauna.

Recent Activities

This project will be undertaken in January and February 2009.

Aims

1. To develop design criteria for tailwater wetland systems for improvement for targeted water quality parameters and habitat value optimization;
2. To summarize existing knowledge related to design criteria of constructed wetlands in agricultural landscapes;
3. To share design criteria and other outputs with the irrigation community in a format that is useful.

Background

In the early 1950s the Burdekin River Irrigation Area (BRIA) was established on the levee soils of the lower Burdekin floodplain. In the early 1980’s, the construction of the BurdekinFalls dam and pipeline enabled irrigation of new and existing farming areas on the Burdekin Floodplain. The irrigation scheme has resulted in substantial changes to the hydrology of floodplain creeks and wetlands. In the seasonally dry tropics such as the Burdekin floodplain, freshwater ecosystems are heavily impacted by the year-round water inputs that include irrigation run-off (tailwater). These impacts include proliferation of aquatic weeds, change in native vegetation community and reduced water quality, particularly with respect to dissolved oxygen levels and reduced habitat value for a variety of species. In addition, off-farm transport of nutrient and pesticides to downstream freshwater ecosystems and eventually to the Great Barrier Reef inshore lagoon is linked to current intensive agricultural practises.

 

The design criteria will build upon and make use of:
Ÿ         Guidelines for recycle pit design in the Lower Burdekin (BDTNRM)
Ÿ         The Wetland Management Handbook: FMS guidelines for managing wetlands in intensive agriculture[1]
Ÿ         Pesticide removal from cotton farm tailwater by a pilot-scale ponded wetland (Usyd)[2].


[1]Layden, I. (2008) The Wetland Management Handbook: FMS guidelines for managing wetlands in intensive agriculture (in press). Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries. Brisbane, Qld.
[2]Rose, M.T., Sanchez-Bayo, F., Crossan, A.N. & Kennedy, I.R.(2006), “Pesticide removal from cotton farm tailwater by a pilot-scale ponded wetland”,Chemosphere, vol 63, 11, pp 1849 - 1858.

 


Metadata

Program

National Program for Sustainable Irrigation

Project Code:

JCU5163

Related Topics

id: 2783 / created: 19 January, 2009 / last updated: 08 March, 2010