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Water quality in two small forested catchments in the Warra LTER site, Tasmania : source of colour and nutrient enrichment

Meyer, Sven (2002) Water quality in two small forested catchments in the Warra LTER site, Tasmania : source of colour and nutrient enrichment. Coursework Master thesis, University of Tasmania.

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Abstract

Variations in water quality occur with changes in land use such as timber harvesting
and land clearing for agriculture, and through natural environmental variations
including vegetation, slope and geology. Water quality is regularly monitored by
Forestry Tasmania to ensure streams and creeks maintain a healthy aquatic ecosystem.
This research was conducted to investigate the source of natural elevated
concentrations of colour, turbidity and associated nutrients observed in the pristine
forested catchment of W arra Creek. A second catchment, Crystal Creek, was also
studied and the comparison between the two creeks was used to help understand the
natural variations.
The primary objective of this study was to conduct a review of the naturally occurring
environmental variables that affect water quality; and to evaluate the sources and
ranges of concentrations of physical and chemical constituents expected in Tasmania ~ waterways. A second objective was to investigate the reasons behind differences in
water quality between the two pristine forested catchments; and to provide Forestry
Tasmania with a range of guidelines to assess potential water degradation in the
southern forest of Tasmania.
Water was collected and analysed for twenty physical and chemical parameters
through three sampling projects, designed to encompass the range of flow and water
quality conditions experienced throughout a typical year. Samples were taken on
fortnightly visits, through a snapshot sampling regime and during two storm events.
Results from these three projects indicated that the source of colour and associated
nutrient enrichment in Warra Creek can be attributed to the headwaters of this
catchment. This area of the catchment contains organic rich soils on south facing
slight slopes with large amounts of decomposing organic matter and prolonged water
contact time with this organic matter. Increases in flow in both W arra and Crystal
Creeks caused a significant flushing of accumulated organic material from these
catchments, resulting in degraded water quality. A variety of environmental
differences were discovered between the two catchments, which may explain the
significant differences in water quality found, especially during periods of low flow.
The implications from this study for the management of water quality by Forestry
Tasmania are discussed.

Item Type: Thesis (Coursework Master)
Keywords: Hydrology, Forest, Hydrology, Forest, Nonpoint source pollution, Nonpoint source pollution, Nutrient pollution of water, Nutrient pollution of water, Water quality, Water quality, Water quality management
Copyright Holders: The Author
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2002 the Author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright
owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We
would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s).

Additional Information:

Thesis (M.Env.Mgt.)--University of Tasmania, 2002. Includes bibliographical references

Date Deposited: 03 Feb 2015 03:03
Last Modified: 14 Nov 2017 06:35
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