A Hydraulic, Environmental and Ecological Assessment of a Sub-tropical Stream in eastern Australia: Eprapah Creek, Victoria Point QLD on 4 April 2003

Chanson, Hubert (2003) A Hydraulic, Environmental and Ecological Assessment of a Sub-tropical Stream in eastern Australia: Eprapah Creek, Victoria Point QLD on 4 April 2003. CH52/03, Department of Civil Engineering, The University of Queensland.

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Author Chanson, Hubert
Title A Hydraulic, Environmental and Ecological Assessment of a Sub-tropical Stream in eastern Australia: Eprapah Creek, Victoria Point QLD on 4 April 2003
School, Department or Centre Department of Civil Engineering
Institution The University of Queensland
Open Access Status Other
Report Number CH52/03
Publication date 2003-06-01
Start page 1
End page 189
Total pages 189
Publisher Department of Civil Engineering, The University of Queensland
Subject 291100 Environmental Engineering
291803 Turbulent Flows
299900 Other Engineering and Technology
290800 Civil Engineering
770502 Land and water management
290802 Water and Sanitary Engineering
Abstract/Summary Eprapah Creek is a small sub-tropical stream in Eastern Australia. On one day, Friday 4th April 2003, a series of detailed hydrodynamic, environmental and ecological measurements was conducted in the estuarine zone by more than 60 people. The purpose of the field works was to assess the complexity of a small estuarine system, the interactions between hydraulic engineering, biology and ecology, and to provide some assessment of the estuarine system that was heavily polluted four to five years ago. Field work was conducted from a low tide to the next low tide : i.e., between 6:00 am and 6:00 pm. Observations were performed at several sites along the 4 km long estuary. They included water elevations, velocity, temperature, conductivity, pH, turbidity, DOC, fish habitat and behaviour, and bird and wildlife surveys. Some measurements were taken every 15 minutes, others every 30 minutes while wildlife and bird observations were conducted continuously. The latter included sightings of koalas, sea eagles, mud crabs ... This series of 12 hour measurements was complemented by several vertical profiles of water quality indicators at three sites. These were performed at high tide and during ebb flow. In addition, an Acoustic Doppler Velocity meter and a state-of-the-art water quality meter were deployed side by side at one site. The probes were continuously data logged for more than 4 hours, from 45 minutes before high tide to 3.5 hours after. The results provided a detailed snapshot of a subtropical creek system. They highlighted the diversity of the eco-system and also the complexity of mixing and diffusion processes in an ecosystem that has a distinctive biology and ecology, including rich wildlife variety. Basic outcomes may be summarised into three categories : (1) a multi-disciplinary survey highlighting (2) contrasting results, associated with (3) inimitable personal experiences. The field study was a single-day study involving a broad range of simultaneous investigations : hydraulics and hydrodynamics, water quality, and ecology. It is believed that this is the first survey of its kind in a sub-tropical estuarine system in Australia. The original approach sets new standards for comprehensive surveys of small estuarine systems in sub-tropical and tropical zones. A key feature of the study was the contrasted outcomes. Fauna observations showed strong, diverse bird and fish activities, while hydrodynamic parameters indicated some energetic flushing process. But the study demonstrated on-going water pollution illustrated by low dissolved oxygen and pH levels, surface slicks and large numbers of exotic fish in the estuary upper reach. Another outcome was the personal experience gained by all people involved : i.e., undergraduate students, academic staff, technical staff, professionals and local community groups. This multi-disciplinary field study fostered interactions and new exchanges between a broad range of individuals. The field experience enhanced students' personal development while group work contributed to new friendships and openings. Such personal experiences were as important as the academic experience.
Keyword subtropical estuary
field works
Additional Notes ISBN 1864997044

Document type: Department Technical Report
Collection: School of Civil Engineering Publications
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Created: Fri, 26 Aug 2005, 10:00:00 EST by Hubert Chanson on behalf of School of Engineering