Ecosystems Links

Ardea alba - Great Egret

ACID SULFATE SOILS  and COASTAL Wetland LINKS:-

The Wetlands of NE NSW and SE QLD have been increasingly rapidly destroyed, due to development , infrastructure pressures and inappropriate planning decisions . This means that the HABITATS of many of our COASTAL NATIVE AUSTRALIAN WILDLIFE have been under rapidly increasing pressures also. Acid Sulfate Soils are a key feature of many wetland areas of NE New South Wales and SE Queensland

Examples of current  developments threatening wetlands in NE NSW include:- the West Byron Project ( West Byron Bay Urban Release Area and development of planned urban expansion, west of Byron Bay) and a State Significant Site (???), Kings Forest, Kingscliff ( a Part 3A development) – Stage 1 Project Application (submissions due 25th January 2012) and the Bayside Road Brunswick Heads Residential Subdivision, which is currently being reviewed at the time of me writing this (December 7th, 2011)

  • Saltwater Wetlands Rehabilitation Manual (published by the NSW Department of Environment and Climate Change)- described as :-  aiming to ” to increase knowledge and understanding of saltwater wetlands and to be a key resource in the field of rehabilitation and management. This manual focuses on the rehabilitation of wetlands influenced by brackish or saline waters. These wetland types are home to swamp forests, saltmarshes, mangrove forests and seagrass beds”
  • Australian ONLINE Coastal Information- OzCoasts :-  COASTAL ISSUES include Acid Sulfate Soils.ASS are soils and other soft sediments that contain iron sulfides (mostly pyrite (FeS2)… with typically smaller quantities of iron monosulfides (FeS)).” When iron sulfides are exposed to oxygen in the atmosphere, “they can be oxidised. Pyrite oxidation produces a cocktail of sulfuric acid, aluminum, iron and other heavy metals that can move into coastal waterways, and this can have significant environmental and economic impacts” Some impacts include, fish kills, infrastructure damage, poor water quality, low water pH and anoxic and hypoxic events. Acid dust, occurring from disturbance of Acid Sulfate soils can lead to irration of the eyes and skin. The effects of acid sulfate Soils on human health are not clearly understood as yet.
  • CSIRO ATLAS of Australian Acid Sulfate Soils : – a valuable resource
  • “Improving Coastal Hotspots” – a manual created by Australian Government Land and Coasts :-  “What is a coastal hotspot? A coastal hotspot is an area that:  encompasses one or more matters of national environmental significanceas defined under the EnvironmentProtection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (1999) ,  is under pressure as a result of population growth and development, disturbance of acid sulfate soils, and water quality decline,  is suffering ecosystem disturbance leading to habitat loss and biodiversity decline.”
  • Search for “RUNNELLING” at WetlandCare Australia . Runnelling is a  method  used to help alleviate Mosquitos in wetland areas. Find out more about it, in particular, a study that has been underway for many years at Coomera Island, SE QLD.
  • Qld Govt Department of Environment and Resource Management – in the Land Management Section, under DEGRADATION, you will find information about Acid Sulfate Soils :- What are Acid Sulfate Soils, Where are they, Mapping, Identifying, Impacts, and Resources for understanding Acid Sulfate Soils in Queensland.
  • The NSW Office of Environment and Heritage – under SOIL DEGRADATION, you will find NSW information about Acid Sulfate Soils:- definitions, effects, locations, damaging activities, remediation, and publications
  • NSW Primary Industries – Agriculture:- here you will find “an Introduction to Acid Sulfate Soils. They have put ASS in the area of Natural resources and Climate & Soil health and fertility. There are some clear diagrams here, with photos and descriptions of what Acid Sulfate Soils can look like.
  • Acid Sulfate Soils at the Rivermouth Action Group Inc.
  • HEALTHY WETLANDS: MAPPING, CLASSIFYING ANDPRIORITISING THE WETLANDS OF THE SOUTHERN RIVERS
    A Kelly, C Price, A Gosling WetlandCare Australia, Ballina, NSW 2478 – ([PDF] HEALTHY WETLANDS – 20th NSW Coastal Conference 2011) Adam Gosling’s full paper presentation paper. This paper is well worth reading to understand Healthy Wetlands along the EAST COAST OF NE NSW and SE QLD (in the Mt Warning Caldera Region). The following is an excerpt:-

“Australia is reported to have lost between 75 to 90 percent of coastal wetlands over the past 200 years (Finlayson, 2000. Usback & James 1993). Not only have wetlands been decimated historically through land clearing for agriculture and urban development and drained or isolated from adjoining wetlands, they remain one of the most severely threatened ecosystems in eastern Australia through coastal development and land use”

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