Sources of sediment to the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area

McKergow, Lucy A., Prosser, Ian P., Hughes, Andrew O., and Brodie, Jon (2005) Sources of sediment to the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 51 (1). pp. 200-211.

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To reduce sediment exports discharging to the Great Barrier Reef (GBR), it is essential to identify the sources of exported sediment. We used modelling of spatial sediment budgets (the SedNet model) to identify sources and deposition of sediment as it is transported through river networks. Catchments with high levels of land clearing, cattle grazing and cropping show the largest increases in sediment export compared with natural conditions. Hillslope erosion supplies 63% of sediment to the rivers. Gully erosion and riverbank erosion are lower sources of sediment at the GBR catchment scale, but they are important in some catchments. Overall, 70% of sediment exported from rivers comes from just 20% of the total catchment area, showing that much of the problem can be addressed in a relatively small area. This is a much more manageable problem than trying to reduce erosion across the entire GBR catchment. Areas of high contribution are all relatively close to the coast because of the high erosion and high sediment delivery potential.

Item ID: 6863
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1879-3363
Keywords: Great Barrier Reef; sediment budgets; suspended sediment
Date Deposited: 03 Mar 2010 04:40
FoR Codes: 04 EARTH SCIENCES > 0403 Geology > 040310 Sedimentology @ 50%
04 EARTH SCIENCES > 0406 Physical Geography and Environmental Geoscience > 040603 Hydrogeology @ 50%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9611 Physical and Chemical Conditions of Water > 961104 Physical and Chemical Conditions of Water in Marine Environments @ 51%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960508 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Mining Environments @ 49%
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