On the potential for improving water quality entering the Great Barrier Reef lagoon using constructed wetlands

Wallace, Jim, and Waltham, Nathan J. (2021) On the potential for improving water quality entering the Great Barrier Reef lagoon using constructed wetlands. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 170. 112627.

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Abstract

The Reef 2050 Plan has identified a range of measures aimed at reducing end-of-catchment loads of sediment and nutrient and recognizes the role that freshwater wetlands may have in achieving this. However, quantitative information on the potential for tropical wetlands to filter agricultural runoff is scarce, so this paper describes a study that combines field data from a 10 ha wetland constructed on land previously used for sugar cane near Babinda, north Queensland with a water balance and denitrification model. During the 12-month monitoring period (from October 2017 to September 2018) we estimate that the nitrogen filtering capacity of the wetland was 52% (26% lost as gaseous denitrification from the water and soil, and 26% as sedimentation of particulate nitrogen, PN). The remaining nitrogen (48%) left in the drainage water and this emphasises the importance of the wetland hydrology in determining denitrification and filtering. The current estimates are highly variable, so we have also identified the key parameters that need to be measured in order to improve long-term wetland filtering capacity estimation. Babinda is in the Mulgrave-Russell catchment, where the Reef 2050 Water Quality Improvement Plan has set target reductions in DIN of 300 t and PN of 53 t by 2025. 10% of the DIN reduction target could be achieved from ~593 ha of wetland with the same mean denitrification properties as currently estimated for the Babinda wetland (i.e. 51 kg N ha−1 year−1). This amounts to 2.3% of the total sugarcane area in this catchment that, as wetland, would also remove 56% of the 2025 PN reduction target.

Item ID: 70157
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1879-3363
Keywords: Constructed wetland, Denitrification, Reef water quality targets, Water balance
Copyright Information: © 2021 Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Date Deposited: 28 Mar 2022 22:12
FoR Codes: 41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4101 Climate change impacts and adaptation > 410101 Carbon sequestration science @ 20%
41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4104 Environmental management > 410402 Environmental assessment and monitoring @ 40%
41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4104 Environmental management > 410405 Environmental rehabilitation and restoration @ 40%
SEO Codes: 18 ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT > 1803 Fresh, ground and surface water systems and management > 180301 Assessment and management of freshwater ecosystems @ 20%
18 ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT > 1803 Fresh, ground and surface water systems and management > 180306 Measurement and assessment of freshwater quality (incl. physical and chemical conditions of water) @ 40%
18 ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT > 1803 Fresh, ground and surface water systems and management > 180307 Rehabilitation or conservation of fresh, ground and surface water environments @ 40%
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