From: University of New South Wales
Published June 5, 2017 10:11 AM

Long-term study of Murray-Darling Basin wetlands reveals impact of dams

A landmark 30-year-long UNSW study of wetlands in eastern Australia has found that construction of dams and diversion of water from the Murray-Darling Basin have led to a more than 70 percent decline in waterbird numbers.

The finding of severe degradation in the basin due to reduced water flow has significant implications for managing the development of other rivers in Australia and around the world.

“Our study is the first long-term and large-scale assessment of the impacts of dams and diverting water from the rivers and wetlands of the Murray-Darling Basin,” says study lead author UNSW Professor Richard Kingsford.

“For more than 30 years we have carried out an annual aerial survey of waterbirds in an area covering almost a third of the continent. Our analysis of this unique dataset shows there has been a severe degradation of the rivers and wetlands in the Murray-Darling Basin during this period.

Read more at University of New South Wales

Image: The Coorong and Lower Lakes at the mouth of the Murray-Darling Basin are key sites for waterbirds, including Cape Barren geese. (Credit: UNSW)

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