Monitoring and photopoints
Callie Nickolai (see photo at right) helped to develop a wetland monitoring program for the Yatco wetland in 2007. She has prepared a report summarising the trends in seven parameters during the period from July 2007 to June 2011 - download it here.
For maps showing monitoring sites click here.
Monitoring points have been established in the north and south lagoons and in the River Murray to record changes due to the new management regime in the wetlands.
The main events that have occurred in the recent history of the Yatco Lagoon include the construction of the embankment between November 2007 and January 2008, and the installation of the causeway and sluice gates between the north and south lagoons.
The most significant hydrological events during the past 4 years include:
- Complete drying of the lagoons in 2008
- Refilling the lagoons in March 2009
- Complete flooding of the lagoons and floodplain from November 2010 to May 2011 due to high river flows that peaked at 93,800 ML/day in mid February 2011.
Monitoring is undertaken whenever possible at quarterly intervals although the recent high river interrupted the monitoring program because it prevented access to most monitoring points. Monitoring is carried out as a community event and is usually followed by a glass of wine, a barbecue or both! Community members from other neighbouring wetlands (that is, Beldora Wetlands) have participated.
The parameters measured include:
· Surface water salinity 7 sites
· Groundwater depth and salinity 8 bores
· Tree Health 3 transects with 10 trees in each
Fish 6 lagoon sites and
3 sites in a natural
· Birds 6 sites
· Frogs 6 sites
· Photopoints 7 sites recorded quarterly.
In this period the monitoring has demonstrated strong connectivity between surface water levels and groundwater levels, such that as the lagoon dries the water table falls, and vice versa.
The high river from October 2010 to May 2011 freshened the north and south lagoons and the salinity levels can be expected to increase as river levels return to entitlement flow. Hence there is a strong desire from community members to build on the benefits of the recent high river and maintain good flow connectivity between the river and the lagoons to keep the lagoons as fresh as possible (see Interviews with P George, K and V Johnson and L Stasinowsky).
There is high diversity and abundance of native fish compared to exotic fish species. Freshwater Catfish have been recorded in the surveys.
Prior to drying the lagoons in 2008 there were 23 bird species recorded and 33 species were recorded after refilling the lagoons in March 2009.
Four species of frogs have been recorded in the surveys and most notably the endangered southern bell frog has been recorded in all surveys since March 2009. Interestingly, the best time to survey for the southern bell frog is in November and December due to their calling during warmer weather.
Several frog monitoring kits have been prepared to assist community members to undertake the frog surveys. Kits include a tape recorder, microphone, humidity and temperature gauges and data sheets.
Monitoring coordinator: Callie Nickolai - Project Officer - Wetland Management (Upper Murray) – SA MDBNRM Board
Installation of photopoint monitoring site