Linking hydraulic regime characteristics to vegetation status in the Macquarie Marshes (#27)
Ecological assessment of wetland environments requires the use of computational tools that would allow the integration of ecological features and water flow. Such is the case of eco-hydraulic models which can be used to generate valuable information and study different scenarios in wetland systems. In the case of the Macquarie Marshes, semi-arid Australia, vegetation species are highly dependent of inundation times, frequency of inundation, water depths and timing. Regulations of the past few decades have modified the hydraulic regimes of the site and which led to a detriment of the plant communities. The development of an eco-hydraulic model that integrates the dynamic of the vegetation and water regimes requires the use of transitional rules that link flow regime characteristics to plant status.
This research intends for a description of the change in the status of plant communities of the Macquarie Marshes and to link these changes with time aggregated characteristics of the flow regime. We make use of a quasi-2D hydrodynamic model in order to determine flood patterns within the site. This model has previously been implemented for the Macquarie Marshes revealing a good performance level. Quarterly vegetation maps for different years will be analyzed against the description of the hydraulic regime. Obtaining these relations will aid the current development of an eco-hydraulic model for the site by providing relations that can be used as transitional rules.