Effect of seasonal vegetation on hydrology and erosion at Ranger uranium mine

1997

Internal Report 257
E George & G Willgoose
Supervising Scientist Division
Department of the Environment

About the report

This project is part of ongoing research at Ranger Uranium Mine to ensure that there will be no contaminants released from the mine site into the surrounding Kakadu National Park within a design life of 200 years.

A soil site and a number of ripped plots situated on the Waste Rock Dump at Ranger Uranium Mine, in the Northern Territory, are analysed in this report in order to determine the effect vegetation growth has on the erosion and hydrology characteristics of waste rock. Monitoring was carried out on the Soil Site during the 95/96 Wet season.

Storms monitored on the soil site, and 1993 rainfall simulations on the ripped plots were used to calibrate the kinematic wave model DISTFW NLFIT.

Data directly observed from the soil site indicates that the effect of vegetation on the hydrology of the soil does not vary significantly between the beginning and end of the 95/96 Wet Season.

The soil site does have high infiltration rates, but whether the high infiltration rates are due to the vegetation was not able to be determined. There is not a constant increase in infiltration over the wet season.

Erosion results indicate that vegetation growth over the wet season may decrease the erosion off the soil site.