Identifying and Monitoring Change in Wetland Inundation and Vegetation Patterns, Alligator Rivers Region, Northern Territory: Final report
for Land and Water Resources, Research and Development Corporation and Environment Australia
About the report
The wetland areas of the Alligator Rivers Region (ARR) in the Northern Territory are of national and international significance. They form part of Kakadu National Park, a listed world heritage area which is recognised as the most important natural, cultural, recreational and tourist resource in the area. In addition, these wetlands are recognised under the Ramsar Convention for Internationally Important Wetlands, which defines wetlands as areas of marsh, fen, peatland or water, whether natural or artificial, permanent or temporary, with water that is static or flowing, fresh, brackish or salt, excluding areas of marine water, the depth of which at low tide does not exceed six meters.
Most of the rivers in the northern Australian region drain from broad uplands and low plateaus towards the coast. Stream flow is seasonal but can be prolonged well into the dry season in many river systems, particularly in the near tidal reaches, by the reverse flow of water from lakes and waterholes with water stored from the wet season. Collectively systems which retain and then release water or which are permanently flooded after the wet season are referred to as freshwater wetlands as opposed to the salt water and tidal wetlands of the coastal littoral zone. The work in this project covers both freshwater and saline wetlands.
Current status of project
This project commenced in late 1997. Progress reports were submitted on 30 September 1997 and 26 October 1998. This work depended on the acquisition of Radarsat data and its timely delivery from Canada through the ADRO Program. The satellite data required for monitoring seasonal changes in water level were not received until late 1998 and consequently the processing and analysis of annual seasonal change has been delayed. Considerable work has been completed on each objective. Details of further analysis are provided in the following sections.