Protecting Kakadu - Environmental Monitoring at Ranger and Jabiluka

Environmental Monitoring

Environmental monitoring is carried out in within the Ranger Project Area, within the Jabiluka mineral lease and within Kakadu National Park to ensure people and the environment are protected from the potential effects of uranium mining.

Samples are collected from Magela and Gulungul Creeks, which flow past the Ranger minesite and Ngarradj (Swift Creek),which flows past the Jabiluka minesite. Jabiluka is currently in long term care and maintenance, with much of area having been rehabilitated.

The monitoring programme

Since the 2001–2002 wet season, a formal environmental monitoring programme has been in place encompassing biological, physical, chemical and radiological techniques.

Water quality

Continuous water quality monitoring of creeks is carried out during the Northern Territory’s wet season. This continuous monitoring is complemented by automated water sampling which is assessed for water chemistry and quality assurance/quality control (QA/QC) purposes.

Biological monitoring

Biological monitoring includes:

  • in-situ toxicity monitoring, which takes place every second week during the wet season
  • annual bioaccumulation in freshwater mussels
  • monitoring macroinvertebrate and fish communities for ecosystem level responses at the end of the wet season

Toxicity monitoring allows early detection and management action to prevent environmentally significant impacts. Monitoring bioaccumulation and ecosystem level responses in aquatic communities is used to assess the ecological importance of any observed change in water quality over time.

Air quality

Air quality monitoring for radon and radioactive dust takes place all year round (radiological monitoring). Radon monitoring takes place at a station west of Mudginberri community (the closest to Jabiluka), in Jabiru town and at Jabiru Field Station (closest to Ranger).

Further reading

Explanatory Notes

Explanatory notes on the Supervising Scientist’s monitoring programs are available at the links below.