Can sand slugs in rivers deliver conservation benefits? The biodiversity value of tributary junction plug wetlands in the Glenelg River, Australia

Lind, P. R., Robson, B. J., Mitchell, B. D. and Matthews,T. G. 2009, Can sand slugs in rivers deliver conservation benefits? The biodiversity value of tributary junction plug wetlands in the Glenelg River, Australia, Marine and freshwater research, vol. 60, no. 5, pp. 426-434.

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Title Can sand slugs in rivers deliver conservation benefits? The biodiversity value of tributary junction plug wetlands in the Glenelg River, Australia
Author(s) Lind, P. R.
Robson, B. J.
Mitchell, B. D.
Matthews,T. G.
Journal name Marine and freshwater research
Volume number 60
Issue number 5
Start page 426
End page 434
Total pages 9
Publisher CSIRO Publishing
Place of publication Collingwood, Vic.
Publication date 2009-05
ISSN 1323-1650
1448-6059
Keyword(s) anthropogenic habitat
lowland rivers
sand mining
sedimentation
sediment slugs
Summary Restoration works are carried out to alleviate human impacts and improve habitats within ecosystems. However, human impacts may also create new (anthropogenic) habitat for species to exploit.A dilemma arises when proposed restoration works would remove anthropogenic habitat and the assemblages it supports. Sediment input into the Glenelg River has formed tributary junction plug wetlands at confluences. Sand slug removal is proposed as part of river rehabilitation, but would also drain plug wetlands. We sampled four plug wetland, four river run and three river pool sites to determine whether plug wetlands influence water quality and add to the biodiversity of macroinvertebrates in the Glenelg River.Water quality and macroinvertebrate diversity were similar in plug wetlands, river runs and river pools.Assemblages were distinct among all sites, regardless of type, so there was no characteristic ‘plug-wetland fauna’. Therefore, although removal of plug wetlands would not cause a dramatic loss of invertebrate biodiversity, it would destroy anthropogenic habitat that supports a similar range of species to natural habitats in a river subject to multiple degrading processes. Gains from rehabilitation should be weighed against the value of anthropogenic habitat and the extent of similar habitat lost elsewhere in the ecosystem.
Language eng
Field of Research 060204 Freshwater Ecology
Socio Economic Objective 960506 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Fresh, Ground and Surface Water Environments
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2009, CSIRO
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30021338

Document type: Journal Article
Collection: School of Life and Environmental Sciences
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