Modelling blackwater: predicting water quality during flooding of lowland river forests

Howitt, Julia, Baldwin, Darren S., Rees, Gavin S. and Williams, Janice L. 2007, Modelling blackwater: predicting water quality during flooding of lowland river forests, Ecological Modelling, vol. 203, no. 3-4, pp. 229-242, doi: 10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2006.11.017.

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Title Modelling blackwater: predicting water quality during flooding of lowland river forests
Author(s) Howitt, Julia
Baldwin, Darren S.
Rees, Gavin S.
Williams, Janice L.
Journal name Ecological Modelling
Volume number 203
Issue number 3-4
Start page 229
End page 242
Publisher Elsevier BV
Place of publication Amsterdam, Netherlands
Publication date 2007-05-10
ISSN 0304-3800
Keyword(s) water quality
dissolved oxygen
eucalyptus camaldulensis
Barmah-Millewa forest
dissolved organic carbon
River Murray
Summary The blackwater model was developed to predict adverse water quality associated with flooding of the Barmah-Millewa Forests on the River Murray. Specifically, the model examines the likelihood and severity of blackwater events—high dissolved organic carbon associated with low dissolved oxygen. The Barmah-Millewa Forests are dominated by an overstorey of River Red Gum (Eucalyptus camaldulensis) and the litter from these trees contributes a substantial proportion of the pulse of dissolved organic matter released from the floodplain during flooding. This model examines rates of litter accumulation and decay on the floodplain (prior to and during flooding), rates of carbon leaching, microbial degradation, oxygen consumption, reaeration processes and the effects of flow on the concentrations of dissolved organic carbon and dissolved oxygen in the water column (both on the floodplain and in the river channel downstream). The model has been calibrated with data from two blackwater events that have taken place in these forests within the last 5 years. Scenario testing with the model highlights the particularly important roles of flow and temperature in the development of anoxia. Pooled floods and those in the warmest months of the year are substantially more likely to result in blackwater events than floods in cooler times of the year and involving more water exchange between the river channel and the floodplain.
Notes Available online 19 December 2006.
Language eng
DOI 10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2006.11.017
Field of Research 039901 Environmental Chemistry (incl Atmospheric Chemistry)
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2006, Elsevier B.V.
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