Gooseneck Swamp Restoration Trial a clear success – February 2014 update

Well, as I write this brief update, I’ve been hearing about how much rain has fallen in Adelaide as a result of the tropical system moving across the continent at the moment – but unfortunately down south here we have missed out so far…

I say unfortunately because as you know we have been baked with a very hot and dry January and February this summer, and – although this is perfectly normal for this time of year – the drying effect on wetlands has been particularly dramatic. As a result, the drying trend at Gooseneck Swamp is rapidly continuing, but… in some very good news, the impact of the restoration trial can still clearly be observed.

Here are some images to show you the trends over recent months, and how the site currently looks.

72 cm – Gooseneck Swamp water level on the 14th December 2013
50cm – Gooseneck Swamp water level on the 18th of January 2014
32 cm and falling fast – driven by evaporation. The water level on the 11th February 2014.

The photos looking over the wetland throughout the season now tell a dramatic story of change. Please click on the images to enlarge them.

Gooseneck Swamp on the 12th September 2013
Gooseneck Swamp on the 15th November 2013
Gooseneck Swamp on the 14th December 2013
Drying fast but still lush! Gooseneck Swamp on the 11th of February 2014.

Most importantly however, the trial sandbag weir structure is still holding water back, with the downstream section of the drain now dry – clearly showing the positive impact of the trial on retaining water in Gooseneck Swamp. In fact, it is clear that without the trial structure in place, Gooseneck Swamp would have completely dried out some time ago. Given our previous observations and the number of waterbirds seen in the shrinking sections of the swamp still holding water at the moment, I think it is safe to say that Year 1 of the trial has been a huge success, by extending the depth and duration of inundation well into the summer months.

So, for those of you that helped us fill sandbags and build the trial structure to restore this wetland back in August last year – well done on a great result!

The trial weir structure on the 11th February 2014
Mark Bachmann