Marine and Freshwater Research Marine and Freshwater Research Society
Advances in the aquatic sciences
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Determining groundwater dependence of the Cooloola Patterned Fens in south-eastern Queensland, and threats posed by groundwater extraction

Andrew McDougall A B , Sharon Marshall A and Tom Espinoza A
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Department of Natural Resources and Mines, 16–32 Enterprise Street, Bundaberg, Qld 4670, Australia.

B Corresponding author. Email: andrew.mcdougall@dnrm.qld.gov.au

Marine and Freshwater Research - https://doi.org/10.1071/MF16424
Submitted: 23 December 2016  Accepted: 24 April 2017   Published online: 27 July 2017

Abstract

Water extraction from the local aquifer and streams for water supply in the Cooloola area of south-eastern Queensland threatens the groundwater flow for an iconic groundwater-dependent ecosystem, the Cooloola Patterned Fens. Water-chemistry samples were collected from within the fens wetland, bores and local streams. The multivariate techniques of hierarchical cluster analysis (HCA), principal component analysis (PCA) and multidimensional scaling (MDS) were used to discriminate aquifer source of water. Water chemistry of the patterned fens complex was associated with perched aquifers atop an underlying peat aquitard, whereas the water chemistry of two nearby creek systems (Searys Creek and Teewah Creek) was more closely associated with the regional aquifer. The present study highlighted the need for better understanding of the hydrogeology of coastal aquifers and the ecosystems dependent on them.

Additional keywords: aquifer, groundwater-dependent ecosystem, groundwater–surface water interaction.


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