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

Identification of sediment sources to Lake Wivenhoe, south-east Queensland, Australia

G. Douglas A E , M. Palmer B , G. Caitcheon C and P. Orr D
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A CSIRO Land and Water, Centre for Environment and Life Sciences, Floreat, WA 6014, Australia.

B CSIRO Mathematical and Information Sciences, Centre for Environment and Life Sciences, Floreat, WA 6014, Australia.

C CSIRO Land and Water, Black Mountain Laboratories, Canberra, ACT 2601, Australia.

D DSEQWater, Brisbane, Qld 4002, Australia.

E Corresponding author. Email:

Marine and Freshwater Research 58(9) 793-810
Submitted: 9 September 2005  Accepted: 3 August 2007   Published: 21 September 2007


Effective management of sediment fluxes in aquatic systems involves, in part, the identification of catchment sediment sources. Lake Wivenhoe (LW), the largest water storage in south-east Queensland, serves two important roles: it supplies 80% of the drinking water to the region and acts as a major flood mitigation feature for the city of Brisbane. Highly developed subcatchments in LW have resulted in declining waterway health, with sediment movement from the catchment to LW of major concern. Although there is considerable hydrological information, only limited data exist on sediment and nutrient fluxes. A detailed lake sediment (128 samples) and reconnaissance catchment soil sampling program (89 samples) was undertaken. Geochemical, Nd–Sr isotopic and statistical analyses were used to identify major sources of sediment to LW. A purpose-built Bayesian mixing model was then used to quantitatively estimate the proportion of sediment from major catchment sources. Approximately 36% of the LW catchment delivers the majority of sediment; enrichment factors for the three major sediment sources (dam to catchment ratio) range from ~2 to 5. The Esk Formation is the major sediment source comprising ~10% of catchment area but contributing 50% of the sediment and 33% of the total phosphorus delivered to LW.

Additional keywords: Bayesian mixing model, geochemistry, mineralogy, Nd–Sr isotopes.


CSIRO acknowledges the support of the South-east Queensland Water Corporation (SEQWC) for their financial and logistical support for this study. Dr Jerry Miller and Dr Brad Patterson, CSIRO Land and Water, Dr Mark O’Donohue, SEQWC, Dr Karen Johanesson and an anonymous reviewer are thanked for their manuscript reviews.


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