Geomorphic Assessment of Temperate Upland Swamps

By Jane Anderson

On 4th October 2014 Garguree Swampcarers were thrilled to hear a presentation by Kirsten Cowley. Kirsten is undertaking a Geomorphic Assessment of Temperate Upland Swamps for her PhD Candidature at the Department of Environment & Geography, Macquarie University.

The Gully sediment profile being explained by Kirsten

The Gully sediment profile being explained by Kirsten

The talk was incredibly informative and well-presented and we all came away very enthusiastic and keen to know more! Luckily for Swamp/Bush Carers Kirsten is very open to involvement with monitoring and feedback and will be doing another talk for any people interested to learn more about this wonderful project in 2015.

Kirsten’s PhD involves assessing the physical attributes of upland swamps, such as water quality, carbon sequestration potential and sedimentology and how these attributes change along a geomorphic degradation spectrum.

The Gully is one of the 12 (out of 500) swamps that Kirsten is investigating. These investigations will include sediment description and properties, analysis of carbon storage, water quality assessments, carbon budgets, hydrological function, groundwater residence times and connectivity with deeper aquifers.

Some of the ways that these things will be assessed will be through:

  • Water table levels to be logged
  • Stream gauging in receiving streams directly downstream of the swamps
  • Vertical hydraulic conductivity measurements using a permeameter in ~10 locations within each swamp
  • Lateral hydraulic conductivity — pump/slug tests within installed piezometers.

Kirsten is a fantastic source of knowledge and her work in the mountains will be very valuable both now and in the future, so don’t miss her talk in the coming year; watch out for the date and time in the next Gecko and on this website!