Geoscientists look at mud for environmental answers

20 February 2003


A team of scientists from Geoscience Australia will today converge on the Great Lakes district in NSW to investigate the health of coastal lakes in the area primarily by looking at the sediments in the lakes.

The scientists will be carrying out surveys in Smiths Lake and Wallis Lake to determine their environmental status and how susceptible they may be to algal blooms and changing water quality.

This is especially important in times of drought, as these conditions can make coastal lakes more susceptible to poor water quality.

"In drought conditions like we are experiencing now, reduced water flow can lead to low oxygen levels and high levels of nutrient in the lakes", says Emma Murray, part of the scientific team from Geoscience Australia.

"Basically we will measure how efficiently biological activity in the sand and mud at the bottom of the lake is processing organic material and how well nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorous are recycled", she continues.

"Ideally this processing should be efficient as it results in better water quality".

The coastal lakes are an important part of the regional community, providing recreation and also income through tourism, commercial fishing and oyster farming. The current investigation by Geoscience Australia will contribute to the continued health of coastal waterways in the Great Lakes district.

The team will be in the area until March 3. There will be photographic and interview opportunities with the team during the survey.

Topic contact: media@ga.gov.au Last updated: October 4, 2013