Eight key sites for dryland salinity research
Eight high priority dryland salinity sites across NSW are being studied in a long-term project which recently drew another $3.3 million in State government funding.
Previous research has made clear different solutions are needed in different areas and that even an apparently simple option such as planting trees is only beneficial in the right location.
The eight key sites are:
The Baldry site is in the Upper Macquarie Valley, west of Yeoval and is a 260 hectare sub-catchment of the Little River. Research at this site is focused on understanding the landscape and catchment response to a 60ha native hardwood tree plantation. In September 2001 NSW State Forests established 60ha of Eucalyptus camaldulensis and Corymbia maculata on the western side of the creek line. The eastern side of the creek has continued to be cropped.
The Boorowa site is in the Upper Lachlan valley, east of the town of Boorowa and covers 120ha of the catchment. Data has been collected at this site for 13 years, including covering a change in the land use eight years ago. Research at this site shows the impact of land management, in particular tree planting and pasture management, on salt and water flows from the catchment.
This site is 25 km south of Tamworth and covers 620ha of the Peel River catchment. The site was established in mid 2003. The principal task here is to relate paddock water balance to sub-catchment water balance.
Sloanes Creek is in the Upper Macquarie Valley, south of Wellington. The site is a head water catchment that covers 573ha. Here research mainly involves measurement of the water balance on a catchment scale, and salt-water export. Detailed data has been captured, allowing for long term monitoring of the site.
Paringa is north of Quirindi in northern NSW. The main aim of this site is to measure the water balance under hardwood plantation, remnant vegetation and pasture. This will enable better understanding of management options within northern NSW.
The Gumble or Brays Flat site covers 600ha in the Lachlan River catchment, 30 kilometres west of Molong in the Central West. The main aim of the site is to understand the effect of various land management activities, including planted trees, perennial pastures and annual winter cropping on ground water, stream flow and salt export from the catchment.
Two areas are being researched - a 500ha catchment of predominantly native pasture used for grazing and a rehabilitated open cut mine site. The study is measuring the effects of mine rehabilitation on surface and groundwater quantity and quality.
The Livingstone Creek site covers 20 square km southeast of Wagga Wagga. The creek is a sub catchment of Kyeamba Creek, which in turn is a sub catchment of the Murrumbidgee River.
Contact David Mitchell, Orange, 6391 3852 or email@example.com.
This story appears in Agriculture Today.