Eutrophication (phosphorus)

Eutrophication (phosphorus)

Eutrophication of the wheatbelt’s natural waterways is a problem related to excess nutrients and sediments entering from modified agricultural landscapes. High concentrations of nutrients encourage algal growth and result in harmful blooms. By retaining nutrients and sediments through good land management and farm practices in the catchment, we can reduce the amount entering waterways and abate the eutrophication process.

How can we monitor progress?

At Wheatbelt NRM Inc. we have searched for data that can help us monitor the status of nutrients in our waterways. At a catchment scale we can report on the nitrogen and phosphorous load of major rivers in the region. At a local level we can follow the water quality of surface waters at discrete locations and track the amount of fertiliser applied in the region by primary producers.

Phosphorus leaving the Avon River

Total phosphorus loads measured at the Great Northern Highway (WIN Site ID 12983252) on the upper Swan River from June 1994 – January 2016.

Source: Western Australian Department of Water.

The red line shows the “threshold of potential concern” developed by Wheatbelt NRM in the regional NRM strategy to indicate a level of nutrients where fundamental system change may occur.

Fertiliser use in the catchment

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The graphs show the rate of fertiliser application across the region during the 2013-14 season. Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Land Managements and Farming in Australia (LaMPS) dataset). See the map of AAE regions to see how they relate to the Wheatbelt NRM region used by the ABS.

Explore nutrient and sediment loads in the region

Click here to view the full map

Click on the “Nutrient loads” layer to see modelled catchment nutrient loads (Source: WA Department of Water), actual nutrient loads measured in the Avon River at Millendon (Source: Swan River Trust) and a snapshot of Avon River pool conditions (Source: WA Department of Water).

Click on the “Sedimentation” layer to see potential sediment contribution from sub-catchments in the zone of rejuvenated drainage.

Links

WA Department of Water

https://www.water.wa.gov.au/water-topics/waterways/threats-to-our-waterw...

Australian Bureau of Statistics LaMPS data

http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/Lookup/4627.0Explanatory%20Notes12013-14?OpenDocument

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