The Murray-Darling: A Web of Rivers, Wetlands & Flood Plains

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The Murray-Darling: A Web of Rivers, Wetlands & Flood Plains

<p>The Murray-Darling Basin is a vast, complex and sensitive ecosystem that stretches from NSW to Queensland to South Australia. Its floodplains and wetlands provide some of the most important

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The Murray-Darling Basin is a vast, complex and sensitive ecosystem that stretches from NSW to Queensland to South Australia. Its floodplains and wetlands provide some of the most important habitat for Australia’s waterbirds. These internationally significant wetlands are protected under the Ramsar Convention, a global treaty for the protection of migratory birds. However since the 1980s many of these important wetlands have seriously declined as a result of water over-extraction and altered flood regimes. Waterbird numbers have plummeted. Yet hope came with the flooding rains of 2010 and 2011 and gave a welcome reprieve for waterbird numbers. How can the Murray–Darling Basin be restored to health again? The course builds on earlier WEA environmental history courses on Forests (2018: Term 1) and Oceans (2018: Term 2).


SUGGESTED READING


COURSE OUTLINE

  • How irrigation have been seen as engineering solutions to droughts, water security and increasing demands for water for agriculture and mining.
  • The history of the Murray Darling Basin and its irrigation schemes.
  • The ecology of the Murray Darling Basin and its migratory birds and Ramsar Convention.
  • The understanding of the ecological consequences of irrigation on the Murray-Darling Basin and over extraction of water.
  • The recent debate over illegal water extraction from the Murray Darling basin
  • Significant events and campaigns that contributed to popular awareness of environmental issues relating to the Murray Darling Basin.


PLANNED LEARNING OUTCOMES
By the end of this course, students should be able to:

  1. Identify ecological processes of the Murray Darling’s web of rivers, wetlands and flood plains.
  2. Understand the Ramsar Convention for migratory birds.
  3. Discuss the background to the history of water extraction on the Murray Darling.
  4. Understanding the crisis facing the Murray Darling ecosystem.