Land Degradation and Salinity Risk Project

Project Overview

In recent years there has been a trend in parts of Tasmania for land use change away from traditional grazing enterprises to more intensive cropping, and often irrigated cropping, activities. In the past land use intensification has occurred by transferring technology and experience from one area to another. However, as the soils and climate are often different this has, on occasion, resulted in considerable damage to the soil and economic losses to the farmer. This project was initiated to identify some of the risks and hazards in three selected study areas around the State, Waterhouse, Tunbridge and the Coal River Valley. The full findings of the study are presented in a compendium of reports available from DPIPWE in CD format or directly from the pdf documents below.

The project involved a range of activities at each study site. These included:
  • A resource inventory and hazard identification, incorporating soil and unique area mapping (UMA), soil physical characterisation and salinity surveys (using an EM31 instrument) and assessment of the contribution of rainfall to the salt budget.
  • A review of salinity and water balance models available that might assist with predicting impacts of land use change on the water balance; and
  • Investigations of groundwater flow systems to determine their relevance to salinity processes in each study area.

Salinity Hazard Assessment

A number of activities were undertaken in each area to determine the risk of expanding salinity as a result of land use intensification. Estimates of below ground salt storage were made using an EM31 instrument. This tool simply sends an electromagnetic signal into the ground and captures the strength of the return signal which, at least in part, is related to the amount of salt storage to a depth of about 5 metres. The data collected was used to generate maps of sub surface salt storage for each study area. Table 1 provides details of the extent of each salinity class identified.

Non Saline
Slightly Saline 2-4 dS/m
Moderately Saline 4-8 dS/m
Very Saline
8-16 dS/m
Extremely Saline > 16 dS/m
Total
Coal River Valley
513
3197
898
8
0
4616
Tunbridge
212
2190
2080
150
1
4633
Waterhouse
1
1019
4735
614
31
6400
Table 1. Areas of land (ha) within the various salinity classes (ECese) in each study area

Project Reports and Documents



Overarching Report (468 KB)




Coal River



Tunbridge



Waterhouse



Additional reports and studies



Contact

Land Resource Assessment
Rob Moreton
171 Westbury Road
PROSPECT TAS 7250
Phone: 03 6777 2240
Fax: 03 6336 5365
Email: Rob.Moreton@dpipwe.tas.gov.au

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