BDBSA Project Metadata Detail

Survey/Project Number: 134          Total No. of Sites: 1286
Survey/Project Name: River Murray
Abstract: This project aims to conduct a biological survey to collect data on the vegetation communities of the River Murray floodplain, to enable the classification and mapping of the floristic composition and structure of the vegetation groups of the area. The study area is the South Australian section of the River Murray floodplain, as defined by the 1956 Flood level, and begins at the NSW border, continuing southward to the barrages of Lake Alexandrina, near Goolwa. Additional data was also collected on the health of the overstorey and understorey dominant tree and shrub layers, to allow mapping of vegetation health throughout the floodplain. This project will provide data to the River Murray Catchment Management Board's Floodplain Impact Model.
 
Start Date: 14/10/2002      End Date: 27/03/2009
Survey Type: Vegetation and Vertebrates
   
Study Area Description: The study area is the South Australian section of the River Murray Floodplain as defined by the 1956 Flood level. The study area begins along the Chowilla floodplian in NSW and continues southward to the barrages of Lake Alexandrina. The boundary of the study area is generally the South Australian section of the River Murray Floodplain as defined by the 1956 Flood level. The study area begins at the NSW Border and continues southward to the barrages of Lake Alexandrina and encompasses the area covered by the 1956 flood. There are also a small number of sites outside the floodplain. Visit period 2003-2004: The vertebrate study area was conducted within the River Murray Floodplain in South Australia, defined by the 1956 flood level between the New South Wales border and just south of the Swanport wetlands south of the Swanport Bridge at Murray Bridge.
Objectives
         Vegetation: Visit period: 14 Oct 2002 - 10 Jan 2003: Vegetation and Vertebrates The main aim of this survey was to collect data on the vegetation communities of the River Murray Floodplain to enable the classification & mapping of the floristic composition and structure of the vegetation groups of the area. Additional data was also collected on the health of the overstorey and understorey dominant tree and shrub layers. The aim of collecting the health information was to allow mapping of vegetation health throughout the floodplain. CSIRO also collected data from piezometers they installed close to many of the survey sites. This project will provide data to River Murray Catchment Management Board's Floodplain Impact Model. Visit period: 1 July 2003 - 30 Nov 2004: Mainly a vertebrate survey, but two new sites were selected (PID 20180 and 20181). Sites were completed in November 2004. Visit period 23 Feb 2009 - 27 Mar 2009: Photopoints only Survey sites within the Ramsar Riverland Wetland were re-visited by Sonia Croft and Sue Kenny, specifically for the purpose of Tree Health Assessment (survey 635). During a field trip for the Riverland Ramsar Wetland Tree Health mapping project (svy 635 - data in Opportune) a number of the svy 134 sites were revisited and re-photographed. At these selected sites tree health data was collected and stored in svy 635 as opportune records. A photograph was taken at the same location that the survey 134 (River Murray) photos were taken. These photographs will be stored in the BSM image database and linked on their visit number (in progress).
         Fauna: Visit period: 1 July 2003 - 30 Nov 2004: The main aim of the vertebrate survey was to collect data on a subset of the sites used for the floristic purposes mentioned above, to provide systematic knowledge of the extant fauna remaining in the SA River Murray Floodplain.
Methodology
         Vegetation: Vegetation was documented with a complete list of plant species within a 30 x 30m quadrat using Braun-Blanquet cover abundance scores. Lifeform and reproductive stage was also recorded. Each site was assigned a structural formation. All species were vouchered the first time they were encountered and lodged with the State Herbarium. Physical data such as slope, aspect, landform, surface soil texture and disturbances were collected. Vertebrate presence was also noted. A method was developed in conjunction with CSIRO to determine the health status of dominant trees and shrubs at each site (where appropriate). Tree health was assessed on a scale of 0-5 and each tree was assessed by the proportion of original canopy still present. 0 = dead tree, 1 = unhealthy tree with no original canopy, 2 = tree with < 25% of original canopy present, 3 = tree with 25 - 49% of original canopy present, 4 = tree with 50 - 75% of original canopy present, 5 = tree with >75% of original canopy present. Understorey dominant shrubs were also assessed for perceived health. A different scale of 0 - 3 was used for shrubs (including lignum). 0 = dead, 1 = plant species with little (1-30%) of the original foliage cover present, 2 = plant species with 30-70% of the original foliage cover present, 3 = plant species with > 70% original foliage cover present.
         Fauna: as per Biological Survey of SA Standard trapping methodology for the agricultural areas was utilised. This principally entailed trapping ten sites per group per trip with 6 pits, 15 Elliott traps and 2 cage traps per site. Opera House tortoise traps and extra cage traps were used on many sites to target tortoises and water rats.

Data Distribution Rules: Public
Project Basis: Vegetation : Biological Survey of South Australia - Standard Survey methodology used.
Fauna : Biological Survey of South Australia - Standard Survey methodology used.
Information Authority: Department for Environment and Heritage (BDBSA:S&C Div) - Biological Survey and Monitoring