Climate Change Adaptation in Floodplain Wetlands: the Macquarie Marshes

Author: NCCARF
Year: 2012

This factsheet summarises key findings from a case study on limits to adaptation in the Macquarie Marshes. The Macquarie Marshes has experienced significant declines in biodiversity and populations due to regulation of water supplies, and hence is increasingly vulnerable to projected climate change impacts. A major limit to adaptation is the lack of capacity of river managers to learn from problems during drought periods and implement water sharing plans that avoid similar losses if climate change increases drought intensity and frequency. This study examined the types of adaptations that reduce the climate change-induced extension of the inter-flood interval for floodplain wetlands. To achieve and sustain this, it is necessary to remove the biophysical drivers and to change the behaviour that causes the biophysical driver. Examples of adaptations that alter the biophysical driver, but not the behaviour, are trucking triage water (buffering), buying back adequate volumes of water and increasing the outlet capacity. However, if the water sharing plan, the main document that governs management of flow for flooding and interflood interval, is not changed then adaptation is limited. This factsheet contains further information on the current stressors, and future climate scenarios and impacts predicted for the Region. This is one of the six case studies conducted for NCCARFs Limits to Adaptation project to explore the underlying causes and potential to transcend limits in particular regions.

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