Title

How representative are pit lakes of regional natural water bodies? A case study from silica sand mining.

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publisher

International Mine Water Association

Faculty

Faculty of Computing, Health and Science

School

School of Natural Sciences / Centre for Ecosystem Management

RAS ID

13092

Comments

This article was originally published as: Lund, M. A., & Mccullough, C. D. (2011). How representative are pit lakes of regional natural water bodies? A case study from silica sand mining. Paper presented at the 11th International Mine Water Congress, Aachen, Germany.

Abstract

In many regions, regulators view pit lakes akin to natural lakes and impose similar guidelines for water quality and biodiversity. At Kemerton (south Western Australia), extraction of silica sands is creating a large deep dredge pond. This is progressively split into smaller lakes, which are then rehabilitated. The water quality and macroinvertebrate communities of a rehabilitated pond, 3 other artificial wetlands, and 13 nearby natural wetlands were investigated. Catchment rehabilitation has successfully returned some terrestrial vegetation, however the pond edge lacked a developed riparian zone. Species diversity and abundance was substantially lower (≈ 50% and 10% respectively) than in natural wetlands. Overall the macroinvertebrate communities and water quality of artificial wetlands were significantly different to the natural wetlands.

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