Biophysical closure criteria without reference sites: evaluating river diversions around mines
LUT Scientific and Expertise Publications
Mine Water and Environment Research Centre (Miwer.org)/ ECU Centre for Ecosystem Management/ School of Science
The use of ‘reference’ sites to rehabilitate mined lands often creates unrealistic targets, resulting in environmentally underperforming sites. Previously, we proposed a more achievable approach to mine closure by comparing the bio-physical characteristics of rehabilitated sites to overall ecosystem variability (i.e., the ‘system variability’ approach), rather than specific target reference sites. We tested this model by evaluating the bio-physical state of river diversions around two mined areas in Australia’s Hunter Valley. The model clearly identifies how diversion sites differ from non-diverted sections of river, providing a practical example of model application.