Aquatic macroinvertebrate communities of the seasonal Kemerton Wetlands, south-western Australia

Clint McCullough (MiWER), Mark Lund (MiWER), Mark Gell (KSS)

What are the aquatic macroinvertebrate communities of the Kemerton Wetlands, and what environmental variables are their primary determinants?

Silica sand mining by Kemerton Silica Sand Pty. Ltd. in the Kemerton wetlands, south-western Australia, is followed by rehabilitation of mined lands into conservation areas after ore extraction is complete. Assessment of successful rehabilitation to a natural wetland ecological community involves comparing biotic communities of rehabilitated wetlands with local natural reference wetland communities. Aquatic macroinvertebrates are a industry-standard for such ecological assessment. Studies are examining what aquatic macroinvertebrate communities are present in seasonal Kemerton wetlands, and what environmental parameters are the major determinants of these communities. This understanding will also lead to guidelines as to what entails a rehabilitated wetland, and how it may best be achieved.


Photo: Dr. Clint McCullough collecting water quality data from a seasonal Kemerton Wetland in late winter.

Photo: Assoc. Prof. Mark Lund collecting a macroinvertebrate sample along a stratified-habitat transect line.


Figure: Abundance and biodiversity of aquatic macroinvertebrates in Kemerton Wetlands.

Funding: Kemerton Silica Sands Ltd


McCullough, C. D. & Lund, M. A. (2008). Aquatic macroinvertebrates in seasonal and rehabilitated wetlands of the Kemerton Silica Sand Pty Ltd project area (2007). Mine Water and Environment/Centre for Ecosystem Management Report 2008-16. Edith Cowan University, Perth, Australia. 75pp. Unpublished  commercial-in-confidence report to Kemerton Silica Sand Pty Ltd.

Lund, M. A. & McCullough, C. D. (2011). How representative are pit lakes of regional natural water bodies? A case study from silica sand mining. Proceedings of the International Mine Water Association (IMWA) Congress. Aachen, Germany. 529-533.PDF