Discussion following Michael Douglas seminar on Northern Australia and Chesapeake Bay: Worlds apart, similar challenges?

Bill Dennison ·
9 January 2013
Learning Science |     2 comments

This blog details the question and answer period from the seminar given by Michael Douglas of the Charles Darwin University, at the IAN Seminar Series on September 27, 2012.

Dougo question time
Dougo answering questions during the discussion time.

  • What is being done to prepare for the projected 7mm sea level rise per year?
    • People are very concerned about the floodplain areas. There are many case studies already, which allow us to show the public the need to act now.
    • Kakadu National Park
      • Many freshwater wetlands. Some models predict that in 70 years 50% of these freshwater wetlands will be gone.
      • In some catchments, there are as many as 200 small dams.
      • Hard to determine the future effectiveness of engineering efforts.
      • Must prioritize critical habitats from ecological and cultural viewpoints.
      • Must research the weeds and other threats.
  • Developing management tools – Is the management community receptive?
    • Yes, Kakadu is an iconic area and very important to the public. The Federal Environment
    • Administrator listed the flood plains of Kakadu as a high priority and the Kakadu Managers have an obligation to respond to this.
    • In the past, Kakadu managers have focused on one value (grazing purposes, biodiversity, etc.), but currently they are working towards focusing on many values to increase the stakeholders.
  • More on water issues
    • There are de-salinization plants in South and some cities in Western Australia.
    • Often, there are plans proposed to build a canal to move water from the north to the south, but the cost is currently much too high.
  • USFWS National Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge is currently experimenting on management techniques for adapting to sea level rise.
  • What amount of weight do the indigenous people have?
    • Often politically overlooked.
    • Very strong percentage of land ownership across the region, so they are important landowners and stakeholders from that sense.
    • The water that flows through their land is potentially very valuable, but it is owned by the Crown. They are currently pushing for water rights and planning.
    • Many of the indigenous people suffer from poverty, so there are a lot of social issues and the environmental concerns are often overlooked.
    • Started pushing their rights in the federal initiative of carbon farming.
    • Indigenous rangers employment effort.
  • Economic Research
    • Economic models are very valuable for persuading politicians and managers.
    • Must be careful – Difficult to put a value on the cultural, social, ecological, and health benefits.
  • Climate change
    • Extremely difficult to predict.
    • Certain: Temperature, water quality, dissolved oxygen, and sea level rise.
    • Not as certain about whether it will become wetter or drier.

    Dougo audience
    Audience at Dougo's seminar.

About the author

Bill Dennison

Dr. Bill Dennison is a Professor of Marine Science and Vice President for Science Application at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (UMCES). Dr. Dennison’s primary mission within UMCES is to coordinate the Integration and Application Network.

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  • Bill Nuttle 9 years ago

    I missed this seminar, but I am pretty sure that the rate of sea level rise referenced in the first followup question is 7 mm per year, not 7 meters per year as stated.

  • IAN 9 years ago

    Thanks Bill - good catch. I have changed it to 7mm.

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