The Fitzroy project - a study of the dynamics of an Australian tropical estuary

  • Webster I
  • Atkinson I
  • Brando V
  • et al.
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After the Burdekin, the Fitzroy River supplies the second largest load of sediments and nutrients to the lagoon of the Great Barrier Reef. With Coastal CRC funding, a multiagency team has studied the hydrodynamics, fine-sediment dynamics and biogeochemistry of the Fitzroy Estuary and adjacent Keppel Bay over the last 6 years. The main aims of the project are to assess the impact that catchment loads have on the Fitzroy Estuary itself and the role that the estuary plays in mediating the delivery of material from the river to the GBR lagoon. The discharge of the Fitzroy is highly episodic; its discharge usually occurs as a series of high-flow events during the summer months with virtually no discharge occurring during the rest of the year. Interannual variability is also very high with total annual discharges varying by a factor of 100. The variability in the discharge poses significant challenges for studies of the estuarine dynamics and we have chosen a combined measurement, remote sensing, and modelling approach to address this issue. In my talk, I will present an overview of the project together with some of the significant results achieved so far. (Author abstract)

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Webster, I., Atkinson, I., Brando, V., Brooke, B., Ford, P., Haese, R. R., … Vicente-Beckett, V. (2005). The Fitzroy project - a study of the dynamics of an Australian tropical estuary. In C. L. Goggin & T. Harvey (Eds.), Rainforest meets Reef: joint conference of CRC Reef and Rainforest CRC: conference abstracts (64th ed., p. 118). Townsville: CRC Reef Research Centre.

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