Estuarine Ecohydrology Applications

For the Guadiana Estuary the model is particularly useful in quantifying the importance of short freshets in enhancing plankton and fish diversity (Figure 4). It is also useful in quantifying the importance of tidal wetlands (salt marshes) in reducing eutrophication (Figure 5). This demonstrates clearly two management strategies that can be used to alleviate eutrophication and promote biodiversity and estuary robustness, that is, create freshets from the dam and creating or restoring tidal wetlands. The ecology submodel also highlights the key role of bivalves in filtering the water, suggesting another strategy of manipulating bivalves to reduce eutrophication.

Similarly for Darwin Harbor the model is useful to assess to what degree the estuarine ecosystem health may degrade - and what level of human disturbances in the drainage area is admissible to maintain a reasonable ecosystem health - as a result of future human activities in the catchment, particularly the urbanization of Darwin, the impact on the estuarine health of nutrient enrichment from sewage discharges, and the destruction of tidal wetlands (mangroves) for shipping and industry.

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