Large wood in the Snowy River estuary, Australia
In this paper we report on 8 years of data collection and interpretation of large wood in the Snowy River estuary in southeastern Australia, providing quantitative data on the amount, sources, transport, decay, and geomorphic actions. No prior census data for an estuary is known to the authors despite their environmental and economic importance and the significant differences between a fluvial channel and an estuarine channel. Southeastern Australian estuaries contain a significant quantity of large wood that is derived from many sources, including river flood flows, local bank erosion, and anthropogenic sources. Wind and tide are shown to be as important as river flow in transporting and stranding large wood. Tidal action facilitates trapping of large wood on intertidal bars and shoals; but channels are wider and generally deeper, so log jams are less likely than in rivers. Estuarine large wood contributes to localised scour and accretion and hence to the modification of estuarine habitat, but in the study area it did not have large-scale impacts on the hydraulic gradients nor the geomorphology.
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