Sarah McSweeney was the recipient of the 2018 John McKenzie ECR Award for her research: The impact of artificial entrance openings on estuary processes and biota. The award provides $20,000 of research funds.
Sarah’s project aims to look at whether drainage of the estuary lagoon following artificial openings can be empirically predicted and whether opening at different water level thresholds can alter drainage rates. The change in water quality and physiochemical conditions will also be monitored in collaboration with researchers from the Australian Rivers Institute to determine impacts on biota during estuary openings.
The work will provide important information for estuary entrance managers who wish to avoid fish kills following estuary openings. Fish kills occur when the estuary water level rapidly decreases and leaves fish stranded on the floodplain, or when oxygenated water drains off the top of the lagoon during stratified conditions.