3.7.2 Future monitoring

Post-assessment monitoring is important to test and (in)validate the risk predictions of the Assessment. At the highest level, monitoring efforts should reflect the risk predictions, and focus the effort where the changes are expected to be the largest. However, it is important to place some monitoring effort at locations with lower risk predictions so as to confirm the range of potential impacts and identify unexpected outcomes.

The bioregional assessment for the Gloucester subregion indicated limited potential for hydrological or ecosystem impacts due to the additional coal resource development beyond some localised changes, particularly in the north. Therefore, from a management perspective, there might not be a strong motivation to invest in new monitoring to determine regional effects, beyond the more local monitoring required by mining proponents under their conditions of operation. Monitoring to address knowledge gaps, such as the role of faults in groundwatersurface water connectivity or the effect of aquitards could contribute to reducing predictive uncertainty in the modelling.

Any groundwater monitoring effort should be directed to the area surrounding the Rocky Hill, Gloucester Gas Project and Stratford mine developments, where modelling indicates some potential for cumulative drawdown effects. Changes to the coal resource development pathway in the Gloucester subregion, such as AGL’s decision to not proceed with the Gloucester Gas Project, should be factored into any groundwater monitoring planning.

Any future surface water monitoring should also be directed to streams in this area to better understand the connection between changes in groundwater level and streamflow regimes and the relative contributions to changes in streamflow from groundwater drawdown and changes in catchment runoff. Local information on, for example, stream condition, habitat value, recovery potential and existence of other stressors, is needed to determine actual priorities. Better condition streams, such as Waukivory Creek and the Avon River downstream of the Stratford mine, which have been mapped as being in moderate geomorphic condition and which support a relatively continuous fringe of forested wetlands, are likely to be a higher priority for protection and management than more degraded streams such as Avondale Creek and Dog Trap Creek, which are mapped as being in poor geomorphic condition and having a patchier distribution of forested wetlands.

Last updated:
8 November 2018
Thumbnail of the Gloucester subregion

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