Protecting dambos protects Darwin Harbour 

Muhammad Nawaz undertaking research in the field

Research by a Charles Darwin University PhD candidate is contributing to the protection of the Darwin Harbour’s water quality, biodiversity and recreation features.

Muhammad Nawaz is mapping the vegetation of dambos, those shallow, seasonally waterlogged valleys without river channels that provide pathways for water into the harbour.

The Darwin Harbour region currently has a series of intact dambos which protect the harbour by filtering organic material and sediment.

“Data shows that dambos trap up to 80 per cent of fine sediment, organic material, metals and nutrients that can harm the ecosystems of the harbour,” Muhammad said.

“This mapping, combined with other research in the region, could be used to assess land-clearing applications and to develop management plans for specific dambos, which will contribute to the overall protection of the harbour,” he said.

Muhammad’s research is a part of a three-year, research project conducted by the Tropical Rivers and Coastal Knowledge (TRaCK) consortium which is examining the health and sustainability of Darwin Harbour.

Scientists from CDU, Griffith University, CSIRO, Geoscience Australia and the Northern Territory Government’s Darwin Harbour Advisory Committee are working together to better understand how nutrients move into and through the harbour ecosystem and develop a Darwin Harbour Region Water Quality Protection Plan.

The plan is expected to be finalised toward the end of 2009 and will be presented to the Northern Territory Government for adoption once endorsed by the community.