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Development of an inventory of pit lakes data and preliminary assessment of end-use options for Collie pit lakes

Along with some data held by State government departments, MiWER researchers at ECU have extensive unpublished pit lake water quality and ecological data for the Collie pit lakes from a number of research projects dating back to 1995 that are not available anywhere else. These studies include datasets for Black Diamond, Blue Waters (Ewington 2), Lake Centaur, Lake Kepwari, W05H, Lake Stockton, Chicken Creek pit lake and Ewington 1 and many of the new Premier Coal pit lakes. Chemistry datasets include metals and nutrient data, as well as basic physico-chemical data for almost all years to 1995 (some years data is of monthly or even weekly frequency). Ecology datasets include phytoplankton, periphyton, zooplankton and aquatic macroinvertebrates.

Stage 1: Historic data review and analysis

A desktop study will be used to collate all existing available data on the pit lakes of Collie. The companies (Griffin and Wesfarmers), consultants, government agencies (particularly DOW and DEC Bunbury), other stakeholders including researchers will be contacted for published and unpublished data. Where data is unobtainable (due to commercial considerations) a description of type of data will be contained in a meta database. Consideration will be given to completing analysis of samples that will add critical information to the data sets where this can be identified (such as unidentified but preserved macroinvertebrate samples). This inventory project will provide a compilation and review of existing datasets and compile existing pit lake water chemistry, ecology and social history data together in both a review document and electronic database deliverable.

Stage 2: Contemporary data collection and comparison against historic data

A contemporary data collection of new pit lake water quality and ecology data would be made to extend and address any knowledge gaps identified during the historical dataset compilation. This data collection will also extend available historic datasets by including pit lake fisheries and submerged aquatic plants. The entire historic and contemporary ecological and chemical data will be re-analysed as a complete dataset to provide up-to-date information on Collie pit lake management issues so as to help fill gaps determined in the review of existing data. The evaluation of chemical and biotic data over this time span will determine data trends and provide predictive data for the ongoing management of these resources under different scenarios.

Stage 3: Preliminary assessment of end-use options for pit lakes

The trends analysed in Stage 2 will be used to produce a preliminary assessment of end use options for the pit lakes of Collie and will clearly identify knowledge gaps.


Researchers

Dr Lu Zhao
Dr Clint McCullough
Associate Professor Mark Lund

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