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Hydrologic and Environmental Changes in the Gippsland Basin


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Author Lawrence C R


The Gippsland Basin, southeastern Australia, has an Upper Cainozoic history of episodic change of hydrology and the related environment, reflected in the geomorphology and surficial deposits of the onshore basin and the hydrodynamically controlled accumulations of petroleum of the offshore basin. Succeeding this episodic pattern, man through a number of activities, has had a sudden and major impact on the hydrology and the related environment. Activities include those directly affecting the groundwater system, such as extraction of fossil fuels with the consequent threat of land subsidence; irrigation and clearing of vegetation and the consequent effect of salinisation; change of land use and installation of septic tanks with resulting nitrate pollution; damming of streams and the consequent reduction in the frequency of floods with degradation of the biological Environment; de-snagging streams and construction of cutoffs with increased stream erosion, modifying wetlands including drainage, with the consequent degradation of their ecosystems; and increase in phosphate and nitrate inputs to the coastal lakes with the risk of their eutrophication.