Season 2 Episode 5: Suzette Argent on Constructed Wetlands

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Constructed wetlands are being evaluated as a catchment repair treatment system as part of the Wet Tropics Major Integrated Project in the Johnstone and Tully.

Wetlands perform many important functions in the landscape. However, across the Wet Tropics areas of wetlands have been reduced over the past few decades to make way for agriculture and urban development. This has implications for water quality flowing to the Great Barrier Reef since wetlands act as a filter.

The Wet Tropics Major Integrated Project is currently evaluating different combinations of catchment repair treatment systems to see how they might be used to improve water quality. One of these treatment systems includes building artificial wetlands for the specific purpose of removing excess nitrogen from fertilisers flowing off farm paddocks into waterways. 

Catchment Repair Coordinator Suzette Argent joins us for this week's podcast to tell us more about the work she is doing to evaluate constructed wetlands and what we're finding out about their potential for scaling up as a water quality improvement tool.  

Podcast Timestamps

00:45 What is catchment repair? 

01:45 What are we trying to repair? 

02:50 What is the Major Integrated Project trying to do with regards to catchment repair? 

03:40 What is a wetland and why is it important for water quality?

04:40 What functions do wetlands perform?

05:20 What does an artificial 'treatment' wetland look like and how does it help with denitrification? 

06:37 Other nitrogen loss pathways

09:00 Have there been any results so far?

07:42 The effects of exotic species on our native fish 

10:57 Assuming the results are positive, what is the potential for scaling up constructed wetlands? 

12:43 What does a constructed wetland look like?

Contacts, Links & Resources

More details on the 2019 Wet Tropics Report Card


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