Since the 2001/2002 wet season, the Supervising Scientist Branch (SSB) has undertaken a formal water quality monitoring program to monitor and assess any impacts on ecosystems and people as a result of mining activities in the Alligator Rivers Region.
In addition to Energy Resources of Australia Ltd (ERA)’s statutory monitoring program, SSB conducts an independent surface water quality monitoring program that uses a multiple lines-of-evidence approach for undertaking environmental impact assessment.
Environmental monitoring is carried out within the Ranger Project Area and within Kakadu National Park to ensure people and the environment are protected from the potential effects of uranium mining.
The monitoring program
SSB uses two broad approaches to assess possible environmental impacts from mine water input to receiving surface waters around the minesite:
Early detection methods include:
- continuous and event-based monitoring of chemical and physical indicators
- in-situ toxicity monitoring using freshwater snail reproduction
- bioaccumulation monitoring using freshwater mussels.
Long-term ecosystem-level responses are assessed using:
- benthic macroinvertebrate communities in Magela and Gulungul creeks
- fish communities in channel and lowland billabongs
Data collected from all biological monitoring techniques are compared with historical data and data from reference sites in creeks and billabongs not influenced by mining.
Ranger minesite including location of water release points and SSB monitoring sites
|Site Code||Gulungul Site Description||Site Code||Magela Site Description|
|GCNUS||Gulungul Creek new upstream||MCUGT||Magela Creek upstream|
|GCUS||Gulungul Creek upstream||MCDW||Magela Creek downstream|
|GCLB||Gulungul Creek lease boundary||G8210009||Magela Creek gauging station|
|GCDS||Gulungul Creek downstream|
|GCT2GCC||Gulungul Creek confluence with Tributary 2|
|GCT2RST||Gulungul Creek Tributary 2 Radon Springs Track|
Text version of infographic
Satellite image showing Ranger minesite including the location of water release points and Supervising Scientist Branch monitoring sites.