THE IMMINENT COLLAPSE OF THE GREAT MURRAY DARLING!!

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duane
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THE IMMINENT COLLAPSE OF THE GREAT MURRAY DARLING!!

Post by duane » Wed Jun 18, 2008 8:48 pm

It would seem from todays news that the imminent collapse of the MDBS at the Coorong and Lakes Albert and Alexandrina will be final by October this year.THAT NEWS SHOULD BE SENDING ALARM BELLS TO ALL OF US!!!!!

Indeed it looks like we have already gone beyond the brink with this news and so it is timely that Peter's new book has a whole chapter on the MDBS which he claims could be RESTORED if his ideas were given the chance.
The Lakes and the Coorong are in desparate plight....the pollies are still acting like Nero and by the time their MDB plan comes into effect the MDBS (at least at the lower extremity will be lost).

The Lower Lakes taken from http://www.murrayusers.sa.gov.au/RMUUC- ... er%20Lakes

As River Murray approaches the sea near the end of its 2,200 kilometre course, it arrives at Lakes Alexandrina and Albert before dividing into five channels leading to the Murray Mouth Area. At that point, river water either flows into the Southern Ocean or enters the long coastal lagoon known as the Coorong.


The Lower Lakes, Coorong and Murray Mouth area once formed a huge estuarine system covering over 75 000 hectares. Today, this is a permanently freshwater environment, with no estuarine influence beyond the Murray Mouth area. This is because the construction of the barrages has prevented seawater from entering the shallow terminal lakes. Other environmental changes brought about in the wake of European settlement also have had a dramatic effect on the Lower Lakes ecosystem.


As the river moves downstream from Mannum, if was originally fringed by permanent swamps occupying a wide floodplain valley. Today these wetlands have been "reclaimed" for agriculture. Swamp reclamation began in the Wellington area in the 1880's. Levees were built, creating a large irrigated area for intensive settlement and grazing. By 1929 development works had drained nearly all of the wetlands along the river between Wellington and Mannum.
River flows are now confined to the main channel. Changes to the flow regime as a result of river regulation have also had an impact as the Murray reaches the sea. Under natural conditions there was almost always some outflow at the mouth. These flows were sufficient to keep Lake Alexandrina fresh for extended periods. Indeed, in the 1800's and early 1900's the Lower Lakes supported a thriving Murray cod fishery. Control of the Murray has caused the overall volume of water passing through the Murray Mouth to be reduced. Although this is largely due to the upstream harnessing of the Murray-Darlings natural flow and the increasing diversions of water from the basin, the barrages have further reduced the flow passing in and out of the mouth under the influence of ocean tides. Current outflows of the Murray Mouth are now only a third of the natural outflows, and periods of four to five years of little outflow can be expected.


More than 14 000 hectares of land are now under irrigation between the barrages and lock 1 at Blanchetown. Today the Lower Lakes region supports a thriving dairy industry, pasture and horticultural crops, and a commercial fishery. Activities in the area have diversified and it is increasingly becoming a multi-use resource. The recreation (link to recreation fact sheet) and tourism sector is rapidly expanding, and there is growing recognition that it is the environmental value of the Lower Lakes which underpins their attraction.

Changes to the natural environment have arisen from a number of sources - construction of barrages and levees , settlement and land use, and more recently the pressure of tourism and recreation. These are all factors which have had an environmental impact on the Lower Lakes, causing problems that now need to be addressed.

The complex system of freshwater and saltwater wetlands that forms the Lower Lakes supports an abundance of birds, animals and fish. More than 240 species of birds have been recorded in the area. The Coorong is recognised as a "Wetland of International Importance" under the Ramsar Convention, and is included on the register of the National Estate. The increasing demands on the Lower Lakes must be managed so as to protect their natural assets.

Demands on the resources of the lower lakes must be managed in an integrated way to reduce environmental impacts and conflicts between users. A management plan will be developed for wise use of the Ramsar wetland, with many opportunities for community involvement in the process.
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The management plan might be a great success when it is implemented in November but unfortunately by that time the MDBS will be DEAD!!!!!

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Post by duane » Wed Jun 18, 2008 10:55 pm

Transcript
This is a transcript from The World Today. The program is broadcast around Australia at 12:10pm on ABC Local Radio.

You can also listen to the story in REAL AUDIO and WINDOWS MEDIA and MP3 formats.



Govt in damage control over Murray-Darling The World Today - Wednesday, 18 June , 2008 12:11:00
Reporter: Tanya Nolan
ELEANOR HALL: Federal and state water ministers say they are listening to the stark warning from scientists advising them about the urgent need to deal with the crisis in the Murray-Darling river system.

The scientists were appointed by the Federal Government to look into the health of the crucial river system and their report warned that the governments had only six months to act to save the lower river system.

That's a deadline of October. But Federal and state water ministers are not scheduled to meet until November.

The Federal Water Minister Penny Wong has told The World Today that she is getting urgent advice on what more can be done. But she is playing down the prospects of success, saying there is no guarantee that the drought will break before October.

But some of the scientists on the Government-appointed panel have told the ABC that they're unhappy about what they regard as a lack of prompt action by governments to avert the crisis.

Tanya Nolan has our report.

TANYA NOLAN: We've heard the warnings now for the death knell. If flows are not restored to the Coorong, the Lower Lakes and the mouth of the Murray River, some of those areas will be lost for good.

That's the bleak message delivered by scientists appointed by the Government to give advice to the Murray-Darling Ministerial Council. And what that means, according to the report handed to ministers last month, is that wetlands will dry up, vegetation will die and some fish species may disappear forever.

Federal Minister for Water and Climate Change, Senator Penny Wong, says she knows how urgent the situation is.

PENNY WONG: This is a report from the Natural Resource Management Board of the South Australian Murry Darling Basin and it is a report that does tell us yet again how urgent it is to deal with the Lower Lakes and the Coorong.

There are current interim measure, which is the pumping of water into Lake Albert and I have asked my department for further urgent advice about what we are able to do in the short-term.

TANYA NOLAN: But some scientists on the panel don't think governments do appreciate the urgency of the situation. They've told the ABC they're frustrated with what they see as feet dragging on the issue.

But South Australia's Minister for the River Murray, Karlene Maywald, says her state, with financial help from the Federal Government, has been working for months and spending millions of dollars pumping water back into the system.

KARLENE MAYWALD: The State Government actually announced that we were doing this interim pumping project from Lake Albert … from Lake Alexandrina into Lake Albert to buy us time through to perhaps September whilst this other work was undertaken.

We made no secret of the fact that the Lake Albert in particular was at risk of major acidification and potentially total ecological collapse if we didn't act immediately. We took that action earlier this year, that pumping project is underway.

TANYA NOLAN: But she calls it a national disaster and says South Australia can't alone save the parts of the Murray River that cross its borders. New South Wales Water Minister Nathan Rees says the four basin states are making history but it does take time

NATHAN REES: The water purchases for the river health has already started and it's in play for some months now. The reality here … and we don't fix 100 years of poor decision making in a matter of months.

And whilst we can make all the buy backs we like now with the money that is available, if the waters not there because it hasn't rained, then we can't create it.

TANYA NOLAN: And there's this from Victoria's Water Minister Tim Holding.

TIM HOLDING: In fact earlier this year at the Murray-Darling Basin Commission, ministers endorsed a plan to provide emergency watering for Lake Alexandrina and Lake Albert and the Coorong in South Australia at the mouth of the Murray.

And those measures were designed to deal with some of the very issues that this scientific evidence reveals which is that the river is under huge stress in those areas.

We've also been returning hundreds of billions of litres of water to the Murray River as part of the Living Murray Initiative and Victoria is on track to deliver its commitments under the Living Murray Initiative. And we've been able to release water even in the midst of out worst drought ever, we've been able to release water for strategic environmental watering along a number of icon sites.

And that's meant that places like the Bama Forest and other parts of the Murray that are critically endangered of being able to receive some water, even in the midst of this very difficult drought.

TANYA NOLAN: There's been no comment from Queensland's Water Minister but his spokesman does point out that his state only draws 3.5 per cent of water from the Murray-Darling Basin.

The Greens say the response today from government has not been good enough and Senator Christine Milne says the Murray-Darling's epitaph could read, “a lack of leadership killed this river”.

CHRISTINE MILNE: Well the consequences of populist policies, the consequences of giving out $30-billion in tax cuts are now being delivered on the nation with the death of the Murray River, and the decisions by both State and Federal Government Ministers to defer consideration of the issue of the Murray, even though scientists have told them that the river is dying, and in many cases will be irreparably damaged if we don't act now by putting water back in the river.

TANYA NOLAN: Federal Water Minister Senator Penny Wong objects. She says a problem that's been manifesting for years cannot be solved by a new government six months in.

And she says she will continue to spend the $3.1-billion allocated to buy back water from irrigators, but stresses there are no guarantees.

(To Penny Wong) But your scientific panel is now saying October is the deadline. The river system in the lower Murray will not survive beyond that. You're having a meeting in November. Isn't that a little bit too late? It doesn't look too good, does it?

PENNY WONG: Well what we're saying as a Federal Government is that we will continue to purchase water. We've just completed the first of the down payments on the future of the River Murray, the $50-million and we will continue to progress those policies which are all about returning water to the river.

TANYA NOLAN: Will you be able to save the lower Murray before October?

PENNY WONG: What we will do is do all that we can to provide an interim solution for the Lower Lakes and the Coorong. But I will say this, we need to be mindful of the realities across the whole basin. We have … are seeing very low inflows into the Murray River to 2007, the two years to 2007 were the lowest on record.

TANYA NOLAN: But you can't guarantee that you can save the lower Murray before October?

PENNY WONG: Well I don't think anyone can guarantee that it will rain or that the drought will break. What I can guarantee is this Government is absolutely committed to addressing climate change, we are absolutely committed to returning water to the River Murray which is what the Lower Lakes and the Coorong needs.

TANYA NOLAN: Well the Coorong, for example, back in April when you finally signed the Murray-Darling agreement. At least 20 farmers had walked off their land in the Coorong and the water is too bad to drink, the local water supply.

So they were saying then they needed national disaster declaration and federal and state funding immediately to help their scenario.

What's happened now? Are people still leaving the land? Can you tell them that their futures are going to be saved in the Coorong and the lower Murray?

PENNY WONG: Well Tanya can I take issue first with your comment that we finally signed it. We achieved in four months what the previous government was unable to achieve in 11 years, which is an historic agreement for the management of the River Murray.

For the first time in Australia's history the basin states agreeing to manage this basin as a whole basin, recognising the reality that rivers run across state borders. So that was a substantial and significant step forward. It is true, it would have been better if it had been done 10 years ago.

In terms of the Coorong and the Lower Lakes, we are in a situation where climate change and drought are hitting the whole of the Murray-Darling Basin very hard and particularly the lower Murray.

And what the Government is doing is two things. We are progressing the changes to how the system is managed for the long-term which is important because we do need to place industry on a sustainable footing. And the second thing we are doing is returning water to the river.

ELEANOR HALL: And that's the Federal Minister for Water and Climate Change, Penny Wong, speaking to Tanya Nolan.

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Post by duane » Sat Sep 06, 2008 3:03 pm

After reading this maybe there is some hope for the Macquarie Marshes and the MDBS.

Iraqi Marshlands: On The Road to Recovery
August 29th, 2005
Posted in: Press: Environmental

After a decade of decline in which the fabled Marshlands of Mesopotamia all but vanished almost 40 per cent have now recovered to their former 1970s extent.

This phenomenal rate of recovery of the marshlands in southern Iraq, considered by some as the original biblical “Garden of Eden” and a key natural habitat for people, wildlife and fisheries, is revealed in new satellite images and preliminary analysis from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

The new satellite imagery shows a rapid increase in water and vegetation cover over the last two years, and while more detailed field analysis of soil and water quality is needed to gauge the exact state of rehabilitation, UNEP scientists believe the findings are a positive signal that the Iraqi marshlands are well on the road to recovery.

“The near total destruction of the Iraqi marshlands under the regime of Saddam Hussein was a major ecological and human disaster, robbing the Marsh Arabs of a centuries-old culture and way of life as well as food in the form of fish and that most crucial of natural resources, drinking water,” said Klaus Toepfer, UNEP Executive Director. “The evidence of their rapid revival is a positive signal, not only for the environment and the local communities who live there, but must be seen as a contribution to wider peace and security for the Iraqi people and the region as a whole.”

Toepfer continued, “While the re-flooding bodes well for the Iraqi marshes their recovery will take many years. We must continue to monitor the situation carefully and make the necessary long term investment in marshlands management.”

“Furthermore, I hope the lessons learnt to date in restoring this vital ecosystem and its economically important natural services can help in the restoration of other damaged and degraded ecosystems elsewhere and in doing so assist in meeting the Millennium Development Goals whose status will be reviewed by heads of state in New York in mid-September,” he said.

The new findings on the growing extent of the marshes come from the recently launched Iraqi Marshlands Observation System (IMOS), the latest component of UNEP’s multi-million dollar marshlands project.

The project, launched a year ago with funding from the Government of Japan, is helping Iraq restore the environment and provide clean drinking water for up to 100,000 people living in or near the Marshlands.

It is achieving this via a variety of activities ranging from the dissemination of appropriate “environmentally sound technologies” (ESTs) to the establishment of an internet-based marshlands information network and technical training (see below).

“The IMOS work is a key component in UNEP’s marshlands project as it monitors the extent and distribution of re-flooding developments and the associated vegetation cover,” said Monique Barbut, Director of UNEP’s Division of Technology, Industry and Economics (DTIE). “The systematic monitoring and bi-weekly reports are building an important knowledge base for Iraq. Such information is essential for reliable decision-making in all aspects of marshlands management,” she said.

Totalling almost 9,000 square kilometres of permanent wetlands, the Iraqi marshlands dwindled to just 760 square kilometres in 2002. As of August 2005, IMOS shows them covering almost 3,500 square kilometres, approximately 37 per cent of the former 1970s extent. In spring 2005 the figure was nearer to 50 per cent, shrinking with the high summer evaporation rates.

The different figures reflect the strong seasonal fluctuation in the marshlands ecosystem with extent of water cover reaching a maximum in March, following winter rains and spring snow melt in the headwaters of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers.

The new data on the extent of recovery of the marshes was announced today at an international meeting on the UNEP marshlands project in Tokyo, which included representatives of the governments of Iraq and Japan as well as senior officials from the UN, scientists, and local community leaders from the marshlands themselves.

Working in close collaboration with the Government of Iraq and local people, the UNEP marshlands project is carrying out a wide range of activities.

At six pilot project sites in Thi-Qar, Basrah, and Missan governorates, different ESTs are being tested to see how they perform in bringing drinking water, sanitation systems and wetland management skills to local people and communities. The “low tech” less polluting ESTs include restoration of reed beds and others marshland habitats that act as natural, water-filtration systems.

A Marshland Information Network, an Internet-based system that lets those with an interest in the region share their ideas and strategies, is up and running. An Arabic version of UNEP’s Environmentally Sound Technology Information System, which serves as the basis for MIN is operational in Iraq and in use by the Environment Ministry.

The project is also helping to train the Iraqi authorities, both at national government and local levels. About 250 Iraqis have been trained in wetland management and restoration, remote sensing and community-based resource management.

The UNEP project, “Support for Environmental Management of the Iraqi Marshlands”, is implemented through DTIE’s office in Japan, the International Environmental Technology Centre (IETC). The IMOS component has been designed and implemented by UNEP’s Post Conflict Assessment Unit (PCAU) in collaboration with the Division of Early Warning and Assessment/GRID-Europe.

Original press release: Iraqi Marshlands: On The Road to Recovery (UNEP)


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ColinJEly
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Post by ColinJEly » Mon Sep 08, 2008 11:42 am

Why can't we as a nation build a pipeline from the overflowing North Qld rivers to the headwaters of the Darling? If we can build the Snowy Mountains Scheme, something like this would be a walk in the park. This would be part of a multi-layered approach to solving the Murray Darling's problems.

duane
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Post by duane » Mon Sep 08, 2008 2:35 pm

Col

the obvious and 'simple' solution, although expensive, has been around a long while.

While we humans think we know better and can be better engineers than Mother Nature, Peter clearly doesn't think piping is a solution or the solution. Putting more water into the MDBS sounds like it should be the simple solution ...but alas its not.

There is a complete lack of understanding of the natural components of the MDBS and failure to understand these funtioning components have brought the system to its knees.

Floodplains which used to be full of water are now pumped dry and areas which were wetted only ever so often are now cotinually irrigated with tradional irrigation. This, along with the double over allocation of river and floodplain water ( once considered separate but really all the same) has meant SALT is being moved everywhere in the system and farmers, irrigators and regulators have not got a clue how to fix it.

A good flush of the system would be great except every 'greedy' person along the whole system would be taking what they can whenever they can.

Until the new federally set MD Authority understands the natural processes and functions no one is going to win.

Peter has a MODEL of how the MD used to run naturally and that model shows clearly how agriculture and a healthy MD environment can co exist together with water enough for both.

NOT ONE POLITICAN OR BUREAUCRAT IS RUSHING TO HIS PETER'S TO FIND OUT.

duane
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Post by duane » Wed Sep 24, 2008 7:38 pm

Rally for the Murray!

This Sunday, September 28th

12 Noon

Victoria Square/Tarndanyangga, Adelaide SA

MC – 5AA Mornings announcer Leon Byner

Speakers include:
Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young
Independent Senator Nick Xenophon
Matt Rigney - Chairperson of Murray Lower Darling Rivers Indigenous Nations
Dr David Paton - University of Adelaide

Professor Di Bell - Candidate for Mayo By-election
We need a big crowd to send strong message to Canberra to save our Murray!

Bring the whole family

See you there!

For more information

Email: laura.butterworth@aph.gov.au

Phone: (08)8231 9911

duane
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Post by duane » Mon Jan 12, 2009 12:20 pm

This is a link to a blog on the Permaculture forum by Tim Auld. I think it to be an excellent article. Click on http://www.forums.permaculture.org.au/v ... f=6&t=9690

I wrote to Tim telling him of my comments and asked him if he would like to post it here. But I have now provided a link back to his original post on the permie forum.

Ice Czar
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Post by Ice Czar » Fri Feb 13, 2009 1:35 pm

duane wrote:
While we humans think we know better and can be better engineers than Mother Nature
being new here, I hope you'll excuse me if I take you at your word
rather than at your meaning

Your meaning is quite clear and I agree with it. That we are short sighted and act without a full appreciation of the consequences for a short term benefit.

But the underlying premise that nature is infallible or the optimum solution is equally flawed. Life does take maximum advantage of whatever accidents of nature (geological, hydrological, climatic) are available. But the promise of NSF or permaculture or simply agriculture exceeds restoration, and encompasses mimicry of the highest sustainable systems that nature from time to time accidentally combines to form.

Just as often nature ends up with the Dead Sea or the Great Salt Lake :p

Granted there is plenty of reclamation of our idiocy to do, but sustainable ecological engineering, the creation from scratch of sustainable systems is largely why Im here learning ;)

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Post by novaris » Fri Feb 13, 2009 1:46 pm

But the promise of NSF or permaculture or simply agriculture exceeds restoration, and encompasses mimicry of the highest sustainable systems that nature from time to time accidentally combines to form.
I think many times people forget that we are part of nature, we are not somehow separate from it. All of our activity good or bad is just another part of natures combination's.
Everything in moderation, including moderation.

Shirley Henderson
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Toxic acid in the Murray Darling

Post by Shirley Henderson » Sun May 17, 2009 11:23 am

On Catalyst the other night I watched a show about the Murray Darling and the water (or lack of). The CSIRO scientists concluded that the way to save water and return it to the Darling would be to burn all the new growth vegetation that resprouted after a fire because the mass regeneration of vegetation would suck up all the groundwater. Where is the small water cycle configured into that? Surely without vegetation the land would be exposed to erosion, evaporation, no moisture retention and lack of microorganisms in the soil. They spoke of the dammed water higher up the river system and how this needs to be slowly released to accommodate the needs of the Murray Darling. I am afraid I do not trust these scientists to know how much that should be or what the Murray Darling needs. Sadly, the pH of the soil and water far down the system on the way to South Australia is 1.75, to low to support any life, toxic and from what they said, will burn if it came into contact with their skin. So even if water was to flow into that area it could only transport a dangerous, toxic acid down stream (fatal to humans and I am sure most life forms) that would have to be blocked from doing so. This is really dire. What can South Australia do? Can NSF principles fix this?
Shirley

ColinJEly
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Post by ColinJEly » Mon May 18, 2009 8:35 pm

There was an item on the weekend about the rainwater from the recent rains in Queensland coming down the Channel Country and into Lake Eyre. Is some of this water also making its way down the Darling and thence into the Murray?

duane
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Post by duane » Mon May 18, 2009 10:00 pm

Col

Pulled this off ABC News

Murray irrigators await floodwaters from Qld
By Nance Haxton

Posted Thu Jan 24, 2008 9:22pm AEDT
Updated Mon Jan 28, 2008 11:02am AEDT

It could take weeks before Murray irrigators see a clear picture of the water situation. (Lew Wray)
While residents of low-lying towns in western Queensland will be happy to see the water level fall, drought-affected communities along the Darling River can't wait for the water to arrive.

A huge water surge has already got the river flowing again in the far-west New South Wales town of Wilcannia.

Today Prime Minister Kevin Rudd announced increased financial assistance to help families hit by the severe flooding, with concessional loans of up to $150,000 now available, funded by the Federal and State Governments.

While floodwaters are receding in Charleville, some of that is now surging down the Darling River, causing great excitement in the communities that rely on the system to survive.

Broken Hill resident and the treasurer of the Darling River Action Group, Marie Wecker, says the water flows have lifted people's spirits after years of drought.

"The Darling River at Wilcannia is almost up to the bridge - I mean that river has been totally dry for a long time - and that was probably one of the best things I've seen for a while," she said.

"But on our Menindee Lakes, we're seeing Wetherell almost full now. They're starting to let water go into Pamamaroo. Wetherell is Broken Hill's water supply.

"But also, the Menindee Lakes also are of a huge benefit to Adelaide and the lower Murray. So it would take the pressure off Adelaide as well."


The waiting game

But how much of that water will make it to the River Murray is yet to be seen.

Chief executive of the Murray Darling Basin Commission, Wendy Craik, says there are many variables involved and it could take weeks before a clear picture emerges.

"Some of that water is already in the Murray-Darling Basin," she said.

"The floods in Augathella and Charleville, that's in the basin itself and the Warrego's in the basin.

"But how much of it will make its way into the Darling and how much of that will make its way into Lake Menindee is really a bit of an open question at this stage."

Irrigators on the Murray River will have to wait for a little while yet to see what benefit they get.

"It'll be some time before we know whether Menindee will come under commission control and until then irrigators on the Murray, really, we're left with Hume, Dartmouth and Lake Victoria as our major storages," Ms Craik said.

It's a scenario all too familiar to the director of South Australian Murray Irrigators, Tim Whetstone.

He says they are desperately in need of any flows they can get after struggling with irrigation restrictions for three of the last four years.

"This year we've been on severe restrictions and it's really telling the tale on not only on the permanent plantings but also the communities are starting to show signs of suffering," he said.


Editor's note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that floods in Emerald would flow into the Murray-Darling system. This has been amended floods, as it is in fact floods from Charleville that may reach the Murray.
This is old news....others may have a more recent update. Duane.

Angela Helleren
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Post by Angela Helleren » Tue May 19, 2009 4:30 pm

For those who didn't catch ABC 7.30 Report last night - An update on Lake Eyre.

http://www.abc.net.au/7.30/content/2009/s2574064.htm
Many hands make light work.
Unfortunately, too many hands stirring anti clockwise, has spoiled mother natures recipe.
Back to basics.

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