Tomago Wetland Remote Monitoring

Client: National Parks and Wildlife Service
Year: 2005-Ongoing
Project Reference: 08024

The Water Research Laboratory is working with the NSW Department of Climate Change (NPWS) to examine how coastal wetlands evolve following tidal restoration. Dr William Glamore of WRL has been working with NPWS staff to restore Tomago Wetlands (part of the Kooragang Wetland Ramsar Site) since 2005. At this site SmartGates were developed and installed to allow for controlled tidal exchange. Following a series of field trials and on-ground works the SmartGates were opened to full tidal flushing in September 2008.

Monitoring of the restored site involves field sampling of surface and groundwater quality, biological monitoring of flora types and routine bird monitoring. To further monitor the long-term evolution of the site and allow for offsite management, a digital camera was installed atop an 18 m tall pole. The camera is in a fixed position and currently takes images 5 times per day. These images are then sent to the WRL servers via the 3G network and displayed on this website for viewing and archiving. Each 5 Mp image is labelled with a date and time stamp of when the image was taken. The latest snapshot is shown on the webpage (click on the image to see in full screen) and the past weeks images are available for viewing (click on the words “latest snapshot” to view the archive). Note that images taken during morning or night may not have sufficient light and appear black.

Installing camera on 18 m high pole

The images are currently being used for several purposes, these include:

  • Assessing the coverage of tidal water with time
  • Determining the hydroperiod and related plant species
  • Determining how the dendritic channel network evolves with time
  • Assessing the type and quantity of birds onsite throughout the day
  • Determining the impact of large rainfall events on the site and drainage patterns
  • Assessing whether the SmartGates should be operated based on real-time onsite conditions
  • Reducing vandalism onsite
  • Calculating the evolution of saltmarsh using red shift filters
  • Determining if cattle or other unwanted species are gaining access to the site

Additional images can be taken as required throughout the day. The camera can also be rotated at preset times to take images in alternative locations. Onsite field measurements of discharge and water level are being used in conjunction with the camera to determine the flux of key surface water quality constituents.

Further information can be obtained from Dr William Glamore at: or (02) 8071 9868.




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