on Friday August 7th 1998 (200-300mm) lifted the abandoned pontoon
dredge and washed it 1.5 km through a buffer zone (supposed to protect
the Wingecarribee Reservoir). The dredge ended up in the Reservoir.
the dredge swept downstream into the Reservoir, its legs extending
10-15 feet through the hull of the pontoon like twin keels or knives,
ripped a strip out of the Buffer Zone" between the dredge pool
and the Reservoir. The Buffer Zone
was meant to protect the Reservoir from peat mining.
dredge dug a channel through the peat that was about 1500m long
by 10m wide. [see photos] Backed up floodwaters
burst through the channel carrying agricultural and urban runoff
into the Reservoir. The northern banks of the swamp caved in and
the peatland vegetation was churned up all the way from the mining
site to the head of the swamp several kilometres upstream. About
5 million cubic metres of peat flowed in the Reservoir.
"The swamp had collapsed, its whole topography and geography
transformed overnight. A Wetland of National (perhaps international)
significance was reduced to a torn and twisted wreck" which
may take hundreds of years to fully rehabilitate.
Robertson Environmental Protection Society, 1998.
'Case Study: Wingecarribee Swamp', Water: Wet or Dry?: The Proceedings
of the Water and Wetlands Management Conference, November 1998,
Nature Conservation council of NSW, August 1999, pp.90-97.