Application of the Hydrogeological Landscape characterization tool to enable strategic natural resource management in upland to transitional catchments

Date & time

5.30–6.15pm 19 September 2017


Jaeger 1 Seminar Room, RSES


Associate Professor Leah Moor

Event series


 Patrick Carr

Abstract: Why do we want to know how water moves through and over different landscapes? 

Over the past 20 years a team of researchers from NSW OEH, NSW DPI, the University of Canberra and Geoscience Australia have been using their understanding of regolith geology, hydrogeology, geomorphology, vegetation and soils to develop conceptual models explaining how water moves through and over different parts of the upland to transitional NSW landscape. This has culminated in the development of the Hydrogeological Landscapes (HGL) methodology which enables the development of so called 'rich resources' for natural resource management (NRM). Applications for this research include: dryland salinity hazard mitigation, prioritization for wetland management under changing land use and climate scenarios, strategic use of vegetation in agricultural landscapes to enhance NRM outcomes, urban/peri-urban planning and more.  This research has been variably impacted by changes to federal and state governments commitments to environmental research. Studying hydrogeology and hydrology through the Millennium Drought has also proved challenging. New directions include the use of Self Organising Maps to test the rigour of HGL mapping, and the use of NARCLIM climate modeling to explore near future and far future climate scenarios to anticipate landscape change.

Bio:Dr Leah Moore studied physical volcanology and engineering geology at Auckland University before completing a PhD in Quaternary and Regolith Studies (weathering of the Eastern Australian basalts) in the early 1990s at ANU in the CRC LEME1. Leah taught in ANU Geology (sedimentology and igneous petrology) throughout this period and also taught in the Earth Science program at the University of Canberra. She was then a Visiting Fellow in volcanology at Monash University, working at active centres and on volcanic exposures in Italy, Japan, Iceland, New Zealand, USA and New Zealand., and worked with IODP inn the southern Indian Ocean at Kerguelen Plateau - a large igneous province (LIP). Leah came back to Canberra, coordinated first year geology at ANU, then moved to the CRC LEME1 then CRC LEME2 node at the University of Canberra in the late 1990's. At this time Leah established the Dryland Salinity Hazard Mitigation Program (DSHMP) and became a member of the NSW Salt Team working in regolith geology/hydrogeology, geomorphology and soils with a view to understanding processes in upland saline landscapes. Leah also has a passion for teaching and commenced teaching teachers in Science Education in 2003. Leah also was on the National Advisory Panel for development of the Australian Curriculum (Science) and played an active role in establishing the new Earth and Environmental Science subject at Year 11 and 12 to be taught in parallel with Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics to 2020. Leah is currently the Vice President of the Australasian Science Education Research Association (ASERA) and the Australia-Pacific representative on the International Council for Associations of Science Education (ICASE). For the past two decades Leah and her students have been studying structural, regolith and geomorphic controls on hydrogeologic pathways through landscapes, initially to understand the processes of salt storage and mobilization in the landscape, but more recently for a range of other water dependent landscape processes. This has culminated in the development, with peers from NSW OEH, NSW DPI and Geoscience Australia, of the Hydrogeological Landscape methodology for landscape characterization for natural resource management applications. Leah is currently the President of the Australian Regolith Geoscientists Association (ARGA), and the Australian Universities Geoscience Education Network (AUGEN).

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