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Attributes by theme

Theme: Biota

Flora and fauna living in a particular location or habitat.

Attributes for theme: Biota
Attribute name Description Type Level Applicable wetland systems
Flora Composition Flora compositions refers to the genus of dominant or predominant flora, that is the species that contributes most to the overall above-ground biomass of the ecosystem. Attribute
  • Palustrine
  • Lacustrine
  • Riverine
Vegetation Cover Cover is the percentage of the ground surface covered by the vertical projection of the periphery of plant crowns. Qualifier
  • Palustrine
  • Lacustrine
  • Riverine
Flora Growth Form Growth form refers to the growth form of vegetation in the ecologically dominant stratum. Attribute
  • Palustrine
  • Lacustrine
  • Riverine
Growth Height Growth height refers to the height of vegetation in the ecologically dominant stratum relative to their growth form. Qualifier
  • Palustrine
  • Lacustrine
  • Riverine
Wetland Regional Ecosystem Vegetation communities in a bioregion that are consistently associated with a particular combination of geology, landform and soil. Component - Typology
  • Palustrine
  • Lacustrine
  • Riverine
Wetland Regional Ecosystem Percent List of the percentage of each wetland regional ecosystem in the polygon. In some instances, the percentage of each wetland regional ecosystem in the polygon may not be available, however, in these instances the total percentage of wetland regional ecosystems in the polygon may be displayed instead. Qualifier
  • Palustrine
  • Lacustrine
  • Riverine
Regional Ecosystem List of regional ecosystem in the polygon including regional ecosystems that are not considered to be wetlands. Qualifier
  • Habitat
  • Palustrine
  • Lacustrine
  • Riverine
Regional Ecosystem Percent List of the percentage of each regional ecosystem in the polygon including regional ecosystems that are not considered to be wetlands. Qualifier
  • Habitat
  • Palustrine
  • Lacustrine
  • Riverine
Regional Ecosystem Wetland System List of wetland systems by regional ecosystem in the polygon, including regional ecosystems that are not considered to be wetlands. Qualifier
  • Habitat
  • Palustrine
  • Lacustrine
  • Riverine
Wetland Percentage Wetland percentage refers to the percentage of the total polygon area that is estimated to comprise wetlands. Qualifier
  • Palustrine
  • Lacustrine
  • Riverine
Surrounding Vegetation Vegetation is an important attribute and can provide strong differentiation between ecosystems. This attribute focuses on the dominant vegetation surrounding waterholes, specifically waterholes in palustrine or riverine systems. However, in some cases the non-dominant vegetation may also be important and incorporated into this attribute (AETG 2012). Vegetation surrounding waterholes plays an important role in providing habitat and a food source for terrestrial and aquatic species (Sheldon et al. 2010). Vegetation can also impact the temperature, mixing state, turbidity, canopy cover and water colour which all in turn impact the ecology of a waterhole (Epaphras et al. 2007; Steward et al. 2011). A more detailed floristic categorisation of vegetation may provide further classification of surrounding vegetation if required. Attribute
  • Community 
  • Waterhole
Shading Shading refers to the percentage of shade or canopy covering the waterhole from surrounding vegetation, rocks, buildings or any other features. Shading can influence many aspects of water quality including: temperature maxima; temperature minima; and measures associated with primary production such as dissolved oxygen and pH variation over 24 hours (Bunn et al. 2006; Steward et al. 2011). Timing of data collection related to this attribute should be carefully considered and consistent across all waterholes. Qualifier
  • Community 
  • Waterhole
Structural Macrobiota Composition * The composition of sessile habitat-forming species. Their presence increases spatial complexity, altering local environmental conditions that leads to colonisation by a diverse assemblage of organisms. Ther term "macrobiota" implies that an organism must be visible to the naked eye. The structuring role of macrobiota can include both three dimensional and two dimensional structure. Attribute

Theme: Climate

Long-term or general atmospheric conditions in a particular place or region.

Attributes for theme: Climate
Attribute name Description Type Level Applicable wetland systems
Climate Class Major climate classes represent six principle groups at the regional scale considering the climatic limitations of native vegetation. Climate classes at the landscape/seascape scale refine these principle groups into 27 groups considering the seasonal distribution of temperature and precipitation. These classes are developed using an objective classification based on Köppen scheme. Classification incorporates mean monthly rainfall, annual rainfall, maximum temperatures, and minimum temperatures based on the standard 30-year period 1961-1990. Climate can be considered contemporary modifiers of the biogeographic distribution and evolutionary traits of habitats, especially as they relate to quantity and seasonality. Component - Typology
  • Palustrine
  • Lacustrine
  • Riverine
Climate Region Climate region represent a combination of major climate class and biogeographic subregion. Component - Typology
  • Palustrine
  • Lacustrine
  • Riverine
Potential Evapotranspiration Multi-decadal mean annual potential evapotranspiration Process
  • Palustrine
  • Lacustrine
  • Riverine
Potential Evapotranspiration Timing Multi-decadal maximum potential evapotranspiration timing Qualifier
  • Palustrine
  • Lacustrine
  • Riverine
Precipitation Multi-decadal mean annual precipitation Process
  • Palustrine
  • Lacustrine
  • Riverine
Precipitation Timing Multi-decadal mean precipitation timing Qualifier
  • Palustrine
  • Lacustrine
  • Riverine
Phase-Offset Phase-offset refers to the difference (in months) between the timing of maximum mean annual precipitation and mean potential evapotranspiration. This metric displays the variability in the supply of water and energy, which ultimately drives the surface freshwater availability in Australia (Donohue et al. 2010). Qualifier
  • Palustrine
  • Lacustrine
  • Riverine
Aridity Index Aridity index refers to an indicator of the degree of dryness of the climate at a given location based on mean annual precipitation and mean evapotranspiration. Component - Typology
  • Palustrine
  • Lacustrine
  • Riverine
Temperature Multi-decadal mean annual daily temperature Attribute
  • Palustrine
  • Lacustrine
  • Riverine
Rainfall Queensland has some of highest and lowest annual rainfall in Australia. The volume of rainfall that an area receives (Table 4) plays a role in waterhole presence, persistence, connection to the boarder landform unit, water source and connection to ground water (Jardine et al. 2011; McJannet et al. 2014). Attribute
  • Waterhole
Potential Evapotranspiration Evapotranspiration is the term used for the transfer of water, as water vapour, to the atmosphere from vegetated and un-vegetated land surfaces. The factors influencing evapotranspiration are climate, availability of water, and vegetation. Potential evapotranspiration (PET) is determined under the conditions of unlimited water supply (BOM 2016b). Attribute
  • Waterhole
Phase-Offset The difference between the month’s maximum precipitation and maximum potential evapotranspiration determines the phase-offset (in months) between the maximum seasonal cycles of precipitation and potential evapotranspiration. This metric displays the variability in the supply of water and energy, which ultimately drives the surface freshwater availability in Australia (Donohue et al. 2010). This attribute is technically a typology as it involves more than one attribute in order to create it. However, it is included in the classification scheme as experts determined it is an important factor in describing and classifying waterholes of Queensland. Component - Typology
  • Waterhole
Aridity Index Aridity index is an indicator of the degree of dryness of the climate at a given location where P is the average precipitation of a location and PET is the average potential evapotranspiration. The balance of these two metrics provides an indication of a location’s aridity index calculating if a location is energy or water limited. This attribute is technically a typology as it involves more than one attribute in order to create it. However, it is included in the classification scheme as experts determined it is an important factor in describing and classifying waterholes of Queensland. Component - Typology
  • Waterhole

Theme: Ecology

The relationships between the atmosphere, land, water, and ecological systems.

Attributes for theme: Ecology
Attribute name Description Type Level Applicable wetland systems
Shading Shading refers to the dominant amount of sunlight that an ecosystem receives that drives primary productivity, species diversity, and nutrient cycling. Qualifier
  • Palustrine
  • Lacustrine
  • Riverine
Wetland System Dominant wetland system that is the dominant broad wetland system based on their general characteristics which is useful for managing wetlands with different functional needs. Component All
Original Wetland System Original dominant wetland system that is the dominant broad wetland system prior to habitat level hydrological modification based on their general characteristics which is useful for managing wetlands with different functional needs. Component All
Wetland Regional Ecosystem System List of wetland system for each wetland regional ecosystem in the polygon. Qualifier
  • Palustrine
  • Lacustrine
  • Riverine

Theme: Geology

Rocks and similar substances that comprise the Earth's surface.

Attributes for theme: Geology
Attribute name Description Type Level Applicable wetland systems
Geological Rock Type Physical characteristics of underlying rock. Component
  • Palustrine
  • Lacustrine
  • Riverine
Soil Texture Soil texture refers to the relative proportion of clay, sand, and silt in the soil. Attribute
  • Palustrine
  • Lacustrine
  • Riverine
Substrate Composition Categorises the composition of land's surface. The benthic substrate can influence ecology as it can limit or increase nutrient availability, affect pH and water quality (AETG 2012). In a riverine waterhole, the benthic substrate composition can restrict groundwater exchange to shallow aquifers during periods of no flow, due to sedimentation of fine clay that forms an impermeable layer. Attribute
  • Palustrine
  • Lacustrine
  • Riverine
Sediment Grain Size Categorises the dominant size of soil and other unconsolidated sediments. Attribute
  • Palustrine
  • Lacustrine
  • Riverine

Theme: Hydrology

Characteristics of water systems including substances and their interactions.

Attributes for theme: Hydrology
Attribute name Description Type Level Applicable wetland systems
Dissolved Oxygen Dissolved oxygen refers to the amount of dissolved oxygen in the water. Attribute
  • Community 
  • Palustrine
  • Lacustrine
  • Riverine
Hardness Water hardness refers to the concentration of calcium ions within water. However, other cations (e.g. aluminium, iron, magnesium, manganese, and zinc) may also contribute to water hardness. Attribute
  • Community 
  • Palustrine
  • Lacustrine
  • Riverine
pH pH refers to the acidity or basicity of water on a scale of 0 to 14. pH has a major impact on both habitat conditions and biota found at a location. pH may be influenced by the surrounding landscape (geological setting, water balance, quality, type of soils, vegetation and land use) which in turn dictates habitat of the aquatic environment. Attribute
  • Palustrine
  • Lacustrine
  • Riverine
Salinity Salinity refers to the amount of dissolved salt in the water. Attribute
  • Palustrine
  • Lacustrine
  • Riverine
Trophic Level Trophic level refers to the amount of biologically useful nutrients dissolved in water. Attribute
  • Community 
  • Palustrine
  • Lacustrine
  • Riverine
Wetland Habitat Hydrological Modification Wetland habitat modification is a typology incorporating anthropogenic activities at the habitat level that alter wetland hydrology, the affected wetland system and resultant wetland system. Qualifier
  • Palustrine
  • Lacustrine
  • Riverine
Wetland Landscale Hydrological Modification Landscape wetland modification is a typology incorporating anthropogenic activities at a landscape level that alter wetland hydrology. Qualifier
  • Palustrine
  • Lacustrine
  • Riverine
Wetland Hydrological Naturalness Wetland naturalness refers to the degree of anthropogenic influence at the habitat level on the wetland. Qualifier
  • Palustrine
  • Lacustrine
  • Riverine
Wetland Habitat Hydrological Modification Activity Wetland habitat modification activity refers to the dominant observable activity at the habitat level that alters wetland hydrology. This does not define what hydrological change has occurred as a result of the activity. Qualifier
  • Palustrine
  • Lacustrine
  • Riverine
Colour Colour refers to the colour of water that largely results from dissolved organic matter (e.g. humic and fulvic acids). Attribute
  • Community 
  • Palustrine
  • Lacustrine
  • Riverine
Commence to Fill Commence to fill refers to the timing of water accumulation in the ecosystem. Qualifier
  • Palustrine
  • Lacustrine
Floodplain Floodplain refers to whether a wetland occurs within an active floodplain. Component
  • Palustrine
  • Lacustrine
  • Riverine
Mixing State Characterises the homogenity of the water column Attribute
  • Community 
  • Palustrine
  • Lacustrine
  • Riverine
Permanence of Water Permanence of water refers to the timing of water inundation in a wetland. Attribute
  • Palustrine
  • Lacustrine
  • Riverine
Permanence of Water in the Broader Landform Unit Permanence of water in the broader landform unit refers to the timing of water inundation in a broader wetland or floodplain. Attribute
  • Landscape 
  • Palustrine
  • Lacustrine
Residence Extent Residence extent refers to the area of water that is present relative to the maximum wetland extent. Residence time can have a large influence on the habitat conditions and subsequent biotic assemblages. Attribute
  • Palustrine
Residence Extent of Open Water Residence extent of open water refers to the area of open water that is present relative to the maximum wetland extent. Residence time can have a large influence on the habitat conditions and subsequent biotic assemblages. Attribute
  • Lacustrine
Residence Time Residence time refers to the amount of time that water is present. Residence time can have a large influence on the habitat conditions and subsequent biotic assemblages. Attribute
  • Palustrine
Residence Time of Open Water Residence time of open water refers to the amount of time that open water is present. Residence time can have a large influence on the habitat conditions and subsequent biotic assemblages. Attribute
  • Lacustrine
Time First Observed Time first observed refers to the year when water was first observed in an artificial wetland. Qualifier
  • Palustrine
  • Lacustrine
Timing Periodicity Timing periodicity refers to the tendency of variations in the presence of water in the wetland to reoccur through time. Qualifier
  • Palustrine
  • Lacustrine
Topographic Drainage Topographic drainage refers to where water flows and drains across the landscape based on drainage-enforced elevation models. Component
  • Palustrine
  • Lacustrine
  • Riverine
Water Clarity Water clarity is the degree of transparency of water enabling penetration of light, excluding light attenuation by the water column. Water is commonly called turbid when water clarity is low due to the presence of matter suspended within the water column scattering, reflecting and attenuating light which gives water the appearance of being cloudy or hazy. Water clarity influences ecological health including supporting the provision of habitat protection for juvenile fish. Attribute
  • Community 
  • Palustrine
  • Lacustrine
  • Riverine
Relative Dominance of Water Sources The relative requirements of an ecosystem for water from different sources. Water source has a significant impact on the specific environmental conditions found at a location and therefore influences habitat and biota. Attribute
  • Palustrine
  • Lacustrine
  • Riverine
Water Source Distance Water source distance refers to the geographic distance between an ecosystem and its dominant water source. Attribute
  • Palustrine
  • Lacustrine
  • Riverine
Aquifer Groundwater Flow System Aquifer Groundwater Flow Systems depict groundwater flow systems at a habitat scale based on their hydrogeological characteristics using a combination of geology, geomorphology and topographical information. Groundwater flow systems are characterised by their flow path lengths and corresponding ability to respond to hydrological change caused by alteration to the natural environment. Component
  • Palustrine
  • Lacustrine
  • Riverine
Aquifer Name Name of the source aquifer or aquifer ecosystem. Commonly the name of the source aquifer refers to the geological formation in which it exists. None
  • Palustrine
  • Lacustrine
  • Riverine
Water Source This attribute describes the relative dominance of water sources for a waterhole. It is acknowledged that there may be more than one water source. Water source has a major influence on the type of habitat present and therefore is important in the creation of waterhole typologies (AETG 2012). Attribute
  • Landscape 
  • Waterhole
Colour The colour of natural water is mainly derived from dissolved organic matter such as humic and fulvic acids from soils and decaying organic matter. Waste discharge, dissolution of metals, oxidisation and bacteria can also influence water colour (Bennett & Drikas 1993; National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) 2011). Water colour can impact the ecology of waterholes by interfering with interactions of species and their food source (Estlander et al. 2010). High humic waters can disturb prey detection and foraging ability of fish species to source their food (De Robertis et al. 2003). Water colour also impacts the light availability for aquatic plant (i.e. macrophytes) to grow and survive (Estlander et al. 2009).
True colour measured in Hazen Units (HU) is the metric commonly used to measure water colour. HU are recommended for measuring water colour but non-binding to the application of this classification.
Attribute
  • Community 
  • Waterhole
Water Clarity Water clarity is the degree of transparency of water. Water is commonly called turbid when water clarity is low due to the presence of matter suspended within the water column scattering, reflecting and attenuating light which gives water the appearance of being cloudy or hazy (Ziegler 2002). Changes to waterhole water clarity can alter light availability, the amount of photic substrate and nutrient availability. Water clarity can also be an indicator of condition and productivity of aquatic systems (Atkinson et al. 2015). It is understood that water clarity has declined in many waterholes since European settlement due to increased sediment runoff as a result of the removal of groundcover by grazing and croplands (Reid et al. 2017). The water clarity of a waterhole can vary due to the soil type in the surrounding area (Water by Design 2013).
This attribute is commonly measured as the maximum turbidity in Nephelometric Turbidity Units (NTU). However, the use of NTU are non-binding to the application of this classification.
Attribute
  • Community 
  • Waterhole
Salinity Salinity is the concentration of salts in water and has a major impact on both habitat conditions and biota found at a location (AETG 2012). Salinity may be influenced by the surrounding landscape (geological setting, water balance, quality, type of soils, vegetation and land use) which in turn dictates habitat of the aquatic environment. The majority of Queensland’s streams, dams and waterholes have low salinity except for those within the central and southern Great Dividing Range, where some have been found to have moderate to high salinity (McNeil et al. 2005). This attribute only applies to waterholes within lacustrine, palustrine and riverine systems. Salinity in a waterhole can fluctuate temporally and a qualifier may need to be added for more context to this attribute.
This attribute is commonly represented in milligrams per litre (mg/L) as it is not constrained by any technology and other measurements can easily be converted to it. However, the use of mg/L are non-binding to the application of this classification.
Attribute
  • Community 
  • Waterhole
pH The pH of waterholes can vary due to a wide range of natural and anthropogenic factors including different levels of primary production, underlying geology and surrounding vegetation. A number of environmental processes can also alter the pH of waterholes including the disturbance of acid sulphate soils and eutrophication (Waltham et al. 2013; Water by Design 2013). pH can greatly affect the ability of organisms to survive within waterholes with pH shifts beyond optimal species range increasing organism stress and reducing survival rates (WetlandInfo 2017a). pH can fluctuate throughout the day (Waltham et al. 2013; Waltham et al. 2014), has been found to decrease moderately with depth within waterholes, and the lowest maximum pH value coincides with inflow events (Waltam et al. 2013). These temporal factors should be considered in planning data collection activities and may require the use of an attribute qualifier. Attribute
  • Community 
  • Waterhole
Dissolved Oxygen Dissolved oxygen (DO) can change dramatically over short time periods, fluctuating daily reflecting background photosynthesis within the waterbody increasing the concentration during the day due to oxygen production and decreasing the concentration at night due to respiration (Fellows et al. 2006; Fellows et al. 2009). Stagnant water, small waterhole surface area and long duration between flow events can cause low DO levels (DEHP 2009¬). Low DO levels can contribute significant stress to aquatic species and in extreme cases result in fish kills (Butler & Burrows 2007). Timing of sampling needs to be carefully considered and consistent. These temporal factors should be considered in planning data collection activities and may require the use of an attribute qualifier.
This attribute is commonly represented in either milligrams per litre (mg/L) or as a percentage of saturation. However, the specific choice of metric is non-binding to the application of this classification.
Attribute
  • Community 
  • Waterhole
Water Hardness Water hardness is a measure that reflects the concentration of calcium ions within water, however other cations such as iron, manganese, magnesium, zinc and aluminium also contribute to water hardness (South East Water 2017). Water hardness in this classification scheme is described in terms of calcium carbonate.
Water hardness is commonly expressed as the total amount in milligrams per litres of water (mg/L) (New South Wales (NSW) Department of Primary Industries (DPI) 2014). However, the specific choice of metric is non-binding to the application of this classification.
Attribute
  • Community 
  • Waterhole
Trophic Level Waterholes naturally have different nutrients levels due to their surrounding environment, residence time and components (Waltham et al. 2013). Anthropogenic pressure such as urbanisation and agriculture can accelerate the input of nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus into waterholes (Water by Design 2013) with sedimentation, fertiliser use and animal waste potentially resulting in large inputs of nutrients. High nutrient levels can lead to increased primary production such as algal blooms that can alter the food webs, water quality and dramatically reduce oxygen levels within waterholes (WetlandInfo 2017b). Attribute
  • Community 
  • Waterhole
Mixing State Thermal stratification forms layers within the water column which can have different temperatures, turbidity, pH, nutrients, light penetration, salinity and dissolved oxygen (BOM 2017). The mixing state represents how well the water column is mixing. Stratification and mixing states can have a huge influence on water quality and ecology. In highly stratified waterholes habitat availability for fish may be constricted to the hypolimnion layer where the temperature is within species optimal temperature range (Wallace et al. 2015). Turnover of layers, particularly if it occurs infrequently, spreads nutrients and toxins trapped in the hypolimnion layer throughout the water column potentially causing changes to the pH levels, DO% and toxicity (Waltham et al. 2013). Waterholes which have low flow, high turbidity or little riparian vegetation shading are susceptible to experiencing thermal stratification and a lack of mixing (Wallace et al. 2015; Waltham et al. 2014; Water by design 2013). This attribute may need a period qualifier attached to it as the mixing state may change seasonally. Attribute
  • Community 
  • Waterhole
Permanence of Water The permanence of water within a waterhole is a major determinate of the quality of the aquatic habitat and refugia it provides. Permanent and near-permanent waterholes provide vital refugia for aquatic species during dry periods or droughts (DSITI 2015b; Sheldon et al. 2010). Waterholes with reliable surface water are extremely important and can have a deep cultural, economic and/or environmental significance (Box et al. 2008).
Satellite imagery captured at a relevant scale can be used as inventory data to inform permanence of water, however the temporal resolution may reduce application confidence. Long-term field validation or data logging is the most reliable method for collecting inventory data for this attribute, however the availability of historical inventory data may be limited.
Attribute
  • Community 
  • Waterhole
Timing Predictability Timing predictability is a measure of the predictability of the inflow of water to waterholes. This can relate to the seasonality of rainfall in the area in which the waterhole resides. This attribute is able to separate waterholes found in the arid regions that experience extremely variable inflows from waterholes in the wet-dry tropics that experience predictable seasonal flow patterns. Predictability also considers how often waterholes experience connectivity within the broader landscape when inflow events occur (Water by Design 2013). This attribute may need a trend or a period qualifier attached to it as timing predictability may exhibit longer-term dynamism. Qualifier
  • Community 
  • Waterhole
Maximum Residence Time Maximum residence time is the maximum period of time water remains within a waterhole before exiting and is a temporal ratio of inflow to outflow. In some ephemeral systems, the water may only be replenished in certain months of the year or on an unpredictable long term basis (Kerezsy et al. 2013; Kingsford et al. 1999). The residence time impacts the ability of waterholes to sustain aquatic refugia and connect aquatic species throughout the landscape (Hamilton et al. 2005). A qualifier may need to be attached to this attribute reflecting period or trend changes. Attribute
  • Community 
  • Waterhole
Aquifer Confinement Aquifer confinement is the level of confinement of the source aquifer which influences the responsiveness of ecological conditions in the aquifer to surface conditions (e.g. rainfall). Aquifers can range in their degree of confinement (WetlandInfo 2014). Attribute
  • Community 
  • Waterhole
Waterhole and Groundwater Spatial Connectivity Regime Groundwater to surface water connectivity refers to the dominant interaction between surface water and groundwater which has an influence on habitat conditions and subsequent biota. Spatial connectivity reflects the direction of these interactions (Figure 12). Attribute
  • Community 
  • Waterhole

Theme: Hydrology - Physical

Attributes for theme: Hydrology - Physical
Attribute name Description Type Level Applicable wetland systems
Energy Source * Sources of energy driving water movement. Definitions sourced from Module 3, 4 – Intertidal and subtidal ecosystem types of Central Queensland. Attribute
  • Landscape 
Energy Magnitude * Energy magnitude describes the power of water that shapes the coastline, sea floor and patterns of biota. It is defined as the relative strength of the energy source class, independent of the source of the energy. Definitions sourced from Module 3, 4 – Intertidal and subtidal ecosystem types of Central Queensland. Attribute
  • Landscape 
Tidal Inundation * Tidal inundation is due to the periodic rise and fall of the water of oceans, seas, bays, etc. caused mainly by the gravitational interactions between the Earth, Moon and Sun. Definitions sourced from Module 3, 4 – Intertidal and subtidal ecosystem types of Central Queensland. Attribute
  • Landscape 
Residence Time Variability Residence time variability refers to the variability in the amount of time that water is present. Qualifier
  • Palustrine
Residence Time of Open Water Variability Residence time of open water variability refers to the variability in the amount of time that open water is present. Qualifier
  • Lacustrine
Residence Extent Variability Residence extent variability refers to the variability in the area of water that is present relative to the maximum wetland extent. Qualifier
  • Palustrine
Residence Extent of Open Water Variability Residence extent of open water variability refers to the variability in the area of open water that is present relative to the maximum wetland extent. Qualifier
  • Lacustrine
Commence to Fill Variability Commence to fill variability refers to the variability in the timing of water accumulation in the ecosystem. Qualifier
  • Habitat
  • Palustrine
  • Lacustrine

Theme: Hydrology - Chemical

No information available

Theme: Landform

The shape of the Earth's surface.

Attributes for theme: Landform
Attribute name Description Type Level Applicable wetland systems
Biogeographic Region Bioregions delineate regions with a similar set of major environmental influences (climate, geomorphology, landforms and lithology) that shape the occurrence of flora and fauna and their interaction with the physical environment. Component - Typology
  • Palustrine
  • Lacustrine
  • Riverine
Confinement Confinement refers to the degree to which topographic features (e.g. hillslopes) limit the lateral extent of an active riverine system. Attribute
  • Riverine
Land Zone Land zones represent major differences in geology and in the associated landforms, soils, and physical processes that give rise to distinctive landforms or continue to shape them. Component - Typology
  • Palustrine
  • Lacustrine
  • Riverine
Morphological Dimensions Morphological dimensions refers to the morphological shape of the feature. Attribute
  • Palustrine
  • Lacustrine
  • Riverine
Physiographic Region Physiographic provinces distinguish major physiographic changes based on similarities in landform characteristics and/or processes. Each province is described in terms of geology, structure, and broad regolith types. Phyiographic provinces can be used to interpret broad landscape processes providing biogeographic and evolutionary context for ecosystems and habitats. Component - Typology
  • Palustrine
  • Lacustrine
  • Riverine

Theme: Terrain

The physical features of a tract of land.

Attributes for theme: Terrain
Attribute name Description Type Level Applicable wetland systems
Altitude Altitude refers to the vertical distance between the wetland and Australian Height Datum. Attribute
  • Palustrine
  • Lacustrine
  • Riverine
Depression Depth (Maximum of Waterhole Landform Element) Depression Depth 1 (DD1) refers the maximum depression depth (Table 14) of the waterhole landform element. Depth is one of the most important attributes in determining water persistence within riverine waterholes (Cendon et al. 2010; Costelloe et al. 2007). Waterholes in the Moonie, Culgoa and Narran Rivers in the Murry Darling Basin (MDB) and in the Lake Eyre Basin (LEB) have all shown strong relationships between depth and waterhole persistence (Bowlen et al. 2015; Bunn et al. 2006; Hamilton et al. 2005; Lobegeiger 2010). In tropical north Queensland, deeper waterholes have also shown improved resistance to cattle disturbance (Pettit et al. 2012). The ability of a waterhole to be resilient and persist in a landscape influences their ability to provide aquatic refugia (McJannet et al. 2014). Attribute
  • Community 
  • Waterhole
Depression Depth (Surrounding Floodplain) Depression Depth 2 (DD2) is the depth of the surrounding landform the waterhole resides in. If a waterhole is a standalone feature (i.e. not within a wetland – landform element), this attribute may not be needed. For example, in a riverine waterhole DD2 may be the lower bank where water flows during the wet season and DD1 is waterholes level during the dry season. Contrastingly, for waterholes within a lacustrine wetland, DD2 may be the depth from the bottom of the waterhole to the bank of the lake. Attribute
  • Community 
  • Waterhole
Depression Depth (Surrounding Landform) Depression Depth 3 (DD3) refers to the depth of the surrounding floodplain the riverine waterhole resides in. DD3 may not be necessary for classifying all waterholes. Attribute
  • Community 
  • Waterhole
Terrain Morphology Shape of the landform surface Attribute
  • Palustrine
  • Lacustrine
  • Riverine
Terrain Slope Indication of the general or dominant slope of a morphological feature Attribute
  • Palustrine
  • Lacustrine
  • Riverine
Underlying Geology (Rock Type) At a landscape scale, this attribute refers to the broad geology of an area and can assist in determining vegetation communities and connectivity to groundwater (DSITI 2015a). At a community scale, this attribute refers to the underlying geology of the waterhole itself. Attribute
  • Landscape 
  • Community 
  • Waterhole
Benthic Substrate (Size) The benthic substrate is the material layer at the bottom of a waterhole which includes the sediment surface and some of the sub-surface layer. It’s an important attribute as it influences habitat and nutrient availability (Fellman et al. 2013; Pettit et al. 2012). Substrate sizes support different primary productivity, for example cobbles often support higher primary productivity compared with sand (Fellows et al. 2006). This attribute refers to the dominant benthic substrate size. Substrates generally occur in mixtures of grain sizes, therefore a practical application to describe benthic substrate in their mixed form is the Folk typology. This sediment texture typology is often easier to map than each separate grain size because dominant grain size may overlap with other subdominant grain sizes and boundaries may differ.
In contrast to the substrate size attribute categories (Table 12), the Folk typology further breaks down silt or clay into more categories based on the mix of clay, gravel, mud, sand, and silt. The remaining categories (i.e. pebble, cobble, boulder) are grouped together. Since boulders are an important feature of a waterhole, they can be extracted separately prior to the application of the Folk typology (DEHP 2017)
Attribute
  • Community 
  • Waterhole
Benthic Substrate (Composition) Benthic substrate (composition) refers to the substrate composition within the waterhole. The benthic substrate can influence the ecology of a waterhole as it can limit or increase nutrient availability, affect pH and water quality (AETG 2012; Fellman et al. 2013; Water by Design 2013). In a riverine waterhole, the benthic substrate composition can restrict groundwater exchange to shallow aquifers during periods of no flow due to sedimentation of fine clay that forms an impermeable layer. High flow events can scour the benthic substrate in riverine waterholes, causing erosion, sand splays and reconnection to groundwater (Gibling, Nanson & Marolis 1998). Attribute
  • Community 
  • Waterhole
Benthic Depth * Depth of the seafloor using the Australian Height Datum (AHD) also referred to as absolute relief. Definitions sourced from Module 3, 4 – Intertidal and subtidal ecosystem types of Central Queensland. Attribute
  • Landscape 
Terrain Morphology * The shape of the sea floor and intertidal area, analogous to the basic shapes that are measured through the process of marine geomorphometry. Definitions sourced from Module 3, 4 – Intertidal and subtidal ecosystem types of Central Queensland. Attribute
  • Landscape 

Theme: Other

Attributes for theme: Other
Attribute name Description Type Level Applicable wetland systems
Wetland Habitat Wetland habitats represent a typology that groups ecosystems for general management and planning purposes based on climate class, floodplain, flora composition, flora growth form, freshwater biogeographic province, groundwater flow system, permanence of water, salinity, source aquifer, substrate composition, substrate grain size, and wetland system. Component - Typology
Erosional Features This attribute, distinguishing erosional and depositional features, is important in understanding the hydrological processes. Erosional features (e.g. hillslope landforms) generally have shallower soil depths in comparison to depositional features (e.g. valley landforms) where material accumulates throughout time. This attribute is derived from processes and requires interpretation. In areas of erosional features (e.g. hillslope landforms), the hydrology is often driven by surface topography (Gallant & Dowling 2003). Attribute
  • Palustrine
  • Lacustrine
  • Riverine
Proximity to a Similar Waterhole This attribute requires the prior application of a typology or when attributes have been selected to define ‘similarity’ between waterholes. For example, a chosen attribute may be salinity and all waterholes classified as ‘fresh’ would be considered similar to each other. The proximity of fresh waterholes to each other would then be calculated and attributed. Attribute
  • Landscape 
  • Waterhole
Proximity to any other Waterhole This attribute refers to the proximity of a specific waterhole to any other. There can be many waterholes and waterhole types within a landscape. This attribute is quantifying their proximity to each other and potential connectivity. Attribute
  • Landscape 
  • Waterhole
Water Source Distance Water source distance is an attribute that describes how far water has to travel to enter a waterhole. This may vary depending on the drainage basin or region in which the waterhole is found. For example, waterholes in the Cooper Creek catchment depend largely on upstream monsoonal flooding events for their water source due to the low rainfall found in the region. Whereas the water source for waterholes in south-east Queensland comes from localised rainfall or upstream flows (Cendon et al. 2010; Kingsford et al. 1999). Attribute
  • Waterhole
Water Permanency in the Broader Landform Element This attribute describes how often the broader landform element is inundated. It is important in describing how often a waterhole is connected or disconnected to its broader landform unit, which can impact dispersal of aquatic species and connectivity between and within species populations (Sheldon et al. 2002; Sheldon et al. 2010). Attribute
  • Waterhole
Morphological Dimensions Morphological dimensions refer to the shape of waterholes on visual inspection from satellite imagery, aerial photography or on-ground surveys. Attribute
  • Waterhole
Erosional features This attribute, distinguishing erosional and depositional features, is important in understanding the hydrological processes of waterholes. Erosional features (e.g. hillslope landforms) generally have shallower soil depths in comparison to depositional features (e.g. valley landforms) where material accumulates throughout time. This attribute is derived from processes and requires interpretation. In areas of erosional features (e.g. hillslope landforms), the hydrology is often driven by surface topography (Gallant & Dowling 2003). Attribute
  • Waterhole
Dominant Wetland Habitat Dominant wetland habitat represent a typology that groups ecosystems for general management and planning purposes based on climate class, floodplain, flora composition, flora growth form, freshwater biogeographic province, groundwater flow system, permanence of water, salinity, source aquifer, substrate composition, substrate grain size, and wetland system. Component - Typology
  • Palustrine
  • Lacustrine

Theme: Substrate

Attributes for theme: Substrate
Attribute name Description Type Level Applicable wetland systems
Substrate Consolidation * Consolidated substrates are those which are not friable and have become hardened into substrates such as rock. Consolidated substrates are enduring, whereas unconsolidated or mixed substrates are less enduring. Consolidated subtrates provide attachment sites for a diversity of biota including coral reefs and other important bioconstructors. Attribute
Substrate Grain Size * Categorises the size of unconsolidated substrates by their diameter (regardless of composition). Definitions sourced from Module 3, 4 – Intertidal and subtidal ecosystem types of Central Queensland. Attribute
Substrate Composition * What constitutes the substrate of the sea floor and intertidal area, i.e. its make-up. Definitions sourced from Module 3, 4 – Intertidal and subtidal ecosystem types of Central Queensland. Attribute
Sediment Texture * In the field, substrate sediments usually occur as a mixture of grain sizes. Sediment texture describes the proportions of sand, gravel, and mud in sediment mixtures as defined by the Udden-Wentworth scale. The Folk typology summarise sediment textures in terms of percent mud, sand and gravel fractions. Component - Typology
  • Landscape 

Theme: Erosion

No information available

Theme: Geography

No information available

Theme: Atmosphere

No information available

Theme: Atmosphere - Physical

No information available

Theme: None

Attributes for theme: None
Attribute name Description Type Level Applicable wetland systems
Naturalness Naturalness refers to the degree of anthropogenic influence on the feature. Qualifier
  • Palustrine
  • Lacustrine
  • Riverine
Temporal Pattern Temporal or time series patterns include trends (increases and decreases over time), seasonal patterns (predictable patterns that repeat on a yearly or finer scale), and cyclic patterns (unpredictable patterns that repeat at different durations over a year). Qualifier
  • Palustrine
  • Lacustrine
  • Riverine
Period Periodicity refers to the tendency of variations to reoccur through time. Qualifier
  • Palustrine
  • Lacustrine
  • Riverine
Percent Percent refers to the relative percentage of the feature area that a category applies to. Qualifier
  • Palustrine
  • Lacustrine
  • Riverine
Unique ID Unique ID refers to a identifying code for this data version unique to each feature. None All
Naturalness Naturalness considers the integrity of a component and the degree of anthropogenic influence in describing the extent of human-induced change. Qualifier
  • Region
  • Landscape
  • Habitat
  • Community
  • Waterhole
Trend Trend provides information on persistence and variability over time of an attribute. Qualifier
  • Region
  • Landscape
  • Habitat
  • Community
  • Waterhole
Period Period provides additional detail on the period over which temporal variation is considered. Qualifier
  • Region
  • Landscape
  • Habitat
  • Community
  • Waterhole
Naturalness * Considers the integrity of a component and the degree of anthropogenic influence. Definitions sourced from Module 1; 2 – Master spreadsheet. Qualifier
  • Landscape 
Period * A descriptor of variability applied to an attribute, related to the period of time over which the variability of a component is observed (one of two qualifiers available to describe temporal change, the other being trend). Definitions sourced from Module 1; 2 – Master spreadsheet. Qualifier
  • Landscape 
Trend * A descriptor of variability applied to an attribute, providing information on the persistence and variability of a component over time (e.g. constant, fluctuating, cyclic, and increasing, etc.). (one of two qualifiers available to describe temporal change, the other being period). Definitions sourced from Module 1; 2 – Master spreadsheet. Qualifier
  • Landscape 
Cover * Provide additional detail on the relative composition of categories. This is critically important where either attributes or categories are not mutually exclusive. In mapping, the attribute qualifier 'cover' applies to mixed mapping units where more than one category is found within a mapping unit. It is applied using concatenation ensuring that living and non-living substrate adds up to 100%. Qualifier
  • Landscape 
Biotic Height * Provides additional information about the height of structural macrobiota composition. Each broad category of structural macrobiota (tier C1) has its own height range – for example the height range of mangroves (metres) is not comparable with that of seagrasses (centimetres to millimetres). Qualifier
  • Landscape 
Biomass * Provide additional detail on the relative composition of categories. Biomass is available where appropriate to characterise particular ecosystems where more information is required than height and cover to capture ecosystems (e.g. seagrasses where rhizome mass below the surface is a significant part of the ecosystem). Qualifier
  • Landscape
Area The maximum area of the ecosystem in hectares. None All
Wetland Name Wetland name refers to the common name of the wetland, where available. None All
Hydrological Data Quality Provides additional detail on the quantity of remotely sensed imagery used to determine hydrological attribution sourced from the Wetland Insight Tool. Qualifier
  • Palustrine
  • Lacustrine
Legend Legend combines information on wetland system, wetland habitat hydrological modification, and wetland percentage for the purposes of data visualisation. None All

Last updated: 18 September 2022

This page should be cited as:

Department of Environment, Science and Innovation, Queensland (2022) Attributes by theme, WetlandInfo website, accessed 1 February 2024. Available at: https://wetlandinfo.des.qld.gov.au/wetlands/facts-maps/wetland-background/qwcd/classification.html

Queensland Government
WetlandInfo   —   Department of Environment, Science and Innovation