The weekly wash-up – August 19th

River and water news –  August 19th, 2014

Scientists study “talking turtles” in Amazon   Scientists working in the Brazilian Amazon have found that Giant South American river turtles use several different kinds of vocal communication to coordinate their social behaviors. Female turtles were recorded calling to their newly hatched offspring in what is the first instance of recorded parental care in turtles.

Cambodia’s LS2 dam a disaster in the making   The Lower Sesan 2 Dam (LS2) will be the first large hydropower dam built in the Mekong River Basin in Cambodia. The dam would block two of the Mekong River’s largest tributaries — the Sesan and Srepok Rivers — creating a large reservoir that would force a number of villages to relocate. However many tens of thousands of people upstream and downstream will also be affected because of the devastating impact on fish and fisheries in areas far beyond the dam’s planned reservoir.

The Nam ou RIver, Laos. Fishing communities along the Mekong are likely to be negatively impacted by a new dam. Photo: International Rivers.

The Nam ou River, Laos. Fishing communities along the Mekong are likely to be negatively impacted by a new dam. Photo: International Rivers.

Murray-Darling plan put to test     As farmers struggle to deal with drought across large parts of New South Wales, the Murray-Darling Basin water-sharing plan is set to be put to the test. While graziers near the Macquarie Marshes are concerned parts of the marshes are dying off through lack of water, irrigators around Mildura are worried  they won’t have enough water for their crops. Despite current unrest, the Murray Darling Basin Authority’s chairman said he did not believe there would be a return to the water wars seen before the plan’s implementation.

Wild Rivers legislation repealed   The 13 rivers in Cape York and in Queensland’s western Channel Country previously protected under the Wild Rivers legislation will now be protected under the new Regional Interest Planning  Act. Under the new framework, planning decisions will now be made through either local government planning schemes, or regional interest development approvals at the state level.

Rare daisy find leads to wetlands recovery project   Ecologists hope to ensure the survival of a small, highly endangered daisy by reintroducing it to a wetlands area of eastern South Australia. The spiny daisy was considered long extinct until a chance discovery of the native species near Laura in the mid-north of SA. Hundreds of cuttings now are being planted at Banrock Station wetlands in the SA Riverland, to boost the conservation effort.

Familiar fish “form friendships”   Fish form friendships and guide each other to food, a new study suggests. Scientists found that stickleback recognise other fish that they have previously been housed with and spend more time interacting with them than with unfamiliar ones.

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