Following an urgent request from the ACT Emergency Services Agency in early February, Alpha Company of the 6th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (6RAR), deployed to the Namadgi National Park to help protect Corin Dam from contaminated rainwater.
CAPTION: Soldiers from 6RAR are briefed by Scott Seymour from the ACT Environmental Services Agency before laying sediment traps in water-flow lines of the Corin Dam catchment in Namadgi National Park. Photo by Corporal Dan Pinhorn. Story by Flying Officer Evita Ryan.
RELATED STORIES: Operation Bushfire Assist 19-20
Heavy rainfall predicted in the fire-affected Corin Dam catchment area put the ACT’s primary water source at risk of contamination from ash and soils devoid of vegetation to hold them together.
In 2003, after parts of the national capital were devastated by bushfires, intense local thunderstorms moved large sediment loads from steep, denuded slopes into the supply reservoir.
Area manager for ACT Parks and Conservation Scott Seymour, who is working for the ACT Emergency Services Agency, said that with the forecast of heavy rain, the level of fire impact around the dam increased the risk of nitrification and sedimentation.
“That level of water within the catchment is going to produce high-level stream flows into the dam,” Mr Seymour said.
“Anything we can do to mitigate some of that stream flow around the edge of Corin Dam will have long-term substantial benefits.”
Supported by an MRH-90 Taipan helicopter from Navy’s 808 Squadron, Alpha Company, 6RAR have been installing sediment traps and water-flow-control measures around Corin Dam since 7 February, under the guidance of Mr Seymour and ACT Emergency Services Agency staff.
“What we’re trying to achieve is a chain-of-ponds effect, constructed with coconut husk logs, where water will spill down the flow line and run into a catchment,” Mr Seymour said.
“The water will spill over the top of those logs and into the next catchment.
“At each of the catchment points, they’ll drop a load of sediment and nutrients so that the end quality of the water that flows out is a vast improvement on the water flowing in.
“The capacity that the ADF has brought to place and construct the structures has been brilliant.”
Platoon Commander for the task Lieutenant Jessica Lyons said her soldiers were happy to be a part of Operation Bushfire Assist and to do anything they could to help.
“Being able to use our capability and provide the manpower to help with humanitarian assistance is very rewarding for Alpha Company,” Lieutenant Lyons said.