Tag: river

Podcast 48: Remaking wetlands: a tale of rice, ducks and floods in the Murrumbidgee River region

Murrumbidgee Map

Map of the The Murray-Darling river system with the Murrumbidgee river in red. Source: Wikipedia

Australia is a dry continent and as a result Australian ecologies can generally be characterised as “boom and bust” and are significantly driven by intermittent and unpredictable wet “booms” and dry “busts”. The populations and movements of many animals are considerably influenced by these wet and dry periods. Birds tend to be “nomadic” and go where the water is. Native Australian ducks are no exception.

Before the arrival of Europeans and their agriculture, ducks only had to compete with other native birds and animals, as well as Aboriginal hunters.

Anas gracilis

Grey Teal (Anas gracilis).
Source: Wikimedia

However, the introduction of water intensive agricultural activity by Europeans changed all this and in particular rice cultivation has been implicated in altering the Murrumbidgee river system in Australia, and as a result the habitat for ducks. The guest on this episode of the podcast is Emily O’Gorman, an Associate Research Fellow at the Australian Centre for Cultural Environmental Research of the University of Wollongong. She is an expert on Australian flooding and river history and examines on this podcast the ways in which ducks as well as people negotiated the changing water landscapes of the Murrumbidgee River caused by the creation of rice paddies.

Information on Emily O’Gorman’s book 
Flood Country: An Environmental History of the Murray-Darling Basin – Info from the Publisher.

Music credits

Forecast” by cdk
Available from ccMixter

Where You Are Now” by Zapac
Available from ccMixter

Podcast 31: Environmental History of the 2012 Olympic site: the Lower River Lea

Map London

London and West Ham ca. 1901.
Map courtesy Jim Clifford

Former industrial sites worldwide are constantly reinvented and redeveloped reflecting changes in economies and societies over time. Nowhere else in Europe is regeneration of a former industrial site more spectacular than the 2012 Olympic site on the banks of the River Lea in West Ham, East London. The creation of the Olympic park promises the rehabilitation of the Lower Lea Valley by restoring its eco-system and revitalising the community of the area.

But the Lower River Lea has a long history, going as far back as the 11th century, of industrial development and associated environmental degeneration. Jim Clifford, a doctoral student at York University in Toronto, talks in this episode of the podcast about the environmental and social history of West Ham and the Lower Lea River. He highlights that there have been attempts in the earlier 20th century to improve the Lea River’s environmental and social conditions but that the high expectations of these schemes were not always met.

Blog mentioned in this podcast
Westham and the Lower Lea River – Blog by Jim Clifford

Music credit
Trawnicing” by Pitx
Available from ccMixter

Podcast 20: Great Floods of Northumbria, 1771-2008

The theme of this podcast is the history of severe river flooding in the north east of England. With the floods in the town of Morpeth in September 2008 fresh in the minds of people in Northern England it seems appropriate to look back in time to great historic floods and to see whether the rivers of Northumberland have produced even greater floods than those experienced recently. The guest on this podcast is David Archer, a retired hydrologist who worked for Northumbrian Water and the National Rivers Authority, and an expert on the history of floods in the North east of England. He will explore the great floods in the Tyne basin of the past 250 years and even beyond. In addition David will discuss what historical sources are used for the reconstruction of past floods and how such information can be used for current flood risk management.

Map Northeast England

River systems of northeast England and places mentioned in the podcast.

Podcast 5: History of flood defences and waste

This podcast looks at the thousand year history of river flood protection in the Netherlands followed by a report on a conference held at the University of St Andrews (Scotland) exploring the complex nature of the relationship between modernity and waste.

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