Six weeks on from the recent flood in the South Australian Murray Valley, floodplains and wetlands are in the best condition seen since the floods of 1990-93. The dominant response is vibrant, vigorous growth of groundcovers, shrubs and trees.
A series of events have contributed to the current good condition of floodplain vegetation communities. The 2010-12 floods relieved the extreme stress of the Millenium drought, when millions of mature river red gums and black box trees were stressed, dying or dead.
The 2016 flood came in the nick of time, to prevent the decline of germinated seedlings and recovering canopies following the 2010-12 floods.
Rainfall played a part too, with good summer rains in 2012, 2014 and 2015, and extraordinary rains in September 2016 that were four times the average volume. With so much available moisture, all plants are concentrating on new growth, with fresh luminous green leaves showing strong recovery on eucalypts. Vigorous vertical lignum stems are bending under their own weight in the process of creating dense tangled lignum thickets.