Major sources of suspended sediments and their exchanges with the continental shelf for the Richmond River estuary were investigated during two hydrological years. Of the major sources of suspended sediment inputs into the Richmond River estuary, fluvial input from the upper catchment area was about 92–99% of the total yearly balance, and more than 90% of this fluvial sediment was transported into the estuary during less than 5% time of the year. The Richmond River estuary received net sediment input of about 1–2% of the total yearly balance from the continental shelf during dry seasons when upper catchment freshwater input was less than 45 x 106 m3. Bank erosion in the Richmond River estuary was least (<1%) during low to moderate floods mainly due to river training works and large mangrove coverage along the banks. Percentage of sediment export from the Richmond River estuary depends on the magnitude of floods, which was evident from 47% export during dry year when the estuary experienced a minor flood compared to 88% export during the wet year when the estuary experienced one minor and one moderate flood.
Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science journal home page available at http://www.elsevier.com/locate/ecss
Publisher's version of article available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1006/ecss.2001.0925