Hal, both processes of deposition and erosion are occurring on …

Comment on Sands in Todd more stable than you think (re-published with Maxine Cook’s comment) by Alex Nelson.

Hal, both processes of deposition and erosion are occurring on this site and similar situations along the bed of the Todd River through town. There is clearly accumulation of sediment that has occurred on that sand island which has raised its height; simultaneously there is erosion now occurring on the margins of that deposition, and it is most noticeable at its termination closest to the Stott Terrace Bridge, where clumps of buffel grass are on the verge of being washed away in the next major flow. The same process is happening on the river bank on the far side of the photo. That is all part of a quite normal and natural process.
Contrary to popular opinion, the Todd River appears to have long been comparitively narrow and shallow adjacent to the area now developed as the town’s CBD, and this was the situation before any European settlement of this vicinity. This is evident from the distribution of the oldest river gums in this area, where the junction of the tree trunks and root systems indicate the soil level at the time of germination. They clearly show the Todd River was more shallow and constricted than is the case today. Alice Springs’ town centre (which, incidentally, is 124 years old this month) was founded on a natural flood-plain verging on a flood-out.
As you state, Hal, not all floods are raging events – in fact, the overwhelming majority of river flows are of low volume and duration and only carry water visible above the sand surface for short distances. In the past most flows of the river from the hills north of town terminated in the vicinity of where the CBD now exists; consequently, this is the location where a lot of sediment built up into the flood-plain/flood-out upon which the town centre is located.
This pattern is repeated downstream on Undoolya Station in the vicinity of Rocky Hill, east of Amoonguna, where the bed of the Todd River disappears into a large flood-out area (as do Roe Creek and Laura Creek from west of town). This is where most big flows of the Todd River that run through Heavitree Gap terminate. It’s only the really big and comparatively rare flood events which manage to push water past this flood-out on Undoolya Station which re-converges into the Todd River further downstream; this lower stretch of the Todd River is augmented by river flows from Jesse Gap, Ross River and other streams that flow from the eastern MacDonnell Ranges.
However, as far as Alice Springs (especially the town centre) is concerned, the primary problem is that it has been built in the wrong location; and this situation has been exacerbated by the construction of several causeways that interfere with the natural flow of the river. Extracting sand from the riverbed and spraying grasses is never going to redress these fundamental engineering errors, they are just exercises of throwing taxpayers’ good money after bad and it comes at the risk of considerable ongoing damage to the Todd River in town.
Sadly the Todd River has never been properly managed in Alice Springs, especially so in recent times – yet it has the potential to be a major natural asset that complements the scenery of the magnificent MacDonnells in which this town is set.

Recent Comments by Alex Nelson

Country Liberal Party: custodians ignored on gallery
@ Surprised! (Posted June 1, 2020 at 7:25 am): Too timid to use your own name, and too dumb to get another person’s name right. No credibility in your comment.

Country Liberal Party: custodians ignored on gallery
@ Jack (Posted May 29, 2020 at 2:11 pm): Whatever amount of money “we” decide to “stump up” gives us no right or authority to dictate terms to Indigenous people on how or where their art and culture may be displayed for others.
What they decide might not cost as much as $50m; indeed, it’s the NT Government, not custodians and TOs, that “stumped up” that sum of money so it’s hypocritical to blame the latter.
And, if custodians and TOs decide they don’t want to go down this path at all, then the money becomes a moot point, doesn’t it?

Country Liberal Party: custodians ignored on gallery
Basically, whether from the Labor or Country Liberals, the debate about the National Aboriginal Art Gallery, is all about cultural appropriation of Aboriginal art to suit the ambitions of politicians, bureaucrats and the business sector.
The entire process, subsequent to the steering committee report, has been (and continues to be) completely mishandled arse-about; surely it has to be resolved in the following manner:
1. Do the traditional custodians and owners of this region want or support the concept of a “national” art gallery, either on its own or as part of a cultural centre?
2. If they support this concept, where do they want it to be built?
The answers to these two basic questions would provide the guidance on whether this project is approved or not in the first place, and then (if approved) where it can be built.
It’s their art, their culture, so let’s allow the custodians and TOs to be the primary authority on this matter, and the rest of us to abide by their wishes accordingly.

CLP would build gallery at Desert Park, not Anzac precinct
@ Ray (Posted May 28, 2020 at 6:19 pm): The irony of your comment is that the Alice Springs Desert Park, when it was a concept promoted by the NT Government nearly 30 years ago, was touted as a major new attraction for Alice Springs that would attract and / or divert tourists from Uluru – yes, it was going to be the economic game-changer for Central Australia!
As was the casino at the beginning of NT self-government _ who remembers all those high-rollers from Asia it was going to attract to our fair town?
And then the Desert Knowledge Precinct, which would put Central Australia at the forefront of research and development for a billion customers in similar environments around the world! Hallelujah!
Not to mention the very original economic nirvana dreaming, the transcontinental railway from south to north that would open up access to the teeming markets of southeast Asia (that one dates from the 19th century colonial period of South Australia’s control of the Northern Territory).
And now we’ve got the National Aboriginal Art Gallery, just the latest mirage on the desert horizon that self-interested politicians and bureaucrats are urging upon us as the oasis of our economic salvation.

CLP would build gallery at Desert Park, not Anzac precinct
To me the obvious question to ask is this: Assuming the gallery is built at the Alice Springs Desert Park or south of the Gap, or even not at all, who then is going to be held to account for the unnecessary destruction of a perfectly good public asset, the former Anzac Hill High School, at a cost to taxpayers over $2m and for no good reason at all?
By rights this whole issue should be a major political scandal.

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