Belyando Floodplain

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Subcatchments

Smaller subcatchments within the Belyando Floodplain Subcatchment include:

  • Belyando River
  • Dunda Creek

Vegetation

Riparian Habitat

iTRARC analysis of Riparian Habitat indicates that this subcatchment has had clearing and heavy grazing. The Belyando floodplain has experienced woodland and forest removal which has lead to an increase in the amount of bare soil. This in turn reduces the capacity of the floodplain to trap sediment being transported from higher ground in the catchment. This also results in significant terrestrial and aquatic habitat loss.

The TRARC field survey results indicate that regeneration is present, indicating that the current riparian vegetation is likely to be maintained into the future. The absence of weeds in 4 out of 5 sites is interesting, particularly for a floodplain catchment that would receive propagules from higher up in the catchment. The lack of weeds may be a result of cattle grazing or a function of the time of year that the surveys were collected.

iTRARC Scores

Catchment Class 4 A
Maximum iTRARC Score 20 (A+)
1970s Score 13 (B+)
2004 Score 3 (C)
Reduction in Ecosystem Services Very Large
Increase in Potential for Erosion Small
Reasons for Change in Score
  • More gaps in the riparian vegetation on the main channel
  • More gaps in the riparian vegetation of anabranching channels
  • Forest cleared from the floodplain
  • Increased amounts of bare soil on the floodplain

TRARC (field survey) scores

Survey SiteScoreRegenerationWeeds
Belyando R #152.4 (C)1 (C)0 (A)
Belyando R #253.6 (C)2 (B)1 sp; 1% cover (B)
Belyando R #354 (C)1 (C)0 (A)
Belyando R #467 (B)2 (B)0 (A)
North Ck54.7 (C)2 (B)0 (A)
Average 58.1 (C)

Reference:Assessing the condition of Riparian Vegetation in the Burdekin catchment

Wetlands

This sub-division is poorly known ecologically, but contains many large deep, persistently and highly turbid waterholes. The system here includes numerous channels and off-channel waterbodies. Condition is not well known but is considered likely to be relatively standard for land use of this type, this is not based on field assessment, hence the low degree of confidence. We are not aware of any aquatic ecological studies having being conducted in this sub-division.

Reference: Assessing the condition of Wetlands in the Burdekin catchment

For more information see Belyando Floodplain wetland condition summary

Water

SedNet Modelling of Water Quality

Model results for the Belyando Floodplain subcatchment are summarized as follows:

  • Subcatchment modelled area: 4,913 sq. km.
  • Source contributions: Hillslope = 40 %; Gully =28 %; Streambank = 32%
  • Area of subcatchment with <50% ground cover: 1,739 sq. km or 35% of subcatchment
  • Hillslope sediment supply: 117 kg/ha/yr
  • Total suspended sediment (flow weighted) supply: 142 kt/yr
  • Total suspended sediment supply (flow weighted; normalized to area): 289kg/ha/yr
  • Mean Annual Flow: 1,404,605 ML

Reference: Improved SedNet Modelling of Grazing Land in the Burdekin Catchment

Hillslope erosion is believed to be the major source of sediment and particulate nutrients influencing water quality within the Belyando Floodplain, however, streambank and gully erosion also make substantial contributions to sediment supply. There is a relatively large proportion of hillslope with low ground cove (35%), however, the loss of sediment and associated particulate nutrients from hillslopes (supply) is considered to be relatively low at 117 kg/ha/yr compared to other subcatchments. The Belyando Floodplain experiences high levels of mean annual flow possibly due to the large number of minor rivers and creeks that flow directly into the Belayando River in this subcatchment.

Water Quality Monitoring

While there is an ACTFR monitoring site that is located within the Belyando Floodplain, this site monitors the entire Belyando Basin and so there are no meaningful water quality data that separates the Belyando Floodplain from the other subcatchments in the Belyando Basin.

Relevant information of Water Quality Monitoring in the Belyando River Basin:

Environmental Uses and Values

Aquatic Ecosystems

The aquatic ecosystem values of the Belyando Floodplain subcatchment are poorly known and, while considered to be Slightly to Moderately Disturbed (SMD) as a consequence of the surrounding land use for cattle grazing, the biological communities are thought to remain in a healthy condition and ecosystem integrity is likely to be largely retained. No High Ecological Value (HEV) waters have been identified in the subcatchment.

Irrigation

There are a number of private irrigation developments that harvest water during times of high flow and store the water in offstream storages for later use.

Only relatively small areas in the region are currently under cotton production, however, it represents one of the future potentially significant crops for the region.

Stock Watering

Water supply for production of healthy livestock.

Drinking Water

Drinking water is reported to be used from the Belyando River, using a water spear.

Cultural and Spiritual

Traditional owners are the Jangga people.

References:

Landuse

Principle land uses within the Belyando Floodplain subcatchment as a proportion of total area:

  • Grazing: 99.7%
  • Water: 0.25%
  • Urban & semi urban: Limited urban & semi urban activity use identified.

Grazing

Belyando Floodplain is a relatively small subcatchment where land use is exclusively grazing on natural pastures.

Land Condition

Definition of ABCD land condition framework

Results of a Rapid Land Condition Assessment (adopted from Hassett et al. 2000) are presented below. The assessment has been devised to subjectively characterise condition while traversing the BDT region by vehicle. The data are based on a total of 4666 observations across the Burdekin region between 2004 and 2007.

The data were collected to provide independent information on land condition and provide a regional perspective. Resource assessment data are most useful when interpreted with other sources of data e.g. time-series remote sensing, modelling and water quality monitoring.

The estimated condition of the Belyando Floodplain sub-catchment is proportioned as follows:

  • A Condition: 13%
  • B Condition: 58%
  • C Condition: 29%
  • D Condition: n/a

Data from the Belyando Floodplain sub-catchment is based on 31 observations.

On the basis of the rapid assessment, the Belyando Floodplain sub-catchment is estimated to have the largest proportion of land in fair (B) condition (58%), followed by poor (C) condition (29%) and good (A) condition land (13%). Data not available for (D) condition land.

Ground Cover

Ground Cover in the Belyando Floodplain sub-catchment is proportioned as follows:

  • ( BC) Bare Cover: 0%
  • ( LC) Low Cover: 3%
  • ( MC) Moderate Cover: 16%
  • ( HC) High Cover: 81%
  • (VHC) Very High Cover: 0%

Data from the Belyando Floodplain sub-catchment are based on 32 observations.

On the basis of the rapid assessment (2004-2007), the Belyando Floodplain sub-catchment is estimated to have the highest proportion of land within the high (HC) ground cover category (81%), followed by moderate (MC) cover (16%). 3% of land was estimated to fall into the low cover (LC) category.

Resource Condition Summary

Belyando Floodplain is a relatively small subcatchment where land use is exclusively grazing on natural pastures. The riparian habitat of the subcatchment has deteriorated over the last 30 years, principally as a result of clearing along the main and anabranching channels, and is currently assessed to be in poor (C) condition. The subcatchment is a multiple channel, low velocity floodplain which contains many off-channel, turbid waterbodies. It is poorly poorly known ecologically, with no known aquatic studies having being conducted in this subcatchment.

Hillslope, gully and streambank erosion are all identified by models as major sources of sediment and particulate nutrients affecting water quality within the Belyando Floodplain subcatchment. Both the rate of soil loss and total soil loss from the subcatchment to waterways are predicted to be comparatively low. Land condition is assessed as having a high proportion in fair (B) condition, while both poor (D) and good (A) condition land is also common. This is not well reflected in the rapid ground cover assessment (2004-07). Analysis of ground cover from satellite imagery (reference) indicates that the mean ground cover declined substantially from 1999 to 2006 and that areas of poor ground cover were common in the subcatchment in 2006.

Water quality in the Belyando Floodplain subcatchment is predicted by models to be only slightly modified by suspended sediment during wet season event flows. There are no water quality monitoring data with which to compare the modelled concentrations, while the sediment load at end-of-catchment is derived not only from this subcatchment, but also from others entering upstream.

Draft Environmental Values

The aquatic ecosystem values of the Belyando Floodplain subcatchment are poorly known and, while considered to be Slightly to Moderately Disturbed (SMD) as a consequence of the surrounding land use for cattle grazing, the biological communities are thought to remain in a healthy condition and ecosystem integrity is likely to be largely retained. No High Ecological Value (HEV) waters have been identified in the subcatchment. Little is known about the human use Environmental Values of the Belyando Floodplain subcatchment, which are thought to be limited to use for irrigation, stock watering, drinking water, and the cultural and spiritual values of the Jangga traditional owners.

Healthy Country Indicator Species

  • Crucifix Frog

Maps

References

BelyandoFloodplain.jpg
Download Catchment Layer as *.kml (requires Google Earth)

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