Burdekin River (Blue Range)

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Subcatchments

Smaller subcatchments within the Burdekin River (Blue Range) Catchment include:

  • Burdekin River
  • Kelly Creek
  • Wolfe Lagoons
  • Plain Creek
  • Walkers Creek
  • Bowmans Camp
  • Ethel Creek
  • Continong Outstation
  • Road Camp Flat
  • Greenvale Railway
  • Crooked Gully
  • Granite Creek
  • Mount Foxton
  • Lassie Creek
  • Macaulay Creek
  • Marhs Creek
  • Kangaroo Hill
  • Black Gin Greek
  • Fullstop
  • Fullstop 1
  • Fullstop 2
  • Fullstop 3
  • Hells Gates
  • Pinnacles
  • Cerebus
  • Rocky Creek
  • Expedition Creek
  • Cleanskin Creek
  • Blue Range Creek
  • Blue Range
  • The Knobs
  • Lyall Creek
  • Four Mile Creek
  • Marble Creek
  • Christmas Creek
  • Greenvale
  • Frasers Creek

Vegetation

Riparian Habitat

iTRARC analysis of Riparian Habitat indicates that this subcatchment has undergone a minor decrease in condition from B+ to C+ as a result of floodplain clearing and an increase in the number of low cover hill slopes. The area of floodplain in this subcatchment is fairly small, and therefore a small amount of clearing resulted in a relatively large drop in score. The TRARC surveys indicate moderate to high levels of regeneration at all sites, however weeds were also present at all sites visited.

iTRARC Scores

Catchment Class 2 D
Maximum iTRARC Score 18 (A)
1970s Score 12 (B+)
2004 Score 8 (C+)
Reduction in Ecosystem Services Minor
Increase in Potential for Erosion Small
Reasons for Change in Score
  • Floodplain clearing
  • Increased number of low cover hillslopes

TRARC (field survey) scores

Survey SiteScoreRegenerationWeeds
Burdekin R [#1]50.4 (C)2 (B)3 spp: 60% cover (D)
Burdekin R [#2]65.9 (B)2 (B)1 sp: 2% cover (B)
Burdekin R [#3]67.1 (B)2 (B)2 spp: 17% cover (C)
Charcoal Ck59.1 (C)3 (A)1 sp: 1% cover (B)
Average 60.6 (C)

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

Wetlands

This section of the Burdekin River has perennial and clear flow over a sandy bottom. The tributaries included here are smaller, ephemeral creeks. Habitat condition here is typical of the upper Burdekin rangelands, though this section of the river has significant bank erosion and gullying.

Overbank lagoons are rare in this part of the catchment, providing some value to Christmas Creek Lagoon, Wolfe Lagoon and Miles Lake, even thought the last two are ephemeral. Very little is known about these lagoons but it is assumed that they are important for waterbirds when full. Grazing dominates the land use in this sub-division and for upstream sub-divisions, such that changes to water quality and aquatic habitat functionality are considered to be typical of this type of situation. The large amount of aquatic habitat provided by the Burdekin River in this sub-division, and its relatively good condition, gives it high value. The limnology of the Burdekin River at the Blue Range Road crossing was assessed by Loong et al. (2005).

Reference: Assessing the condition of Wetlands in the Burdekin catchment

For more information see Burdekin River (Blue Range) wetland condition summary

Water

Model results for the Burdekin River (Blue Range) subcatchment are summarized as follows:

  • Sub-catchment modelled area: 2,744 sq. km.
  • Source contributions: Hillslope = 23%; Gully = 8%; Streambank = 69%
  • Area of subcatchment with <50% ground cover: 459 sq. km or 17% of subcatchment
  • Hillslope sediment supply: 250 kg/ha/yr
  • Total soil loss (supply): 1,095 kg/ha/yr
  • Total suspended sediment (flow weighted) supply: 300 kt/yr
  • Total suspended sediment supply (flow weighted; normalized to area): 1095kg/ha/yr
  • Mean Annual Flow: 2,635,200 ML

Streambank erosion is identified as the major source of sediment and particulate nutrients affecting water quality within the Burdekin River (Blue Range) subcatchment. This sub-catchment is essentially a flood plain with little relief and generally good ground cover (only 17% poor cover). Hillslope erosion is, consequently, quite low (250 kg/ha/yr). However, loss of sediment and particulate nutrients from all sources is predicted to be very high (1,095 kg/ha/yr) because of the large contribution from streambank erosion. Significant streambank erosion and gullying along the Burdekin River in this sub-catchment is reported.

Water Quality Monitoring

There are no water quality monitoring data available to characterise the Burdekin River (Blue Range) catchment.

Relevant information of Water Quality Monitoring:

Environmental Uses and Values

Aquatic Ecosystems

The aquatic ecosystem values of two very small areas of the Burdekin River (Blue Range) subcatchment, which lie within the Dalrymple National Park and a small section of the Mount Zero-Taravale Nature Refuge, have been identified as containing High Ecological Value (HEV) waters by the BWQIP ecological values technical panel. These areas were identified mainly based on their land tenure and conservation status. The aquatic ecosystem values of other parts of the Burdekin River (Blue Range) are considered to be Slightly to Moderately Disturbed (SMD) as a consequence of the surrounding land use for cattle grazing.

Stock Watering

Water supply for production of healthy stock.

Cultural and Spiritual

Custodial use of water by Badhun traditional owners.

References:

Landuse

Principle land uses within the Burdekin River (Blue Range) subcatchment as a proportion of total area:

  • Grazing: 86%
  • Conservation & minimal use: 12%
  • Water: .2%
  • Irrigated horticulture & cropping: .05%
  • Mining: .05%

Grazing Land

Burdekin River (Blue Range) is a medium sized sub-catchment where the land use is dominated by grazing on natural pastures. Approximately 12% of the land area is set aside for conservation and minimal use.

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 Burdekin River (Blue Range) sub-catchment is proportioned as follows:

  • A Condition: 21%
  • B Condition: 35%
  • C Condition: 36%
  • D Condition: 8%

Data from the Burdekin River (Blue Range) sub-catchment is based on 152 observations.

On the basis of the rapid assessment, the Burdekin River (Blue Range) sub-catchment is estimated to have the largest proportion of land in poor (C) condition (36%), followed by fair (B) condition (35%) and good (A) condition land (21%). 8% of observed land was in very poor (D) condition.

Ground Cover

Ground Cover in the Burdekin River (Blue Range) sub-catchment is proportioned as follows:

  • ( BC) Bare Cover: 1%
  • ( LC) Low Cover: 19%
  • ( MC) Moderate Cover: 36%
  • ( HC) High Cover: 38%
  • (VHC) Very High Cover: 6%

Data from the Burdekin River (Blue Range) sub-catchment are based on 152 observations.

On the basis of the rapid assessment (2004-2007), the Burdekin River (Blue Range) sub-catchment is estimated to have the highest proportion of land within the high (HC) ground cover category (38%), followed by moderate (MC) cover (36%) and low (LC) cover (19%) categories. 1% of land was estimated to fall into the bare cover (BC) category.

Resource Condition Summary

Burdekin River (Blue Range)is a medium sized subcatchment where the land use is dominated by grazing on native pastures. Approximately 12% of the land area is set aside for conservation and minimal use, while there are many abandoned and operational mines throughout the subcatchment. This catchment has undergone a minor decrease in the condition of riparian habitat over the last 30 years as a result of floodplain clearing, and is currently assessed as poor (C). The area of floodplain in this subcatchment is fairly small, and therefore a small amount of clearing resulted in a relatively large decrease in condition. This section of the Burdekin River has perennial and clear flow over a sandy bottom. Aquatic habitat condition and functionality is typical of the upper Burdekin rangelands and are in relatively good condition, giving it important ecological value for fish. Overbank lagoons are present, but quite rare in this subcatchment.

Streambank erosion is identified by models as the major source of sediment and particulate nutrients affecting water quality within the Burdekin River (Blue Range) subcatchment. The rate of soil erosion is predicted to be high and well above the basin and BWQIP region averages, while the total soil loss to waterways from the subcatchment is also comparatively very high. Grazing land condition is assessed as having high proportions of land in fair (B) and poor (C) condition, while both good (A) and very poor (D) condition land is also apparent. This is also reflected in the rapid ground cover field assessment (2004-07). Analysis of ground cover from satellite imagery (reference) identifies substantial areas of vulnerable and marginal 'D' condition land in the lower half of the subcatchment. Significant streambank erosion and gullying along the Burdekin River in this subcatchment has been reported.

Water quality in the Burdekin River (Blue Range) subcatchment is predicted by models to have moderately elevated sediment concentrations during wet season event flows. However, the sediment load is derived not only from this subcatchment, but also from others entering upstream. There are no water quality monitoring data with which to compare the modelled concentrations.

Burdekin River (Blue Range) is identified as a priority subcatchment for the rehabilitation of frontage country and riparian areas on the basis of its predicted contribution to the total sediment load within the basin, substantial areas of vulnerable and marginal 'D' condition land, and reported stream bank erosion and gullying.

Draft Environmental Values

Two very small areas of the Burdekin River (Blue Range) subcatchment, which lie within the Dalrymple National Park and a small section of the Mount Zero-Taravale Nature Refuge, have been identified as containing High Ecological Value (HEV) waters by the BWQIP ecological values technical panel. These areas were identified mainly based on their of their land tenure and conservation status. The aquatic ecosystem values of other parts of the Burdekin River (Blue Range) are considered to be Slightly to Moderately Disturbed (SMD) as a consequence of the surrounding land use for cattle grazing. The human use Environmental Values of the subcatchment are understood to include recreation (swimming, fishing and visual appreciation), stock watering, human consumption, and the cultural and spiritual values of the traditional owners.

Healthy Country Indicator Species

  • Burrowing Skinks Lerista spp.

Maps

References

Burdekin River (Blue Range).jpg
Download Catchment Layer as *.kml (requires Google Earth)

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