Camel Creek

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Subcatchments

Smaller subcatchments within the Camel Creek Catchment include:

  • Camel Creek
  • Perry Creek
  • Hopewell Creek

Vegetation

Riparian Habitat

iTRARC analysis of Riparian Habitat indicates that this subcatchment was in poor condition in the 1970s with extensive gullying and scalding along the main channel. This has increased in the last 30 years leading to a further decline in catchment condition. The field survey site showed high amounts of regeneration and no weeds at that particular site, however additional sites are required to fully characterize riparian conditions within this subcatchment. High spatial resolution satellite imagery for this catchment on Google Earth ™ shows extensive and deep gully networks and bank erosion along both the major and minor channels in this catchment.

iTRARC Scores

Catchment Class 2 E
Maximum iTRARC Score 12 (B+)
1970s Score 2 (C)
2004 Score -3 (D)
Reduction in Ecosystem Services Minor
Increase in Potential for Erosion Moderate
Reasons for Change in Score
  • Increased gaps in the headwater streams and main channel
  • Increased number of low cover hill slopes
  • Increased gullying/scalding

TRARC (field survey) scores

Survey SiteScoreRegenerationWeeds
Redbank Ck56.9 (C)3 (A)0 (A)
Average 56.9 (C)

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

Wetlands

This sub-division consists of ephemeral creeks without major permanent waterbodies, thus providing limited aquatic habitat value. Bank erosion, including slumping, is prominent along creek-lines here. Poison Lake, an ephemeral lake perched on a plateau with its own catchment area is listed in the Directory of Important Wetlands in Australia.

Reference: Assessing the condition of Wetlands in the Burdekin catchment

For more information see Camel Creek wetland condition summary

Water

SedNet Modelling of Water Quality

Model results for the Broken River subcatchment are summarized as follows:

  • Sub-catchment modelled area: 1,586 sq. km.
  • Source contributions: Hillslope = 64%; Gully = 28%; Streambank = 8%
  • Area of sub-catchment with <50% ground cover: 191 sq. km or 12% of subcatchment
  • Hillslope sediment supply: 294 kg/ha/yr
  • Total suspended sediment (flow weighted) supply: 73 kt/yr
  • Total suspended sediment supply (flow weighted; normalized to area): 460 kg/ha/yr
  • Total suspended sediment end-of-subcatchment (flow weighted) yield: 69 kt/yr
  • Event Mean Concentration (EMC - flow weighted): 491 mg/L
  • Mean Annual Flow: 140,446 ML

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

Hillslope erosion is identified as the major source of sediment and particulate nutrients affecting water quality within the Camel Creek sub-catchment (64%). Loss of sediment and associated particulate nutrients from hillslopes (supply) is considered to be relatively low (294 kg/ha/yr), but may still be an overestimation based on the relatively good ground cover (only 12% with less than 50% cover). The sediment contribution from gullies is estimated to be substantial (28% of the total supply or 20 kt/yr). Total loss of sediment and associated particulate nutrients from all sources (supply) is at a moderate level (460 kg/ha/yr). The event mean concentration of sediment is predicted to be moderately high (491 mg/L) due to the relatively lower rainfall and mean annual flow.

Water Quality Monitoring

The monitoring site in this catchment is Camel Creek at Camel Creek Station, which drains a catchment area of 258 sq km and has been sampled by NQ Dry Tropics volunteers over two wet seasons (2005/06 and 2006/07). The land use within this catchment area is predominately grazing (99.8 %).

Suspended sediment concentrations in this catchment over the two monitored wet seasons have been consistently high (mean of 4075 mg/L). Comparisons are difficult to draw between the monitoring and modelling datasets due to the small sample size (8 samples) collected over only two wet seasons, although the limited monitoring data suggest that the SedNet model may be underestimating sediment erosion in this catchment. Large gully networks and streambank erosion have been observed in remote sensing imagery of which the SedNet model may be underestimating this contribution.

Relevant information of Water Quality Monitoring in the Bowen Broken Bogie River Basin:

Environmental Uses and Values

Aquatic Ecosystems

The aquatic ecosystem values of Camel Creek 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.

Stock Watering

Extensive cattle grazing. Water supply for production of healthy stock.

Cultural and Spiritual

Custodial use of water by Kudjala and Badhun traditional owners.

References:

Landuse

Principle land uses within the Camel Creek subcatchment as a proportion of total area:

  • Grazing: 90.8%
  • Conservation & minimal use: 8.6%
  • Water: .5%
  • Mining: Limited mining activity use identified.
  • Urban & semi urban activity use identified.

Grazing Land

Camel Creek is a relatively small sub-catchment where land use is dominated by grazing on natural pastures. Approximately 9% 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 Camel Creek sub-catchment is proportioned as follows:

  • A Condition: 13%
  • B Condition: 35%
  • C Condition: 46%
  • D Condition: 6%

Data from the Camel Creek sub-catchment is based on 48 observations.

On the basis of the rapid assessment, the Camel Creek sub-catchment is estimated to have the largest proportion of land in poor (C) condition (46%), followed by fair (B) condition (35%) and good (A) condition land (13%). 6% of observed land was in very poor (D) condition.

Ground Cover

Ground Cover in the Camel Creek sub-catchment is proportioned as follows:

  • ( BC) Bare Cover: 0%
  • ( LC) Low Cover: 4%
  • ( MC) Moderate Cover: 24%
  • ( HC) High Cover: 70%
  • (VHC) Very High Cover: 2%

Data from the Camel Creek sub-catchment are based on 46 observations.

On the basis of the rapid assessment (2004-2007), the Camel Creek sub-catchment is estimated to have the highest proportion of land within the high (HC) ground cover category (70%), followed by moderate (MC) cover (24%) and low (LC) cover (4%) categories. 2% of land was estimated to fall into the very high cover (VHC) category.

Resource Condition Summary

Camel Creek is a relatively small subcatchment where land use is dominated by grazing on native pastures. Approximately 9% of the land area is set aside for conservation and minimal use, while there are many abandoned and operational mines throughout the subcatchment. The condition of riparian habitat in this subcatchment has declined over the last 30 years, with increased gaps in the headwater streams and main channel, and is currently assessed as very poor (D). This subcatchment consists of ephemeral creeks without major permanent waterbodies, thus providing limited aquatic habitat value. Bank erosion, including slumping, is reported to be prominent along creek-lines. Poison Lake, an ephemeral lake perched on a plateau with its own catchment area, is listed in the Directory of Important Wetlands in Australia.

Hillslope erosion is identified by models as the major source of sediment and particulate nutrients affecting water quality within the Camel Creek subcatchment. However, the contribution from gullies is also identified as substantial. The rate of soil erosion is predicted to be moderate and just below both the basin and BWQIP region averages, while the total soil loss to waterways from the subcatchment is comparatively low due to its small area. Grazing land condition is assessed as having high proportions in poor (C) and fair (B) condition, while some 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 areas of vulnerable 'D' condition land in the lower reaches of Camel, Perry and Hopewell Creeks. However, the mean ground cover over the entire subcatchment fluctuated relatively little between 1999 and 2006 (between 96% and 87%).

Water quality in the Camel Creek subcatchment is predicted by models to have moderately elevated sediment concentrations during wet season event flows. Water quality monitoring data, however, have recorded extremely high concentrations of sediment during wet season flows in Camel Creek. Comparisons are difficult to draw between the monitoring and modelling datasets due to the small sample size collected over only two wet seasons. Nevertheless, in light of reports of large gully networks and streambank erosion, these sources of sediment may be underestimated by the SedNet model and support continued water quality monitoring.

Draft Environmental Values

The aquatic ecosystem values of the Camel Creek 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 Camel Creek subcatchment, which are thought to be limited to visual recreation (Poison Lake), use for stock watering, and the cultural and spiritual values of the Kudjala and Badhun traditional owners.

Maps

References

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

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