Fox Creek

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Vegetation

Riparian Habitat

iTRARC analysis of Riparian Habitat indicates that this subcatchment was in relatively good condition in the 1970s (B) and has undergone a dramatic reduction in riparian condition to very poor condition in 2004 (D). This reduction has been caused by extensive clearing of the floodplains and riparian zones that form a large part of this subcatchment.

iTRARC Scores

Catchment Class 3 A
Maximum iTRARC Score 22 (A+)
1970s Score 12 (B)
2004 Score -1 (D)
Reduction in Ecosystem Services Very Large
Increase in Potential for Erosion Moderate
Reasons for Change in Score
  • Extensive floodplain clearing including riparian forest
  • Clearing of riparian vegetation on the main channel and anabranches
  • Increased bare soil on the floodplain
  • Increased low cover hillslopes

TRARC (field survey) scores = No TRARC scores for this subcatchment

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

Wetlands

This sub-division is poorly known ecologically, with even basic knowledge on the number and location of permanent or significant waterbodies, not recorded. The system here includes numerous channels and off-channel waterbodies, and waterholes present are likely to be highly and persistently turbid. Condition is not well known.

Reference: Assessing the condition of Wetlands in the Burdekin catchment

For more information see Fox Creek wetland condition summary

Water

SedNet Modelling of Water Quality

Model results for the Fox Creek subcatchment are summarized as follows:

  • Subcatchment modelled area 3179 sq. km.
  • Source contributions: Hillslope =64 %; Gully = 26%; Streambank = 11%
  • Area of subcatchment with <50% ground cover: 1,208sq. km or 38% of subcatchment
  • Hillslope sediment supply: 129 kg/ha/yr
  • Total suspended sediment (flow weighted) supply: 64 kt/yr
  • Total suspended sediment supply (flow weighted; normalized to area): 202kg/ha/yr
  • Total suspended sediment end-of-subcatchment (flow weighted) yield: 46 kt/yr
  • Event Mean Concentration (EMC - flow weighted):405 mg/L
  • Mean Annual Flow: 112,696 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 Fox Creek subcatchment (64%), while gully erosion is also identified as a significant contributor (26%) to the total sediment load. The rate of soil loss from all sources (supply) is considered to be low (202 kg/ha/yr) when compared to other sub-catchments. The event mean concentration of sediment is considered quite low (405 mg/L) when compared to other subcatchments. Over 1,200 sq. km. were estimated to have less than 50% ground cover, constituting 38% of the sub-catchment.

Water Quality Monitoring

There are no water quality monitoring data available for this catchment.

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


Environmental Uses and Values

Aquatic Ecosystems

The aquatic ecosystem values of an area of the Fox Creek subcatchment, corresponding to the Epping Forest National Park Scientific Area, has been identified as containing High Ecological Value (HEV) waters by the BWQIP ecological values technical panel. The Park contains large areas of the endangered regional ecosystems and the sole remaining natural population of Hairy Nose wombat. The aquatic ecosystem values of other parts of the Fox Creek subcatchment are considered to be Slightly to Moderately Disturbed (SMD) as a consequence of the surrounding land use for cattle grazing.

Epping Forest National Park Scientific area in the Fox Creek subcatchment was assessed by the WQIP ecological values technical panel to be “effectively unmodified” (ANZECC 2000) and has been identified as containing High Ecological Value (HEV) waters. Epping Forest National Park Scientific area was established in 1971 and is a restricted area to protect the sole remaining natural population of Hairy Nose wombat, Lasiorhinus krefftii. The area is fenced to keep dingoes and cattle out. As a consequence there is a dramatic contrast in vegetation cover inside compared to areas outside the park used for grazing. The Park contains large areas of the endangered regional ecosystems - Acacia cambagei woodland on Cainozoic clay plains (RE 11.4.6) and Acacia harpophylla and/or Casuarina cristata open forest on alluvial plains (RE 11.3.1). The area is generally quite flat with only a couple of small ephemeral drainages with one boundary bordering Fox Creek.

Stock Watering

Water supply for production of healthy livestock.

Primary Recreation

Swimming has been identified at Fox Creek.

Drinking Water

Drinking Water is reported to be used from the Fox Creek using a water spear.

Cultural and Spiritual

Custodial use of water by Wangan traditional owners.

References:

Landuse

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

  • Grazing: 99.5%
  • Conservation & minimal use: .40%
  • Water: Limited water activity use identified.
  • Urban & semi urban: Limited urban and semi urban water activity use identified.
  • Irrigated horticulture & cropping: Limited irrigated horticulture & cropping water activity use identified.
  • Mining: Limited mining water activity use identified.

Grazing Land

Fox Creek is a medium sized subcatchment where land use is almost exclusively grazing on natural and modified 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 Fox Creek sub-catchment is proportioned as follows:

  • A Condition: 3%
  • B Condition: 54%
  • C Condition: 43%
  • D Condition: n/a

Data from the Fox Creek sub-catchment is based on 35 observations.

On the basis of the rapid assessment, the Fox Creek sub-catchment is estimated to have the largest proportion of land in fair (B) condition (54%), followed by poor (C) condition (43%) and good (A) condition land (3%). Data not available for (D) condition land.

Ground Cover

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

  • ( BC) Bare Cover: 0%
  • ( LC) Low Cover: 3%
  • ( MC) Moderate Cover: 29%
  • ( HC) High Cover: 65%
  • (VHC) Very High Cover: 3%

Data from the Fox Creek sub-catchment are based on 34 observations.

On the basis of the rapid assessment (2004-2007), the Fox Creek sub-catchment is estimated to have the highest proportion of land within the high (HC) ground cover category (65%), followed by moderate (MC) cover (29%). 3% of land was estimated to fall into the low (LC) and very high cover (VHC) category.

Resource Condition Summary

Fox Creek is a medium sized subcatchment where land use is almost exclusively grazing on natural and modified pastures. Riparian habitat in this subcatchment has undergone a dramatic decline in condition over the last 30 years, principally as a result of extensive floodplain clearing including riparian forest along the main channel and anabranches, and is currently assessed to be in very poor (D) condition. The subcatchment waterways are poorly known ecologically, with even basic knowledge on the number and location of permanent or significant waterbodies not recorded. The waterways are understood to include numerous channel and off-channel waterbodies that are likely to be highly and persistently turbid.

Hillslope erosion is identified as the major source of sediment and particulate nutrients affecting water quality within the Fox Creek subcatchment, while gully erosion is also identified as a significant contributor to the total sediment load. Both the rate of soil loss and total soil loss from the subcatchment are predicted to be comparatively low. Land condition is assessed as having a very high proportions in fair (B) and poor (C) condition. This is also 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 2006.

Water quality in the Fox Creek subcatchment is predicted by models to be only slightly impacted by suspended sediment. There are no water quality monitoring data with which to compare the modelled concentrations and loads.

Draft Environmental Values

An area of the Fox Creek subcatchment, corresponding to the Epping Forest National Park Scientific Area, has been identified as containing High Ecological Value (HEV) waters by the BWQIP ecological values technical panel. The Park contains large areas of the endangered regional ecosystems and the sole remaining natural population of Hairy Nose wombat. The aquatic ecosystem values of other parts of the Fox Creek subcatchment 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 primary recreation (swimming), stock watering, drinking water, and the cultural and spiritual values of the Wangan traditional owners.

Maps

References

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

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