Mistake Creek

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Subcatchments

Smaller subcatchments within the Mistake Creek Catchment include:

  • Mistake Creek
  • Miclere Creek

Vegetation

Riparian Habitat

iTRARC analysis of Riparian Habitat indicates that this subcatchment has undergone a dramatic reduction in riparian condition in the last 30 years. The catchment has gone from very good (A) condition to poor (C) condition, this is primarily a result of vegetation clearing in the riparian zones and floodplains throughout the subcatchment. The TRARC field data support this assessment with 7 out of 8 sites in poor or very poor condition and only one in good condition. The absence of weeds is potentially a good sign, but may also indicate heavy grazing pressure.

iTRARC Scores

Catchment Class 2 A
Maximum iTRARC Score 24 (A+)
1970s Score 15 (B)
2004 Score 5 (C)
Reduction in Ecosystem Services Large
Increase in Potential for Erosion Large
Reasons for Change in Score
  • Increased number of gaps in the riparian corridor of headwater streams and the main channel
  • Substantial floodplain clearing including forest
  • Increased bare soil on the floodplain and low cover hill slopes

TRARC (field survey) scores

Survey SiteScoreRegenerationWeeds
Mistake Ck [#1]44.5 (D)1 (C)0 (A)
Mistake Ck [#2]51.6 (C)2 (B)0 (A)
Mistake Ck [#3]53.4 (C)2 (B)0 (A)
Mistake Ck [#4]62.2 (C)2 (B)0 (A)
Mistake Ck [#5]66 (B)2 (B)0 (A)
Mistake Ck [#6]54.8 (C)2 (B)0 (A)
Gregory Ck53 (C)2 (B)1 sp: 1% cover (B)
Eastern Ck57.6 (C)2 (B)0 (A)
Average 55.4 (C)

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, but assumed to be similar to that of other sub-divisions in the Belyando-Suttor sub-catchment. The limnology of a waterhole at Twin Hills (also a DNRM gauging station) within this sub-division, was assessed by Loong et al. (2005).

Reference: Assessing the condition of Wetlands in the Burdekin catchment

For more information see Mistake Creek wetland condition summary

Water

SedNet Modelling of Water Quality

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

  • Subcatchment modelled area: 6018 sq. km.
  • Source contributions: Hillslope =74 %; Gully = 15%; Streambank = 11%
  • Area of subcatchment with <50% ground cover: 2,963sq. km or 49% of subcatchment
  • Hillslope sediment supply: 256 kg/ha/yr
  • Total suspended sediment (flow weighted) supply: 208 kt/yr
  • Total suspended sediment supply (flow weighted; normalized to area): 346kg/ha/yr
  • Mean Annual Flow: 369,756 ML

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

Mistake Creek is one of the four largest Burdekin sub-catchments, with the creek receiving high quantities of suspended sediment and associated nutrients (256 kg/ha/yr). After seasonal rainfall, Mistake Creek can experience reasonably high flow (396,756 ML annually) despite the fact that this subcatchment is in an area of generally low rainfall with most of the subcatchment receiving less than 660 mm per year. Suspended sediments and nutrients are principally derived from hillslope erosion (74%) most likely the result of almost 50% of this subcatchment having less than 50% ground cover.

Water Quality Monitoring

Two sites have been monitored in the Mistake Creek catchment

  • The first monitoring site is located in the lower part of the catchment approximately 20km upstream from the junction with the Belyando River (on Disney Station) and has been sampled by the NQ Dry Tropics Volunteers program for 2 years (2005/06 and 2006/07 wet seasons). The catchment area for this monitoring site is 8,768 sq km, of which 91.5% is used for grazing.
  • The second monitoring site is located in the upper reaches of the Mistake Creek catchment on Merrigang Station and has been sampled by the NQ Dry Tropics Volunteers program for 2 years (2005/06 and 2006/07 wet seasons). The catchment area for this monitoring site is 77 sq km, of which 100% is used for grazing.

Suspended sediment concentrations have been intermediate over the monitoring period (mean concentration of 556 mg/L at the lower site and 727 mg/L at the upper site) compared to other catchments within the Burdekin rangelands. A flow-weighted sediment load of 154,000 tonnes has been calculated for the lower Mistake Creek site based on the monitoring data from the 2005/06 wet season. There is a reasonable comparison between the monitoring data and the SedNet model which predicts a sediment load of 208,000 tonnes, although additional monitoring is required to further validate the model.

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

Environmental Uses and Values

Aquatic Ecosystems

The aquatic ecosystem values of Mistake Creek subcatchment contains two areas that have been identified as containing High Ecological Value (HEV) waters by the BWQIP ecological values technical panel. These correspond to: (i) Nairana National Park in the bottom of the subcatchment; and (ii) Narrien Range National Park in the south-west of the subcatchment. Spring-fed creeks are thought to originate in the Narrien Range and to provide a very important source of water in an otherwise dry landscape. The aquatic ecosystem values of other parts of the subcatchment are considered to be Slightly to Moderately disturbed (SMD) as a consequence of the surrounding land use for cattle grazing.

Mistake Creek subcatchment draft HEV waters

Irrigation

Approximately 3000 hectares is currently licensed for irrigation in the Mistake Creek region. Irrigated cotton had previously been the most common crop but its popularity has decreased in recent years. Forage, maize and pasture (including lucerne) are currently the most common irrigated crops.

There are a number of private irrigation developments—particularly on the alluvial plains adjacent to the Belyando river that harvest water during times of high flow and store the water in offstream storages for later use.

Stock Watering

Water supply for production of healthy livestock.

Cultural and Spiritual

Custodial use of water resources by Wangan and Jagalingou traditional owners.

References:

Landuse

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

  • Grazing: 87.8%
  • Production & forestry: 8%
  • Dryland agriculture: 2.8%
  • Conservation & minimal use: Limited conservation & minimal water activity use identified.
  • Water: Limited water activity use identified.
  • Urban & semi urban: Limited urban & semi urban water activity use identified.
  • Mining: Limited mining water activity use identified.
  • Irrigated horticulture & cropping: Limited irrigated horticulture & cropping water activity use identified.

Grazing

Mistake Creek is a large subcatchment where the land use is dominated by 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 Mistake Creek sub-catchment is proportioned as follows:

  • A Condition: 29%
  • B Condition: 43.5%
  • C Condition: 27%
  • D Condition: 05%

Data from the Mistake Creek sub-catchment is based on 142 observations.

On the basis of the rapid assessment, the Mistake Creek sub-catchment is estimated to have the largest proportion of land in fair (B) condition (43.5%), followed by good(A) condition (29%) and poor (C) condition land (27%). .05% of observed land was in very poor (D) condition.

Ground Cover

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

  • ( BC) Bare Cover: 1%
  • ( LC) Low Cover: 8%
  • ( MC) Moderate Cover: 34%
  • ( HC) High Cover: 52%
  • (VHC) Very High Cover: 4%

Data from the Mistake Creek sub-catchment are based on 142 observations.

On the basis of the rapid assessment (2004-2007), the Mistake Creek sub-catchment is estimated to have the highest proportion of land within the high (HC) ground cover category (52%), followed by moderate(MC) cover (34%) and low(LC) cover (8%) categories. 1% of land was estimated to fall into the bare cover (BC) category.

Resource Condition Summary

Mistake Creek is a large subcatchment where the land use is dominated by grazing on natural and modified pastures. However, production forestry and dryland agriculture are also identified as significant land uses. Riparian habitat in this subcatchment has undergone a major decline in condition over the last 30 years, principally as a result of widespread floodplain and riparian clearing along the main channel and headwater streams, and is currently assessed to be in poor (C) condition. The subcatchment waterways are poorly known ecologically, but are reported to contain large, deep and persistent waterholes (mainly associated with the Mistake Creek) that all represent important aquatic habitat and drought refuge for fish, crustaceans and other aquatic biota.

Hillslope erosion is identified by models as the major source of sediment and particulate nutrients affecting water quality within the Mistake Creek subcatchment, while gully and streambank erosion also contribute to the total sediment load. The rate of soil loss is predicted to be quite low and close to the Basin average, while the total amount of soil loss from the subcatchment to waterways is moderately high due to its large area. Land condition is assessed as having a high proportions in good (A), fair (B) and poor (C) condition. This is also reflected in the rapid ground cover assessment (2004-07). Analyses of ground cover from satellite imagery (reference) identify extensive areas of vulnerable and marginal 'D' condition land, particularly in the upper reaches of Mistake Creek and lower reaches of Miclere Creek.

Water quality in the Mistake Creek subcatchment is predicted by models to be slightly impacted by suspended sediment during wet season event flows. This is also reflected in water quality monitoring data from sites at the top and bottom of the subcatchment, which both recorded moderately elevated concentrations of suspended sediments.

Draft Environmental Values

The Mistake Creek subcatchment contains two areas that have been identified as containing High Ecological Value (HEV) waters by the BWQIP ecological values technical panel. These correspond to: (i) Nairana National Park in the bottom of the subcatchment; and (ii) Narrien Range National Park in the south-west of the subcatchment. Spring-fed creeks are thought to originate in the Narrien Range and to provide a very important source of water in an otherwise dry landscape. The aquatic ecosystem values of other parts of the subcatchment are considered to be Slightly to Moderately Disturbed (SMD) as a consequence of the surrounding land use for cattle grazing. Little is known about the human use Environmental Values of the Mistake Creek subcatchment, which are thought to be limited to use for stock watering, irrigation, and the cultural and spiritual values of the Wangan and Jagalingou traditional owners.

Maps

Photos

References

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

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