Running River

From Dry Tropics Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search


Topography

Paluma Dam is located on Swamp Creek, a tributary of the Running River. Paluma Dam was built as the major water supply for Townsville and Thuringowa area in the 1950s. It is now only a supplementary supply.

The dam is owned by NQ water. Capacity is of 11,800 ML.

Subcatchments

Smaller subcatchments within the Running River Catchment include:

  • Running River
  • Oaky Creek

Vegetation

Riparian Habitat

iTRARC analysis of Riparian Habitat indicates that this subcatchment was in very good condition in 1970s, and remains in very good condition in 2004. The only change was an increase in the proportion of low cover hill slopes adjacent to the stream network.

iTRARC Scores

Catchment Class 1 A
Maximum iTRARC Score 26 (A+)
1970s Score 18 (A)
2004 Score 17 (A)
Reduction in Ecosystem Services No Change
Increase in Potential for Erosion Small
Reasons for Change in Score
  • An increase in the number of low cover hill slopes

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

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

Wetlands

This river system arises in the rainforest-covered mountains of the Paluma Range that are little altered from natural, thus providing it with regular wet season flushes of good quality water. The creek system contains a wide variety of habitats as it progresses from rainforest through gorges to savanna rangelands. The upper river has perennial flow and the abundance of waterbodies here with likely good water quality provides high habitat values. Condition has not been studied but is generally considered to be good. Water quality has not been studied here either, though some data on fish exists from the lower Running River (Pusey et al. 1998). A number of old mines exist throughout this sub-division, though their potential impact on wetlands has not been studied.

For more information see Running River wetland condition summary

Water

SedNet Modelling of Water Quality

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

  • Subcatchment modelled area: 1,095 sq. km.
  • Source contributions: Hillslope = 62%; Gully = 7%; Streambank = 31%
  • Area of subcatchment with <50% ground cover: 65 sq. km or 6% of sub-catchment
  • Hillslope sediment supply: 517 kg/ha/yr
  • Total suspended sediment (flow weighted) supply: 91 kt/yr
  • Total suspended sediment supply (flow weighted; normalized to area): 834 kg/ha/yr
  • Total suspended sediment end-of-subcatchment (flow weighted) yield: 89 kt/yr
  • Event Mean Concentration (EMC - flow weighted): 313 mg/L
  • Mean Annual Flow: 285,581 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 Running River subcatchment (62%). However, streambank erosion is also identified a a significant contributor (31%). Sediment loss from hillslopes (517 kg/ha/yr) is predicted to be moderately high, but may be overestimated due to the steep slopes. Much of the upper area of the subcatchment has dense tree cover. An overestimation is consistent with the relatively small area of hillslopes is poor condition (6%). The moderate to high levels of total sediment loss from all sources (834 kg/ha/yr) may similarly be an overestimated. However, the exposed land tends to be adjacent to river and stream channels, and is predicted to result in streambank erosion. Above average mean annual flow (285,581 ML) due to a highland, rainforest-fed upper catchment, together with moderate to low levels of total suspended sediment (91 kt/yr), result in relatively low event mean concentrations of sediment (313 mg/L) in the Running River subcatchment.

Water Quality Monitoring

The monitoring site in the Running River catchment is located 5km upstream from the junction with the Burdekin River and has been sampled by the NQ Dry Tropics NRM Volunteers program for 2 years. The catchment area for this monitoring site is 682 sq km, of which 88% is used for grazing. Suspended sediment (and associated particulate nutrients) concentrations have been consistently low (mean TSS concentration of 165 mg/L over the 2 years) over the monitoring period compared to other catchments of the Burdekin rangelands. These concentrations are considerably lower than the modelling data which suggests that the SedNet model is overestimating sediment export in this catchment. The average annual suspended sediment export for the Running River is estimated at 37,800 tonnes which makes up less than 2% of the average sediment export from the upper Burdekin catchment. The disparities between the monitoring and modelling data are also evident in the loads calculated from the monitoring data.

Relevant information of Water Quality Monitoring in the Upper Burdekin River Basin can be found by following these links:

Environmental Values

Aquatic Ecosystems

A relatively large area, corresponding to the entire upper section of the Running River subcatchment and taking in the steep western slopes of the Seaview Ranges, has been identified as containing High Ecological Value (HEV) waters by the BWQIP ecological values technical panel. The area includes: (i) sections of the Paluma State Forest and adjacent section of Paluma Range National Park; and (ii) the upper area contained within Mount Zero – Tarvale Sanctuary, to the east of Running River, taking in the catchments of Puzzle and Deception Creeks. The aquatic ecosystems values of the lower reaches of Running River and Oaky Creek are considered to be Slightly to Moderately Disturbed (SMD) as a consequence of the surrounding land use for cattle grazing.

The aquatic ecosystem values of Running River

Primary Recreation

Swimming in Paluma Dam.

Secondary Recreation

Lake Paluma is open to all forms of non-motorised vessels and electric motors.

Some recreational fishing.

Visual Recreation

Bush camping at Paluma Dam. There are about 20 marked camp sites and basic facilities for campers and information for visitors. Picnic tables available.

Farm Use

Minimal, in lower parts of the creeks/rivers on grazing leasehold land.

Stock Watering

Minimal, in lower parts of the creeks/rivers. On grazing leasehold land.

Drinking Water

Paluma Dam supplies water to Townsville via Mt Spec pipeline.

Cultural and Spiritual

Traditional owners are Warrgamay and Nywaigi people.

The Paluma Range National Park (Mt Spec section) was declared a World Heritage Area in 1989. The majority of the Park lies outside the Burdekin Dry Tropics area but covers the sources of these creeks and rivers, thereby providing them the high intrinsic values associated with World Heritage.

References:

Landuse

The principle land uses within the Running River subcatchment, as a proportion of total area, are as follows:

  • Grazing: 92.4%
  • Production & forestry: 3.6%
  • Conservation & minimal use: 3.4%
  • Water: Limited water activity use identified.
  • Mining: Limited mining activity use identified.
  • Urban & semi urban: Limited urban & semi urban water activity use identified.

Grazing Land

Running River is a relatively small sub-catchment where land use is predominantly grazing on natural pastures. Conservation and minimal use, and production forestry, together, comprise approximately 7% of the subcatchment.

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 Running River sub-catchment is proportioned as follows:

  • A Condition: 26%
  • B Condition: 45%
  • C Condition: 27%
  • D Condition: 2%

Data from the Running River sub-catchment is based on 85 observations.

On the basis of the rapid assessment, the Running River sub-catchment is estimated to have the largest proportion of land in fair (B) condition (45%), followed by poor (C) condition (27%) and good (A) condition land (26%). 2% of observed land was in very poor (D) condition.


Ground Cover

Ground Cover in the Running River sub-catchment is proportioned as follows:

  • ( BC) Bare Cover: 0%
  • ( LC) Low Cover: 14%
  • ( MC) Moderate Cover: 50%
  • ( HC) High Cover: 33%
  • (VHC) Very High Cover: 3%

Data from the Running River sub-catchment are based on 86 observations.

On the basis of the rapid assessment (2004-2007), the Running River sub-catchment is estimated to have the highest proportion of land within the moderate (MC) ground cover category (50%), followed by high (HC) cover (33%) and low (LC) cover (14%) categories. 3% of land was estimated to fall into the very high cover (VHC) category and no bare ground was observed.

Resource Condition Summary

Running River is a relatively small subcatchment where land use is predominantly grazing on native pastures. Conservation and minimal use, and production forestry, together, comprise approximately 7% of the subcatchment. There are many, mostly abandoned, mines throughout the subcatchment. Riparian habitat in this subcatchment has undergone no apparent change in the last 30 years and remains in good (A) condition. This river system arises in the rainforest-covered mountains of the Paluma Range that are little altered from natural, thus providing it with regular wet season flushes of good quality water. The creek system contains a wide variety of habitats as it progresses from rainforest through gorges to savanna rangelands. The upper river has perennial flow and an abundance of water bodies where good water quality is likely to provide high habitat values. Oakey Creek and its lower tributaries are thought to be largely dry sandy, ephemeral creeks.

Hillslope erosion is identified by models as the major source of sediment and particulate nutrients affecting water quality within the Running River subcatchment, while streambank erosion is also predicted to make a significant contribution to the total sediment load. The rate of soil erosion is predicted to be high and above the basin average, 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 a high proportion in fair (B) condition, but with large proportions of land in good (A) and poor (C) condition also. This is also reflected in the ground cover assessment (2004-07). Analysis of ground cover from satellite imagery (reference) indicates that the mean ground cover over the entire subcatchment fluctuated relatively little between 1999 and 2006 (between 96% and 85%).

Water quality in the Running River subcatchment is predicted by models to have only slightly elevated sediment concentrations during wet season event flows. Nevertheless, water quality monitoring data from Running River have recorded consistently lower suspended sediment (and associated particulate nutrient) concentrations than predicted by models. It is likely, therefore, that the SedNet model is greatly overestimating erosion from this subcatchment, possibly due to its steep topography and inter-annual variability in ground cover.

Draft Environmental Values

A relatively large area, corresponding to the entire upper section of the Running River subcatchment and taking in the steep western slopes of the Seaview Ranges, has been identified as containing High Ecological Value (HEV) waters by the BWQIP ecological values technical panel. The area includes: (i) sections of the Paluma State Forest and adjacent section of Paluma Range National Park; and (ii) the upper area contained within Mount Zero – Tarvale Sanctuary, to the east of Running River, taking in the catchments of Puzzle and Deception Creeks. The aquatic ecosystems values of the lower reaches of Running River and Oaky Creek 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 Running River subcatchment are understood to include recreation (swimming, fishing & visual appreciation), farm use, stock watering, human consumption, drinking, and the cultural and spiritual values of the Warrgamay and Nywaigi traditional owners.

Maps

Photos

References

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

This is a legacy website. Content is not being updated but is kept as an archive.
Updated NRM information is now held in the NQ Dry Tropics NRM Information Portal at http://nrm.nqdrytropics.com.au/.
while corporate information about NQ Dry Tropics is held on our main website at http://www.nqdrytropics.com.au
NQ Dry Tropics Website