Stones Creek

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Subcatchments

Smaller subcatchments within the Stones Creek Catchment include:

  • Glenroy Creek

Vegetation

Riparian Habitat

iTRARC analysis of Riparian Habitat indicates that this subcatchment was in relatively poor condition (C+) in the 1970s and has declined to poor (C) condition in 2004. This catchment has relatively simple riparian zones (no floodplains, no anabranches, no wetlands) which is why this catchment had a low Maximum iTRARC score too. However clearing of forest from the main channel and an increase in the number of low cover hill slopes has lead to a further decline in condition. The one field survey collected in this catchment indicates very poor condition, however additional sites would be required to characterise the diversity of on-ground conditions encountered in this catchment.

iTRARC Scores

Catchment Class 2 E
Maximum iTRARC Score 12 (B+)
1970s Score 7 (C+)
2004 Score 3 (C)
Reduction in Ecosystem Services Very Minor
Increase in Potential for Erosion Moderate
Reasons for Change in Score
  • Removal of forest from the main channel
  • Increase in the number of low cover hill slopes adjacent to the channel network
  • Increased gullying/scalding

TRARC (field survey) scores

Survey SiteScoreRegenerationWeeds
Stones Ck45.6 (D)2 (B)2 spp: 6% cover (C)
Average 45.6 (D)

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

Wetlands

This sub-division is poorly known ecologically, though the creeks are considered to be generally dry with limited habitat availability. Condition is not well known though thought to be typical of sub-divisions in this area.

Reference: Assessing the condition of Wetlands in the Burdekin catchment

For more information see Stones Creek wetland condition summary

Water

SedNet Modelling of Water Quality

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

  • Subcatchment modelled area: 766 sq. km.
  • Source contributions: Hillslope = 76%; Gully = 21%; Streambank = 2%
  • Area of subcatchment with <50% ground cover: 160 sq. km or 21% of subcatchment
  • Hillslope sediment supply: 901 kg/ha/yr
  • Gully sediment supply: 252 kg/ha/yr
  • Total suspended sediment (flow weighted) supply: 90 kt/yr
  • Total suspended sediment supply (flow weighted; normalized to area): 1182kg/ha/yr
  • Total suspended sediment end-of-subcatchment (flow weighted) yield: 85 kt/yr
  • Event Mean Concentration (EMC - flow weighted): 1,302 mg/L
  • Mean Annual Flow: 65,049 ML

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

Of all the Burdekin subcatchments, Stones Creek receives the lowest flow (65,049 ML). It is also one of the three smallest subcatchments. Total suspended sediments are moderate at 90 kt/yr, however, due to the very low, seasonal flow, event mean concentrations of sediments and associated nutrients are the highest of all Burdekin sub-catchments.

Sediments are believed to be derived principally from hillslope erosion (estimated at 76% of all sediment sources in Stones Creek). Due to its relatively small size, hillslope sediment supply from Stones Creek subcatchment is also the highest of all Burdekin subcatchments (901 kg/ha/yr). Similarly, gully erosion (estimated 21% of all sediment sources in Stones Creek subcatchment) produces a very high per-hectare supply compared to other subcatchments in the Burdekin.

Water Quality Monitoring

There are no water quality data available for this catchment.

Relevant information of Water Quality Monitoring in the Lower Burdekin River Basin:

Environmental Uses and Values

Aquatic Ecosystems

The aquatic ecosystem values of the Stones Creek subcatchment are poorly known but, 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

Water supply for production of healthy livestock.

Cultural and Spiritual

Custodial use of water resources by Birri traditional owners.

References:

Landuse

Principle land uses within the Stones River subcatchment as a proportion of total area:

  • Grazing: 99.9%
  • Water: Limited water activity use identified.
  • Urban & semi urban: Limited urban & semi urban water activity use identified.

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 Stones Creek sub-catchment is proportioned as follows:

  • A Condition: n/a
  • B Condition: n/a
  • C Condition: 88%
  • D Condition: 12%

Data from the Stones Creek sub-catchment is based on 26 observations.

On the basis of the rapid assessment, the Stones Creek sub-catchment is estimated to have the largest proportion of land in poor (C) condition (88%), followed by very poor (D) condition (12%). Data not available for Good (A) Condition Land and Fair (B) Condition Land.

Ground Cover

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

  • ( BC) Bare Cover:6%
  • ( LC) Low Cover: 72%
  • ( MC) Moderate Cover: 22%
  • ( HC) High Cover: 0%
  • (VHC) Very High Cover: 0%

Data from the Stones Creek sub-catchment are based on 18 observations.

On the basis of the rapid assessment (2004-2007), the Stones Creek sub-catchment is estimated to have the highest proportion of land within the low (LC) ground cover category (72%), followed by moderate (MC) cover (22%). 6% of land was estimated to fall into the bare cover (BC) category.

Resource Condition Summary

Stones Creek is a very small subcatchment where land use is exclusively grazing on natural pastures. Riparian habitat in the subcatchment has undergone relatively little change in the last 30 years and is currently assessed to be in poor (C) condition. The subcatchment has relatively simple riparian zones (no floodplains, no anabranches, no wetlands). Stones Creek subcatchment is understood to be a largely dry, sandy creek system but very little is known about the ecology and condition of aquatic habitats.

Hillslope erosion is identified by models as the major source of sediment and particulate nutrients affecting water quality from within the Stones Creek subcatchment, while gully erosion is also predicted to contribute substantially to the total sediment load. The rate of soil erosion is predicted to be quite high, yet below the Basin average, while the total soil loss from the subcatchment to waterways is comparatively very low due to the small subcatchment area. Grazing land has been assessed to be, mostly, in poor (C) condition, while some very poor (D) condition land was also evident. This is also reflected in the rapid ground cover assessment (2004-2007). Analyses of ground cover from satellite imagery identify areas of land that are particularly vulnerable to 'D' condition along the middle and lower reaches of Stones Creek. The mean ground cover across the entire subcatchment declined from 94% in 1999 to 72% in 2004, and had recovered to only 82% in 2006.

Water quality in the Stones Creek subcatchment is predicted by models to be quite highly impacted by suspended sediment during wet season event flows, with very elevated concentrations of sediment at end-of-catchment. There are no water quality monitoring data, however, with which to compare the modelled concentrations and loads. On the basis of the land condition and ground cover assessments, verification of modelling should be undertaken as a priority.

Draft Environmental Values

The aquatic ecosystem values of the Stones Creek subcatchment are poorly known but, 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 water in the subcatchment, which are thought to be limited to use for stock watering, and the cultural and spiritual values of the Birri traditional owners.

Maps

References

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

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