The Catchments

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Basin name: Don  

The Don River basin is the northern most extent of the report card area, and covers 3,736 km2.  It is home to the Don River, which flows to the west of Proserpine and empties into the GBRWHA north of Bowen.

Approximately 4.7% of the basin by land area is part of a wetland system. Of this, 53%  is estuarine , 16% is palustrine, 27.8% is riverine in nature and 3% is artificial or highly modified in nature. Over 80% of the basin is used for grazing, whilst 7 % is used for horticulture and only 1% for sugarcane. National Park and/or State forests occupy areas in the South-West (inland) area of the basin, as well as the Cape Upstart region.

Within the basin 43 species of animal/plant are endemic to Queensland, whilst 26 species of plant/animal are rare or threatened, including the black-throated finch and the northern quoll.

The Don basin includes the urban areas of Bowen and Merinda and the Port of Abbot Point. The area crosses two Local Government Areas: Burdekin to the north and Whitsunday to the south.

Area: 3,736 km2

Main town: Bowen

Land use: Mixture- overwhelmingly grazing, with horticulture and a small amount of sugar cane.

Major rivers: Don

Wetland area: 326 km2

Biodiversity: 1320 native spp/vagrants, 43 qld endemic spp, 26 rare or threatened species

Basin name: Proserpine

The Proserpine River basin is located between Bowen and Proserpine and covers 2,494 km2. It is home to the Proserpine River, which flows into Lake Proserpine (Peter Faust Dam), past the urban area of Proserpine and drains into Repulse Bay.

Approximately 11.1% of the basin by land area is part of a wetland system. Of this, 44% is estuarine, 23% is palustrine, 15.5% is riverine in nature and 15.4% is artificial or highly modified in nature.

Within the basin 76 species of animal/plant are endemic to Queensland, whilst 42 species of plant/animal are rare or threatened, including the Proserpine rock wallaby and the Australian painted snipe.

Sugarcane (17% of the basin) and grazing (51% of the basin) are the main agricultural activities present alongside some minor horticultural activity. 25% of the basin is made up of State Forests/National Parks.

The Proserpine basin includes the urban areas of Proserpine and Airlie Beach and represents a significant tourism hotspot, with 45% of all tourism numbers from the GBR being concentrated into 0.1% of the marine park (the Whitsunday area). The basin is entirely within the Whitsunday Local Government Area.

Area: 2,494 km2

Main town: Proserpine

Land use: Mixture- grazing, sugar cane and a small amount of horticulture. Significant tourism use in the Airlie Beach area.

Major rivers: Proserpine

Wetland area: 276 km2

Biodiversity: 2079 native spp/vagrants, 76 qld endemic spp, 42 rare or threatened species

Basin name: Pioneer River Basin

The Pioneer River basin is the smallest basin (1, 490 km2) in the Mackay-Whitsunday region. It has different catchment characteristics to the other four basins in that it has just one main channel, the Pioneer River, draining to the coast and that the bulk of the basin is inland.

The Pioneer River basin is divided into four catchment management areas and flows into the receiving waters of Sandringham Bay. Approximately 4.4% of the Pioneer River basin is part of a wetland system. Of this, 61% are riverine systems, 25% are artificial and highly modified systems, 11% are estuarine systems and 2% are palustrine systems.

Within the Pioneer River basin 67 species of plant and animal are endemic to Queensland. Fourteen vulnerable species, three endangered species and three critically endangered species exist. Two of the critically endangered species, the eastern curlew and curlew sandpiper, are migratory shorebirds that rely on coastal wetlands in the region. The endangered Australian painted snipe also relies on wetlands throughout the region.

The city of Mackay is located at the coastal fringe of the basin and is the major urban centre of the Mackay-Whitsunday region. The basin extends into both the Mackay Regional Council and Isaac Regional Councils local government areas.

While the major land use in the basin is grazing, this is primarily in the upper, inland area of the basin. Sugarcane farming is the next major land use and this dominates the lower area of the basin. Forestry and conservation areas are the other major land uses that exist in the upper extent of the basin.

Area: 1, 490 km2

Main towns: Mackay

Land use: Mixture- Grazing is main use in the upper catchment, sugarcane is the second major land use and is primarily in the lower catchment.

Major rivers: Pioneer River

Wetland area: 69.5 km2

Biodiversity: 1866 native species/vagrants, 67 QLD endemic species, 14 Vulnerable, 3 Endangered, 3 Critically Endangered (EPBC Act 1999)

 

Basin name: O’Connell River Basin

Downstream monitoring on the O’Connell River.

The O’Connell River basin covers 2, 387 km2 and encompasses the O’Connell and Andromache Rivers in the north and St Helens and Murray Creeks in the centre. These waterways discharge into Repulse Bay and the Seaforth Coast receiving waters. A distinctive feature of this basin is the number of protected areas it includes; 7 National Parks and 13 Conservation parks and State forests are captured in the basin, including Cape Hillsborough National Park and Cathu State Forest.

Approximately 7.2% of the O’Connell River basin is part of a wetland system. Of this, 17.6% are riverine systems, 3.1% are artificial and highly modified systems, 75.1% are estuarine systems and 4% are palustrine systems.

Within the O’Connell River basin 83 species of plant and animal are endemic to Queensland. Fourteen vulnerable species, six endangered species and two critically endangered species exist. The two critically endangered species are the eastern curlew and curlew sandpiper. Both are migratory shorebirds that rely on coastal wetlands in the region. The endangered Proserpine rock-wallaby is also found in the area.

The basin extends into both the Whitsundays Regional Council and the Mackay Regional Council local government areas, with the southern boundary of the basin encompassing the city of Mackay’s Northern Beaches area.

The major land use in the basin is grazing, which is primarily in the north, followed by conservation and forestry in the upper reaches of the catchment, and sugarcane farming in the south.

Area: 2, 387 km2

Main towns: Bloomsbury, Seaforth, Calen

Land use: Mixture- grazing is major land use, followed by conservation in the upper catchment, sugarcane and forestry.

Major rivers: O’Connell River, Andromache River, St Helens River and Murray Creek

Wetland area: 170.9 km2

Biodiversity: 2073 native species/vagrants, 83 QLD endemic species, 14 Vulnerable, 6 Endangered, 2 Critically Endangered (EPBC Act 1999)

Basin name: Plane Creek Basin

The Plane Creek basin is unique in that it encompasses a number of smaller waterways over its 2, 538 km2 area, rather than one or two larger rivers like the other basins in the Mackay-Whitsunday region. The basin includes Sandy Creek in the north and extends south to include Plane, Rocky Dam, Cape, Marion, Flaggy Rock and Carmila Creeks, which drain into Sarina Inlet, Ince Bay and Carmila Coast receiving waters. The basin is bordered by the Connors Range in the west.

Approximately 11% of the Plane Creek basin is part of a wetland system. Of this, 17.3% are riverine systems, 6.1% are artificial and highly modified systems, 67.2% are estuarine systems and 9.4% are palustrine systems.

Within the Plane Creek basin, 33 species of plant and animal are endemic to Queensland. Nine vulnerable species, four endangered species and three critically endangered species exist in the area. Two of the critically endangered species, the eastern curlew and curlew sandpiper, are migratory shorebirds that rely on coastal wetlands. The endangered northern quoll is also found in the area.

The major township of Sarina is situated on the lower part of Plane Creek and the basin includes both the Mackay Regional Council and Isaac Regional Council local government areas.

While the major land use in the basin is grazing, the Plane Creek basin has the highest area of sugarcane farming across the Mackay-Whitsunday region, which is primarily in the north of the basin. There are also small areas of forestry and conservation in the basin.

Area: 2, 538 km2

Main towns: Sarina and Carmila

Land use: Mixture- grazing in the south is the major land use, closely followed by sugarcane farming in the north. The Plane basin has the most sugarcane farming in all of the Mackay-Whitsunday region. There is also a small amount of forestry and conservation.

Major rivers: Sandy Creek, Plane Creek, Rocky Dam Creek, Cape Creek, Marion Creek, Flaggy Rock Creek and Carmila Creek.

Wetland area: 276.7 km2

Biodiversity: 1770 native species/vagrants, 34 QLD endemic species, 9 Vulnerable, 4 Endangered, 3 Critically Endangered (EPBC Act 1999)