O’Connell River Basin

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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)