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 basin. The endangered Australian painted snipe also relies on wetlands throughout the basin.
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 Council 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)