Over the past number of years, the Lower Burdekin has become a focus for wetland and riparian area protection. NQ Dry Tropics worked in conjunction with WetlandcareAustralia and the Burdekin Shire Council to carry out works in this area – primarily at Sheepstation and Barratta creeks.
Other areas where work was carried out include Plantation, Kalamia and Saltwater Creeks.
The types of work carried out included: weed control, fencing to allow controlled grazing, revegetation, controlled burns and the removal or modification of fish passage barriers.
Importance of Lower Burdekin Wetlands
Wetlands provide important habitat for fish, waterbirds and many other animals. They play a role in reducing sediment, pesticide and nutrient loads entering freshwater and marine ecosystems.
Lower Burdekin wetlands also play a part in improving the resilience of the Great Barrier Reef by providing essential links in the life cycles for many of the reef species, and helping to filter farm run-off before it enters the Reef lagoon.
The Burdekin River floodplain is one of the largest in Australia. The wetland systems have been affected by changes in water flows, changes to catchment land-use, loss of riparian vegetation, habitat breakup, hot fires and weed invasion. As a result, the habitat and water quality of these wetland areas have deteriorated.
The floodplain lagoons of the Burdekin River have low fish species numbers compared to other tropical systems; particularly for fish that move between salt and fresh water, such as barramundi. People who have been fishing in the region for decades say that the situation was very different historically.
NQ Dry Tropics is working hard to rehabilitate wetlands in the region – and restore fish populations.