Hope springs for re-emerging wetlands
Under the Natural Resources Investment Program (NRIP) $1.5 million is being invested to develop and protect emerging artesian spring wetlands around Longreach, Diamantina and Quilpie Shires after decades of decline.
DNRME Executive Director Jarrod Cowley-Grimmond said Desert Channels Queensland will spend the next two years identifying, mapping, and implementing measures to safeguard and nurture budding springs across the three shires.
“Queensland and Australian Government’s actions in the last two decades has seen the capping of more than 700 uncontrolled bores and fixing of 14,300 kilometres of drains, which has supported the reinvigoration wetlands that for decades were in decline,” Mr Cowley-Grimmond said.
“These actions help save almost 210,000 megalitres of water out of the Great Artesian Basin each year!
“Saving this water has increased the water pressure below ground, acting as catalyst for the re-emergence of these springs.
“Desert Channels Queensland project aims to nurture, improve groundwater quality and protect these emerging springs – encouraging the return of native fish, crustaceans and plant life in this ecosystem.
“While these springs are relatively small, they are an oasis in the outback that support a diverse mix of flora and fauna, and act as a safe haven for them during times of drought.
“These emerging springs not only create a habitat for fauna they also have strong spiritual connection to the local Indigenous peoples.”
Desert Channels Group Chief Executive Officer Leanne Kohler said their two-phase plan would first predict areas where springs were likely to re-emerge and then implement protective measures.
“Utilising decades of data and monitoring information on these areas, we have the ability to identify areas where water pressure is growing and take action to preserve the environment around these springs,” Ms Kohler said.
“Historically, some of these springs acted as the primary source of water in the area and had great significance culturally and environmentally – we are engaging with traditional owners and intend to put in place land management protocols to encourage the return of native species and preserve the recovery of artesian spring wetlands.
Desert Channels Group has now been awarded more than $3.5 million in NRIP funding, including $1.4 million to work with landholders to stabilise streambanks and increase ground cover vegetation over 140,000 hectares on the headwaters of the Diamantina River and adjoining the famed Combo waterhole.
This project is due to be completed in June, 2022.
Last updated 23 April 2020