Tenafeate Creek, southeast of Gawler
2008 Aquatic Ecosystem Condition Report
- Evidence of nutrient enrichment.
- Riparian zone invaded by woody weeds.
- Limited to isolated pools of water at time of inspection.
About the location
Tenafeate Creek is a small stream which flows occasionally in the Mount Lofty Ranges. It rises north of One Tree Hill and flows in a northerly direction to the South Para River, several kilometres downstream from the South Para Reservoir. Cattle grazing and cropping dominate land uses in the catchment, although much of the original vegetation remains in the mid to lower reaches where the surrounding hills are steep.
The monitoring site was located about seven kilometres southeast of Gawler, just upstream from where the creek meets the South Para River.
The river was given a Fair rating at this site because the ecosystem showed moderate changes to animal and plant life, and some changes to the way the ecosystem functions. The site showed evidence of moderate nutrient enrichment.
The creek was too dry to take water samples when inspected in spring 2008, however plant and animal life found in a few small, isolated pools among bedrock and cobbles in the channel provided an indication of the likely condition of this creek when it is wetter.
The pools were covered in large growths of green filamentous algae (Cladophora and Spirogyra) and contained a wide range of macroinvertebrates that can survive in temporary pools of water, such as small crustaceans called water scuds (Austrochiltonia australis), snails, worms, flatworms and waterbugs.
Sediments in the creekbed were blackened and lacked oxygen, and there were signs of some minor erosion caused by flooding after high rainfall events.
The vegetation along the stream included patches of sedge (Schoenoplectus pungens), which often thrives where cattle have access because they do not find it very palatable and leave it behind after grazing. A wide range of rushes and weedy species were also recorded in the channel.
The banks of the narrow stream were covered in River Red Gums and olives with an understorey of rushes (Juncus) and introduced grasses. The surrounding vegetation included cereal cropping on the eastern slope and native eucalypt woodland over introduced grasses on a steeper hill opposite.
Special environmental features
Pressures and management responses
|Livestock have direct access at the site and upstream, causing sediment erosion and adding excessive nutrients (which leads to habitat disturbance, algal growth and aquatic weeds).||The Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges NRM Board's land management program encourages and promotes managing land to improve water quality. This includes incentives for waterway and wetland fencing to exclude or limit stock from entering riparian zones.|
|Limited riparian zone vegetation at the site and upstream, providing minimal buffer protection from catchment landuses (reducing habitat quality).||The Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges NRM Board’s land management program encourages and promotes managing land to improve water quality. This includes incentives for revegetation programs around waterways and wetlands and stock exclusion as well as educating landholders about the importance of riparian vegetation in managing soil erosion.|
|Extensive aquatic weed growth (reducing ecological integrity).Extensive weed growth in the riparian zone at the site and upstream (reducing habitat quality).||The Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges NRM Board has several pest plant (weed) mitigation and control programs. They work closely with landholders to control weeds on their property and to help stop the spread to other properties and waterways.|
This aquatic ecosystem condition report is based on monitoring data collected by the EPA and prepared in conjunction with the Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges NRM Board.