Baldina Creek, near Baldina Station
2010 Aquatic Ecosystem Condition Report
- Dry in autumn and spring 2010.
- Likely to be enriched with nutrients when wet due to the surrounding land uses in the catchment.
- Riparian vegetation limited to introduced grasses and weeds.
- Moderately eroded banks and silt deposited in the channel.
About the location
Baldina Creek is a small stream in the northern Mount Lofty Ranges. It rises north of Burra and drains in an easterly direction through Red Banks Conservation Park where it ultimately disappears underground in the Murray Mallee. The major land uses are sheep and cattle grazing. The monitoring site was located on the ford on Baldina Station Road, about one kilometre southwest of Baldina Station and several kilometres east of Burra.
The creek was given a Poor rating because the site sampled showed evidence of major changes in ecosystem structure and moderate changes to the way the ecosystem functions. There was considerable evidence of human disturbance, including the lack of remnant native vegetation, livestock accessing the creek, bank erosion and a lack of vegetative cover in the riparian zone.
The five metre wide creek was dry in both autumn and spring 2010. There was some evidence that the creek may flow for short periods during winter, however, surface pooling of water was not evident in the section of stream inspected in 2010.
No macroinvertebrate or water quality data was consequently available for this site.
The sediments were dominated by cobbles with pebbles, detritus, gravel, boulders and clay also present. Samples taken from below the surface showed no indications that the sediments were recently anaerobic. A deposit of 1–5 cm covered the creek bed in places and over 10 metres of bank showed signs of erosion due to flood damage of the largely unvegetated banks.
No dried patches of filamentous algae were observed and only one emergent aquatic plant, a type of sedge (Cyperus), was recorded growing in the channel and on the banks. The riparian zone consisted of introduced grasses, sedges and thistles with no trees or shrubs present. The surrounding vegetation was saltbush and grazing land.
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 SA Murray–Darling Basin NRM Board acknowledges the significant impacts that livestock have on aquatic environments and seeks to provide free technical advice and incentives to land managers for fencing and other works as funding permits. Funding incentives are limited in value and extent and require land managers to volunteer to be involved.|
|Limited riparian vegetation at the site and upstream, providing minimal buffer protection from catchment landuses (reducing habitat quality)||The SA Murray–Darling Basin NRM Board recognises that the management of riparian vegetation requires a long-term, integrated approach to achieve ecosystem benefits. The board therefore provides free technical advice on a range of topics for land managers and various incentives for works as funding permits.|
|Extensive weed growth in the riparian zone at the site and upstream in the catchment (causing habitat disturbance).||The SA Murray–Darling Basin NRM Board recognises the limitations of available funds relative to the scale of the degradation caused by introduced trees and weeds. The NRM Board provides free technical advice and community education to assist land managers in dealing with the integrated management of aquatic weeds. The NRM Board also has a targeted process, as directed by State Government, to strictly prioritise its investment in weed control activities as funds are limited. The NRM Board actively seeks funding opportunities for weed control; most opportunities are for locations where biodiversity outcomes can be achieved.|