Woolshed Creek, near Mount Dutton
2010 Aquatic Ecosystem Condition Report
- Dry in autumn and spring 2010.
- Likely to be nutrient enriched when wet due to the surrounding land uses.
- Riparian vegetation mostly consisted of introduced grasses and weeds under a canopy of native trees and shrubs.
- Steep banks show some evidence of erosion from occasional high flows in this ephemeral stream.
About the location
Woolshed Creek is a small stream in Eyre Peninsula that rises on the western slopes of the Marble Range and drains in a south-westerly direction before discharging into an intermittent swamp near Mount Dutton Bay East. The major land uses are grazing and cropping, with small areas of native vegetation also present in the upper reaches.
The monitoring site was located off Mena Road, about seven kilometres north-west of Wangary.
The creek was given a Poor rating because the site 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 widespread extent of agricultural development in the catchment and the poor aquatic habitats present within the creek.
This creek was dry in both autumn and spring 2010, so macroinvertebrate and water quality data were not available for this site.
The four metre wide channel was dominated by detritus and clay, with smaller amounts of silt, sand and gravel also present. There was no evidence that the surface sediments were lacking in oxygen. However, the creek would probably become anaerobic when wet due to the decomposition of the large amount of organic matter that is present in the sediments.
There were no aquatic plants growing in the channel or on the banks. The only plants growing in the channel were terrestrial grasses and weeds, which indicates that the creek rarely holds water for any extended periods.
The riparian zone consisted of introduced grasses and weeds under a well vegetated canopy of gum trees, acacias, sheoaks and pin cushions (Hakea). The surrounding vegetation at the site was cropping land and a few patches of native shrubland.
Special environmental features
Pressures and management responses
|Livestock have direct access at the site and upstream in the catchment, causing sediment erosion and adding excessive nutrients (which leads to habitat disturbance, algal growth and aquatic weeds).
The Eyre Peninsula NRM Board promotes managing land to improve water quality. This includes incentives for:
|Limited natural riparian vegetation at the site and upstream in the catchment, providing minimal buffer protection from catchment landuses (reducing habitat quality).
|Insufficient natural water flows (reducing ecological integrity).
|The Eyre Peninsula NRM Board's water resources program regulates the diversion of water from priority catchments on Eyre Peninsula.