Wild Dog Creek, north from Murray Town
2012 Aquatic Ecosystem Condition Report
- Dry in autumn and spring 2012
- Likely to be nutrient enriched when wet because the catchment is dominated by cropping and grazing land uses
- Moderate bank erosion and evidence of stock and feral animals accessing and damaging the site
- Riparian vegetation consisted of a sparse gum tree cover over rushes and introduced grasses
About the location
Wild Dog Creek is a small intermittent stream in the Southern Flinders Ranges that rises south from Murray Town and flows north, where it drains into Rotten Creek and then Willochra Creek to the south-east from Wilmington. The major land uses in the 9,468 hectare catchment, upstream from the site, are cereal cropping and grazing modified pastures; only 5% of the catchment retains a cover of remnant native vegetation. The monitoring site was located upstream from the Melrose to Murray Town Road, about 6 km south-east from Melrose and 8 km north from Murray Town.
Northern and Yorke NRM Regional Summary 2012
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 stock accessing the creek, bank erosion and degraded riparian habitats.
The 7-15 m wide creek was dry in autumn and spring 2012. No macroinvertebrate or water quality data was consequently available for this site.
The sediments were dominated by detritus and sand, with smaller amounts of cobble, clay, silt, boulder, pebble and gravel also present. Samples taken from below the surface were grey sands and red clays, and showed no signs that the sediments were recently anaerobic, or lacking in oxygen. Over 10 m of bank showed evidence of erosion caused by sheep accessing the creekline. Sheep and rabbit faeces were also recorded from the banks of the stream.
Two types of aquatic plants, a sedge (Cyperus) and rush (Juncus) were recorded but there was no evidence of any algal remnants among the dry sediments in the channel. The riparian vegetation was dominated by introduced grasses and scattered River Red Gums on the moderately well vegetated banks (50-79% vegetative cover). The surrounding vegetation at the site comprised cropping land on one bank and scattered gums over grazed grasslands on the other bank.
Special environmental values
Wild Dog Creek is an ephemeral stream that lies within agricultural lands in the Mid North of the State. No significant environmental values were recorded from the dry site in 2012. However, a moderately diverse range of insects, mites and crustaceans were recorded from saline pools (salinity 3,600-6,800 mg/L) that were present at the same location in 1997. Consequently, the creek can support a saline tolerant aquatic fauna when it holds water for several months of the year.
Pressures and management responses
|Livestock and feral animals have direct access at the site and upstream in the catchment, exerting excessive grazing pressure, causing sediment erosion and adding excessive nutrients to the watercourse.||
The Northern and Yorke Regional NRM Plan has the following Resource Condition Targets:
Natural Resources (Northern and Yorke) has also been updating its understanding and management of the Willochra Catchment:
|Broad acre cropping in the catchment, adding excessive nutrients to the watercourse.|
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