Balcanoona Creek, Grindell Hut Spring
2012 Aquatic Ecosystem Condition Report
- Dry watercourse when inspected in autumn 2012
- Minor spring seepage at base of hill but no surface water evident
- High moisture content in the channel indicates recently wet but showing no signs of algal growths, aquatic plants or yabby holes
- Riparian vegetation consisted of native trees and shrubs
About the location
Balcanoona Creek is a large stream that rises off the southern side of the Blue Range in the Vulkathunha-Gammon Ranges National Park and flows in an easterly direction for 65 km through Weetootla Gorge and across Balcanoona Ranges, eventually discharging onto the plains surrounding the north-western edge of Lake Frome; flow only extends onto the plains during exceptionally wet years. The only land use in the 3,045 hectare catchment, upstream from the site sampled, is national park. The monitoring site was located off the Weetootla walking track from Arkaroola Road, about 10 km north-east from Balcanoona.
The creek was given a Very Good rating because the site sampled showed evidence of very little changes in ecosystem structure and function, and no significant evidence of any human disturbance in 2012. The site was characterised by a wide range of coarse and fine sediment types and supported a natural vegetation assemblage on the banks and in the local surroundings near the creek.
The 6m wide creek was dry in autumn 2012 and was not re-assessed in spring 2012 when another nearby site was sampled on Weetootla Creek to evaluate the condition of a reach that supported a threatened species of fish. No macroinvertebrate or water quality data was consequently available for this site.
The sediments were dominated by cobble and sand, with smaller amounts of boulder, pebble, gravel, bedrock and detritus also present. Samples taken from below the surface were grey sands and showed no signs that the sediments were recently anaerobic, or lacking in oxygen. No evidence of any significant bank erosion was noted and animal faeces were not recorded during the site inspection.
No aquatic plants or algal remnants were observed but the riparian vegetation was dominated by gum trees and acacias over native shrubs on the moderately well vegetated banks (50-79% vegetative cover). The surrounding vegetation at the site comprised gum trees over acacias and other species of native shrubs. Major growths of weeds were not evident at the site.
Special environmental values
Balcanoona Creek is a largely natural, ephemeral stream in the Vulkathunha-Gammon Ranges National Park. Few human disturbances are evident due in part to the remote location although large herds of goats and other animal pests occur in the area on occasion. No significant environmental values were recorded from the dry site in autumn 2012.
Pressures and management responses
|Feral goats and donkeys are exerting excessive grazing pressure on vegetation, causing erosion and adding excessive nutrients to the watercourse.||The SA Arid Lands Natural Resources Management Board provides technical advice and incentives for the management of introduced weeds and feral pest animals, as funding permits. Pest management efforts are guided by a region-wide strategy, based on risk assessment, to determine priority locations and species. Funding is actively sought from a number of sources to support region-wide integrated management.|