National Wetlands Update February 2013
Issue No. 22, February 2013
Delivering biodiversity dividends in the Barratta Creek Catchment
Kate Maltby, WetlandCare Australia
WetlandCare Australia is commencing a new project funded by the Australian Government's Biodiversity Fund to protect, manage and enhance the high ecological values of the Barratta Creek Catchment. Barratta Creek forms the main artery of the Bowling Green Bay wetlands, the only Ramsar site in north Queensland. It is one of the highest integrity floodplain creek systems on the developed east coast of Queensland.
The wetlands and waterways associated with the Barratta Creek catchment have exceptionally high ecological and functional values. The area includes some endangered regional ecosystems, as well as flora and fauna listed under the Nature Conservation Act 1992 (Qld) and Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth). There is a diverse range of adult and nursery fish habitats, including ephemeral brackish swamps and deepwater lagoons. These deep water lagoons of the Barratta Creek system provide perennial aquatic habitats within a seasonally dry environment.
Since the introduction of intensive irrigated agriculture, the creek and wetlands have suffered serious impacts through a lack of understanding and lack of active management. Issues include invasive aquatic and terrestrial weeds, hot and frequent fire regimes and excessive and nutrient-rich tail-water flows.
WetlandCare Australia is uniting multiple stakeholders to improve biodiversity outcomes in the Barratta Creek Catchment and the internationally listed Ramsar site through integrated, catchment-based management.