Tributary of Stockwell Creek, 3.5 km north from Nuriootpa
2011 Aquatic Ecosystem Condition Report
- Dry in autumn and spring 2011
- Likely to be enriched with nutrients when wet due to the surrounding land uses
- Riparian vegetation consisting of native trees over a weedy understorey
- Huge amount of sediment deposited in the creek
About the location
This creek is a small stream in the Northern Mount Lofty Ranges that rises near Moppa in the Mid North and flows initially east, then turns north in discontinuous channels, before eventually discharging into Stockwell Creek. The monitoring site was located on a track off Carrara Road, about 3.5 km north from Nuriootpa. The major land uses in the 293 hectare catchment are stock grazing, irrigated vines and remnant native vegetation.
The creek was given a Very Poor rating because the site sampled showed evidence of major changes to both the animal and plant life inhabiting the stream, and a significant breakdown in the way the ecosystem functions. There was considerable evidence of human disturbance including degraded riparian habitats, sediment deposited in the channel and some areas of bank erosion.
The sediments were dominated by sand, detritus and silt. Samples taken from below the surface were sandy grey in colour and showed no evidence that the sediments were anaerobic or lacked oxygen. A large deposit of fine sediment, more than 1 m deep in places, was recorded from the channel and about 10 m of bank showed signs of erosion due to a recent attempt to remove some of the sediment from the creekline.
A small amount of dock (Rumex) was recorded in autumn but no aquatic plants were seen during the spring survey. The riparian vegetation consisted of a narrow strip of gums and native pine (Casuarina) over introduced grasses, cacti and bamboo. The surrounding vegetation comprised vineyards with a few gum trees and pines located towards the creekline.
Special environmental features
Pressures and management responses
|Livestock having direct access at the site and upstream (causing sediment erosion and adding excessive nutrients).||The Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges NRM Board’s land management program encourages and promotes managing land to improve water quality. This includes incentives for waterway and wetland fencing to exclude or limit stock from entering riparian zones.|
|Widespread introduced weeds in the riparian zone at the site and upstream (reducing habitat quality).||The Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges NRM Board has several pest plant (weed) mitigation and control programs. They work closely with landholders to control weeds on their property and to help stop the spread to other properties and waterways.|
|Limited riparian zone vegetation at the creek and upstream (reducing habitat quality, increasing sediment erosion).||The Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges NRM Board’s land management program encourages and promotes managing land to improve water quality. This includes incentives for revegetation programs around waterways and wetlands and stock exclusion as well as educating landholders about the importance of riparian vegetation in managing soil erosion.|
This aquatic ecosystem condition report is based on monitoring data collected by the EPA. It was prepared with and co-funded by the Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges NRM Board.