Mount Remarkable Creek, Mt Remarkable National Park
2012 Aquatic Ecosystem Condition Report
- Dry in autumn and spring 2012
- Likely to be enriched with nutrients when wet because a large part of the catchment is grazed by stock
- Some bank erosion caused by past flood damage and evidence of sheep accessing the creekbed in autumn
- Riparian vegetation consisted of native gums and shrubs over a weedy understorey
About the location
Mount Remarkable Creek is a small intermittent stream in the Southern Flinders Ranges that rises off the eastern slopes of Yates Range in the Mount Remarkable National Park, flows north and then turns south where it merges with Rankines Creek and flows north-east, where it eventually discharges into Willochra Creek to the north-west from Melrose. The major land uses in the 1,738 hectare catchment, upstream from the site sampled, are native vegetation (41%), grazing modified pastures (36%) and national park (23%). The monitoring site was located off the track to Gibraltar Rock from Survey Road, about 3 km south-west from Melrose.
The creek was given a Good rating because the site sampled showed evidence of relatively minor changes in ecosystem structure and function. There was evidence of human disturbance including sheep accessing the creekbed and weedy riparian zones but the stream provides a wide range of sediment types and supports a natural vegetative cover of trees and shrubs.
The sediments were dominated by boulder and cobble, with smaller amounts of pebble, gravel, sand, silt 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. About 10 m of bank showed evidence of erosion caused by past flood damage. Sheep were seen and their faeces found throughout the creekbed and banks in autumn but only kangaroo droppings were noted at the site in spring.
Only one aquatic plant, a sedge (Cyperus gymnocaulos), was recorded in patches at the site and there was no evidence of any dried algal deposits from the channel. The riparian vegetation was dominated by River Red Gums and acacias over a weedy understorey comprising wild rose and introduced grasses on moderately well vegetated banks (50-79% vegetative cover). The surrounding vegetation at the site was low eucalypt woodland with acacias, casuarinas and weeds.
Special environmental values
Mount Remarkable Creek is an ephemeral stream in the Southern Flinders Ranges that includes areas of native vegetation and grazed lands in its catchment. No significant environmental values were recorded from the dry site in 2012. However, previous sampling of the same site in 1998 recorded a range of sensitive and tolerant aquatic species from the pools that were present during a much wetter period. They included regionally rare, sensitive and flow-dependent species (e.g. molluscs Gyraulus, Isidorella, Austropeplea and Ferrissia, leptophlebiid mayfly Nousia fuscula, small unidentified stoneflies and the chironomid Podonomopsis) as well as a wide range of beetles, dragonflies, flies, waterbugs and caddisflies.
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: