ECF project update

Environmental and Cultural Flows project

Apr/May 2024:

Drone imagery and groundwater surveys paint picture of waterways

Flinders University researchers employed a combination of LIDAR drone imagery and underwater sonar to create 3D pictures of the shape of flow paths along parts of the North Para River in the Barossa, and the Baroota and Crystal Brook creeks. This data reveals the way flows move along the waterways, helping us better understand how to meet the needs of the environment along these systems.

The researchers also repeated surveys of the groundwater systems along Baroota and Crystal Brook creeks. These surveys provide important information about the trends in water level and quality underground, particularly the section that is within the root zone of the river red gums.

In the Baroota and Crystal Brook creek catchments, this work is associated with the environmental water releases from Baroota and Beetaloo reservoirs that are being coordinated by the Northern and Yorke Landscape Board in partnership with SA Water.

March 2024

Fish surveys reveal alien species dominate Barossa waterways

A team from Nature Glenelg Trust sampled 16 sites across the Barossa to provide an update on the status of the fish community. The fish were identified, measured and counted. Data was also recorded for water quality, habitat and other animals opportunistically encountered.

The samples were dominated by alien species of fish, especially the declared noxious species eastern gambusia (Gambusia holbrooki) and to a lesser extent redfin perch (Perca fluviatilis). The most common native species was flathead gudgeon (Philypnodon grandiceps). There was also a strong population of the locally threatened and more sensitive mountain galaxias (Galaxias olidus), localised to Jacob Creek and Tanunda Creek.

Freshwater fish are useful indicators of environmental change. Monitoring patterns in the number and extent of the different species provides valuable information on changing conditions. It also increases our understanding of how the watercourses of the Barossa function and allows for more scientifically informed management of water resources for the benefit of all users.

Find out more. Read these 'Understanding fish communities of the Barossa 2024' fact sheets:

Nov 2023

Annual health check of river red gums

River red gum monitoring was undertaken at 15 sites along Baroota Creek and Crystal Brook Creek by consultant Dr. Todd Wallace. Surveys of canopy cover and density produced a Tree Condition Index score representative of the health of the trees at each site. The surveys are repeated annually to provide information on the trends in tree condition. Both creeks are part of the monitoring program associated with the environmental water releases from Baroota and Beetaloo reservoirs that are being coordinated by the Northern and Yorke Landscape Board in partnership with SA Water.

Dr. Wallace also provided training in the survey methods to Nukunu First Nation members and Board staff, to help deliver positive cultural and environmental outcomes for the river red gums and water environments in the two catchments.

ECF project update
Oct 2023

Citizen scientists look for water bugs in Barossa BioBlitz

Volunteer citizen scientists joined ecologists and Landscape Board staff to collect valuable data about macroinvertebrate (water bug) species living in pools and watercourses across the Barossa. Twelve sites were sampled along the North Para River, and Tanunda and Jacob creeks.

The data is collected to monitor the health and condition of waterways (and give local citizen scientists a day of fun and learning). The event started with a demonstration of the techniques used for water bug sampling from DEW ecologist Doug Green, including the different watercourse zones, the diverse range of habitats and most importantly, where to take the samples. Small groups then travelled to different sites to collect the samples and bring them back to the central base for sorting and identification. Working with the ecologists, the citizen scientists learnt how to recognise the characteristics and features of the different water bugs in the samples and separate them for formal identification by the experts.

The event will be repeated annually (also in the Clare Valley), so let us know if you would like to get involved.

ECF project update
Sep 2023

Ongoing testing of permanent pools in the Barossa

A team from the Department for Environment and Water (DEW) and the Northern and Yorke Landscape Board installed data loggers in 16 permanent pools along the North Para River, and Tanunda and Jacob Creeks. The loggers will be in place for several years to record seasonal and annual patterns of water level and quality within the pools. Permanent pools are critical refuge areas and habitats for water-dependent animals and plants when the rest of the water system goes dry. The data collected will provide an increased understanding of the trends in the health and condition of these critical habitats.

Aug 2023

Collaboration at heart of Environmental and Cultural Flows project

The Northern and Yorke Landscape Board held a workshop including representatives of the 3 First Nations (Ngadjuri, Peramangk and Kaurna) and targeted enterprises and agencies of the Barossa. The workshop provided the opportunity for introductions and to commence discussions about possible collaborative activities as part of the newly funded project.

The workshop was a launching point for collaborative partnerships to be the driver towards achieving the environmental and cultural objectives of the project, while progressing economic and social activities recommended by the Barossa Water Security Strategy, and contributing to the objectives and strategies of the partnering agencies and groups.

Jul-Aug 2023

Fish, frogs and all things water up for discussion with landholders

The Northern and Yorke Landscape Board held information events for 34 landholders along Jacob Creek and the North Para River (Flaxman Valley). The events provided an overview of the planned project activities and how to get involved to support the health of the waterways. Topics covered included monitoring of fish, frogs, water bugs and water quality, and permanent pools. View presentation.

More information

Jennifer Munro, Project Manager

155 Main North Road, Clare SA 5453

8841 3444

jennifer.munro@sa.gov.au