Pelican Creek

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Smaller Catchments within the Pelican Creek Catchment include:



Riparian Habitat

iTRARC analysis of Riparian Habitat indicates that this subcatchment has undergone a large decrease in riparian condition in the last 30 years. In the 1970s it was in good (B+) condition but had dropped to poor condition (C) by 2004 due to floodplain clearing and an increase in the amount of gullying/scalding. The field survey TRARC data also indicated very poor condition at both sites visited, however additional sites would provide a more comprehensive picture of on-ground riparian condition.



Pelican Creek is a seasonal creek system that contains several permanent waterholes, the limnology of one of which, Donalds Dream Waterhole, was assessed by Loong et al. (2005). The water quality of Pelican Creek is adversely affected by coal mining operations in its upper reaches (Butler 2006). Riparian condition is considered to be reasonable though. Strathmore Creek is naturally dry but runs for many kilometres with seepage from the coal mine tailings dam (pers. obs.), producing an altered flow regime and altered water quality (including high conductivity water and salt stains along the creek). Both creeks have been subject to water quality and aquatic biota monitoring programs commissioned by the mine managers. Other creeks not affected by mining operations appear to be typical of the region.

Pelican Creek wetland condition summary...


SedNet Modelling of Water Quality

The following statistics are summarized from the CSIRO report: Improved SedNet Modelling of Grazing Lands in the Burdekin Catchment by Kinsey-Henderson, A., Sherman, B. and Bartley, R. 2007. This report can be accessed from the report section below.

Model results for the Pelican Creek subcatchment are summarized as follows:

  • Subcatchment modelled area: 1,452 sq. km.
  • Source contributions: Hillslope = 85%; Gully = 8%; Streambank = 7%
  • Area of subcatchment with <50% ground cover: 450 sq. km or 31% of subcatchment
  • Hillslope sediment supply: 865 kg/ha/yr
  • Total suspended sediment (flow weighted) supply: 147 kt/yr
  • Total suspended sediment supply (flow weighted; normalized to area): 1,012kg/ha/yr
  • Total suspended sediment end-of-subcatchment (flow weighted) yield: 137 kt/yr
  • Event Mean Concentration (EMC - flow weighted): 850 mg/L
  • Mean Annual Flow: 161,268 ML

Hillslope erosion is identified as the major source of sediment and particulate nutrients affecting water quality within the Pelican Creek sub-catchment (85%). It is estimated that approximately 31% of the subcatchment has poor ground cover (<50%). Total suspended sediment loss from all sources is predicted to be very high (1,012 kg/ha/yr). The event mean concentration of suspended sediment is also predicted to be high (850 mg/L).

Water Quality Monitoring

Limited water quality monitoring in the Pelican Creek catchment does not permit useful conclusions to be drawn.

Environmental Uses and Values

The following summary of environmental uses and values is based on information extracted from the following reports: Social, Economic, Cultural and Environmental Values of Streams and Wetlands in the Burdekin Dry Tropics Region by Greiner, R and Hall, N. 2006 and Burdekin Basin Draft Water Resource Plan by Queensland Dept. of Natural Resources, Mines and Water, 2006, The Greiner and Hall 2006 report may be accessed from the report section below.

Definition of Environmental Values in the Queensland Water Quality Guidelines 

Fish.jpg Aquatic Ecosystems:

Pelican Creek has major disturbance to water quality and moderate disturbance to hydraulic habitat, riparian vegetation, macro invertebrates and fish.

Pelican Creek subcatchment draft HEV waters

Irrigator.jpg Irrigation:

Irrigation of improved pasture dominates (over 80% of irrigation water use) with relatively minor areas of sorghum and horticulture.

Cow.jpg Stock Watering:

Water supply for production of healthy livestock.

Glass.jpg Drinking Water:

Town water for Collinsville supplied from the the Gattonvale Offstream Storage (and the Bowen River Weir).

Pollution.jpg Industrial Uses:

Scottville open cut coal mine. There are some potential additional demands around Scottville and Collinsville for industrial use of water including those for possible expansions in power generation and for coal mining.

Feet.jpg Cultural and Spirtual:

Custodial use of water resources by ? traditional owners.


Grazing Land

Land Condition

Definition of ABCD land condition framework

Results of a Rapid Land Condition Assessment (adopted from Hassett et al. 2000) are presented below. The assessment has been devised to subjectively characterise condition while traversing the BDT region by vehicle. The data are based on a total of 4666 observations across the Burdekin region between 2004 and 2007.

The data were collected to provide independent information on land condition and provide a regional perspective. Resource assessment data are most useful when interpreted with other sources of data e.g. time-series remote sensing, modelling and water quality monitoring.

The estimated condition of the Pelican Creek sub-catchment is proportioned as follows:

  • A Condition: 2%
  • B Condition: 28%
  • C Condition: 52%
  • D Condition: 18%

Data from the Pelican Creek sub-catchment is based on 99 observations.

On the basis of the rapid assessment, the Pelican Creek sub-catchment is estimated to have the largest proportion of land in poor (C) condition (52%), followed by fair (B) condition (28%) and very poor (D) condition land (18%). 2% of observed land was in good (A) condition.

Ground Cover

Ground Cover in the Pelican Creek sub-catchment is proportioned as follows:

  • ( BC) Bare Cover: 2%
  • ( LC) Low Cover: 27%
  • ( MC) Moderate Cover: 45%
  • ( HC) High Cover: 25%
  • (VHC) Very High Cover: 2%

Data from the Pelican Creek sub-catchment are based on 64 observations.

On the basis of the rapid assessment (2004-2007), the Pelican Creek sub-catchment is estimated to have the highest proportion of land within the moderate (MC) ground cover category (45%), followed by low (LC) cover (27%) and high (HC) cover (25%) categories. 2% of land was estimated to fall into the very high (VHC) and bare cover (BC) category.

Resource Condition Summary

Pelican Creek is a relatively small subcatchment where the major land use is grazing on natural pastures. Mining is also identified as an important land use (QLUMP). Riparian condition in the subcatchment has declined over the last 30 years due to floodplain clearing and gullying. The catchment was in quite good (B) condition in the 1970s, but by 2004 its condition had declined to poor (C). Pelican Creek itself is a seasonal creek system that contains several permanent waterholes, but the water quality is adversely affected by coal mining operations in its upper reaches. Strathmore Creek, which is naturally dry, is afffected by seepage from a coal mine tailings dam, thus producing an altered flow regime and altered water quality. This system has a greater departure from natural conditions than most other creeks in the area and in the Burdekin rangelands.

Hillslope erosion is identified by models as the major source of sediment and particulate nutrients affecting water quality within the Pelican Creek subcatchment. The rate of soil loss is predicted to be high, while the total soil loss from the subcatchment is also relatively high compared to other basin subcatchments. Land condition is assessed as most being in poor (C) condition, with substantial areas of fair (B) and very poor (D) condition land. This is also reflected in the rapid ground cover assessment (2004-07), while analysis of satelite imagery (reference) shows that ground cover has generally declined since 1999. Furthermore, Strathmore Creek is identified as having a particularly high density of land that is both marginal and vulnerable to 'D' condition.

Water quality in the Pelican Creek subcatchment is predicted by models to be very poor, with high concentrations of sediment at end-of-subcatchment. There are no water quality monitoring data, however, with which to compare the modelled concentrations. On the basis of the land condition and ground cover assessments, verification of modelling should be undertaken as a priority.

Draft Environmental Values

A large portion of the Broken River subcatchment has been identified as containing High Ecological Value (HEV) waters by technical experts and workshops. These include the waters within the Eungella National Park and the Gamma, Crediton and Macartney State Forests. The majority of this subcatchment downstream of these areas to Emu Creek has intact remnant vegetation and also contains HEV waters. These waters closely match the area listed on the Directory of Important Wetlands as the Broken River, Urannah Creek and Massey Creek Aggregation. The aquatic ecosystems values of other parts of the subcatchment are considered to be slightly to moderately disturbed as a consequence of the surrounding land use or because of flow modification. Nevertheless, the biological communities are thought to remain in a healthy condition and ecosystem integrity is likely to be largely retained. The human use Environmental Values of Broken River subcatchment are understood to include recreation (swimming, fishing & visual appreciation), irigation, farm supply, industry, stock watering, human consumption, drinking, and the cultural and spiritual values of the ? traditional owners.


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