Flora and fauna survey of the Inkerman and Molongle blocks, Burdekin River irrigation area, right bank

Kutt, A., and Kemp, J. (1998) Flora and fauna survey of the Inkerman and Molongle blocks, Burdekin River irrigation area, right bank. Report. James Cook University, Townsville, QLD, Australia.

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[Extract] The Australian Centre for Tropical Freshwater Research (ACTFR), James Cook University of North Queensland, Townsville, was engaged by the Department of Natural Resources to undertake a flora and fauna survey of two parcels of land, the Inkerman and Molongle blocks, associated with the potential future development of the Elliott Main Channel. The study area lie within the Brigalow Belt bioregion, a large and complex area that encompasses much of the 500-750mm per annum rainfall country from the Queensland-New South Wales border to Townsville.

The survey of the Inkerman and Molongle blocks was required, via field survey and literature review, to: identify common and significant flora and fauna species, habitat and communities; identify core and non-core conservation areas including significant communities, wildlife corridors or other areas of value requiring protection or careful management; and provide recommendations for the future sustainable management of the study areas.

The vegetation survey identified a rare grass species, (POACEAE Dichanthium setosum) in the understorey of vegetation type Melaleuca spp., Corymbia tessellarisand vine thicket species on creek banks (Inkerman community description 7 and Molongle 5a community description 5). In addition, four plant species collected were new records for the North Kennedy region: Malvaceae Abelmoschus moschatus; Marsileaceae Marsilea drummondii; Poaceae Sporobolus disjunctus; and Combretaceae Terminalia platyphylla.

A total of 15 broad vegetation types were recorded from the study areas: in Molongle 5a, six vegetation types, five of which were of bioregional conservation status and four of provincial (moderate to high) conservation significance; Molongle 5b, eight vegetation types, three of which were of bioregional conservation status and seven of provincial (moderateto very high) conservation significance; and in Inkerman, eleven vegetation types, six of which were of bioregional conservation status and four of provincial conservation significnace.

The vertebrate fauna survey recorded a total of 138 vertebrate fauna species, comprising of 24 mammal species, 101 bird species, 6 amphibian species and 7 reptile species were recorded during the field survey. In addition, 41 specimens (comprising 14 mammals, 16 birds, 1 amphibians, 10 reptiles) were identified for the areas from the Queensland Museum database and a total of 392 species (292 birds, 56 mammals, 34 reptiles and 10 amphibians) for the Lower Burdekin Region from literature sources.

From the field survey and a review of secondary sources 13 species of conservation significance were identified for the Inkerman and Molongle areas: Northern Quoll Dasyurus hallucatus; Squirrel Glider Petaurus norfolcensis; Greater Glider Petauroides volans; Spectacled hare-wallaby Lagorchestes conspicillatus; Koala Phascolarctus cinereus; Bare-rumped Sheath-tailed BatSaccolaimus saccolaimus; Red Goshawk Erythrotriorchis radiatus; Square-tailed Kite Lophoictinia isura; Black-chinned Honeyeater Melithreptus gularis; Black-throated Finch Poephila cincta cincta; Ground Cuckoo-shrike Coracina maxima; Squatter Pigeon (southern subspecies) Geophaps scripta scripta; and Rufous Owl (eastern subsp.) Ninox rufa queenslandica.

The report recommends that any future development in these areas associated with the extension of the Elliott Main Channel should incorporate a reserve systems that:

•protects all 'endangered' regional ecosystems and a proportion of those that are 'of concern' that maximises their representation; •represents the diversity of regional ecosystems and vegetation types in the area and should also include portions of those regional ecosystems of 'no concern at present' and examples of all significant habitat types; that is connected to larger areas of more intact vegetation and habitat outside the development blocks; •has at least one continuous link from coastal to upland areas to act as a wildlife corridor; •is of a viable size that will again prevent its susceptibility to degradation via stochastic events and support in itself a stable fauna assemblage.

In addition, the following recommendations were made in regards to the sustainable management of the study area for nature conservation:

•develop and implement clear guidelines for the management and monitoring of these reserves such a new or pre-existing Environmental Management Plan; •consider the prospect of rehabilitation of degraded sites within the study area, particularly if some sites of conservation significance will be degraded or disturbed as a consequence of the Elliott Main Channel extension; •develop complementary community education programs to educate of local land-owners and community members as to the values and importance of conservation reserves in their local area; and •develop of long-term monitoring programs examining the viability and functioning of flora and fauna communities, together with an assessment of the effectiveness of environmental management guidelines, within any reserve systems.

Item ID: 36303
Item Type: Report (Report)
Additional Information:

A report to Department of Natural Resources, State Water Projects, Ayr. Report No. 97/24

Funders: Department of Natural Resources (DNR)
Projects and Grants: DNR State Water Projects
Date Deposited: 20 Dec 2016 23:43
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050205 Environmental Management @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9606 Environmental and Natural Resource Evaluation > 960604 Environmental Management Systems @ 100%
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