What the results tell us for Young
No quantitative information was available to assess change in riparian condition across Young Shire during the current reporting period, although riparian ecosystems had become stressed from prolonged drought conditions. During the reporting period, five threatening processes which impact on riparian condition were listed under the Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995 and the Fisheries Management Act 1994.
Council or community groups undertook at least four projects between July 2000 and June 2004 to rehabilitate riparian areas within the shire.
Condition of riparian zones in the shire
During the previous reporting period, riparian vegetation was reported to be under high stress with the majority of this vegetation being in poor condition within the Burrangong, Crowther and Western Bland creeks within the shire (OCE 2000). The majority of Burrangong Creek was assessed as having good bank stability, the majority of Crowther Creek as having medium to poor bank stability and the majority of Western Bland Creek as having medium bank stability.
The extent to which the condition of riparian vegetation, channel modification and streambank disturbance across the shire changed in the current reporting period is not known, as no comprehensive assessment of riparian condition was undertaken for the period and no other detailed shire-wide information was available.
Council reports that most riparian ecosystems were suffering from prolonged drought conditions and lack of flow in watercourses. These factors, in conjunction with a falling watertable (again mostly due to drought) has led to evidence of dieback as well as noticeable stress within these communities. It is not known if these conditions will have any long-term effects or whether recovery will occur when the rains return (Filmer 2005).
Threats to riparian condition
Two processes relating to riparian condition have been listed as key threatening processes in the state (see Table 1) by the NSW Scientific Committee under the Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995. Final determinations for both of these were made during the current reporting period. During the same period the NSW Fisheries Scientific Committee also listed, under the Fisheries Management Act 1994, three key threatening processes relevant to riparian areas (Table 1).
|Name of threatening process||Date of final determination or gazettal|
|Alteration to the natural flow regimes of rivers, streams, floodplains and wetlands (DEC 2005a)||Final: 31 May 2002|
|Clearing of native vegetation (DEC 2005b)||Final: 21 September 2001|
|Degradation of native riparian vegetation along NSW watercourses (DPI 2005a)||Gazetted: 16 November 2001|
|Installation and operation of instream structures and other mechanisms that alter the natural flow regimes of rivers and streams (DPI 2005b)||Gazetted: 24 May 2002|
|Removal of large woody debris (DPI 2005c)||Gazetted: 2 November 2001|
The impacts of these key threatening processes on riparian condition and waterways include (DEC 2005a, b; DPI 2005a–c):
- bank erosion
- impairment of important ecosystem services for fish and invertebrates (e.g. removal of refuges used during flooding or drought or removal of spawning sites)
- reduced nutrient filtering capacity
- increased light penetration of the waterbody and loss of shade and shelter for fish
- reduced inputs of organic carbon (such as twigs and leaves)
- changes to stream behaviour.
What is being done to protect riparian zones?
Community groups, council and other organisations undertook various projects during the reporting period that enhanced riparian condition in the shire; a selection of projects is shown in Table 2.
The Burrangong Creek project was undertaken by Young District Landcare, and involved fencing off seven kilometres of the riparian zone to allow regeneration and establishment of vegetation to prevent further erosion and to minimise stock damage to streambanks. Stock watering points were relocated to adjacent paddocks, and trees that had died during the drought were replaced.
The rehabilitation of erosion along Reedy and Racecourse creeks was undertaken by Young District Landcare—Murringo and East Young Sub-group. The project, which aimed to reduce erosion, soil and nutrient loss, resulted in 13.2 hectares of eroding and saline country being fenced and alternative stock watering points being provided. Approximately 5,280 native trees, shrubs and grasses were planted as part of the project.
|Project area||Purpose||Source of grant#|
|Burrangong Creek||Riparian fencing, alternative stock watering points, replanting of trees lost to drought||Natural Heritage Trust, Envirofund, 2003–04|
|Cudgell Creek||Native vegetation protection and enhancement||Natural Heritage Trust, Envirofund, 2002–03|
|Murringo, Back and Ten Mile Creek||Salinity rectification||Natural Heritage Trust, Envirofund, 2002–03|
|Reedy and Racecourse Creeks||Rehabilitation of erosion, fencing of eroded and saline area, regeneration and replanting, alternative stock watering points||Natural Heritage Trust, Envirofund, 2002–03|
* More information about these projects can be found on the NHT website and the Environmental Trust website; # Council, community groups or other organisations may have contributed additional funding.
Nationally funded activities undertaken during the reporting period in the Lachlan Catchment Management Authority area (DIPNR 2004) may also have enhanced riparian condition in the shire.
About the data
Data were provided by Young Shire Council.
DEC—see Department of Environment and Conservation (NSW)
Department of Environment and Conservation (NSW) (2005a) NSW Scientific Committee—Final Determination, Alteration to the Natural Flow Regimes of Rivers, Streams, Floodplains and Wetlands—Key Threatening Process Declaration, NSW Department of Environment and Conservation, viewed 2 August 2005, http://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/npws.nsf/Content/Alteration+to+the+ natural+flow+regimes+of+rivers%2C+streams%2C+floodplains+and+wetlands+key+ threatening+process+declaration.
Department of Environment and Conservation (NSW) (2005b) NSW Scientific Committee—Final Determination, Clearing of Native Vegetation—Key Threatening Process Declaration, NSW Department of Environment and Conservation, viewed 2 August 2005, http://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/npws.nsf/Content/Clearing+of+native+vegetation+key +threatening+process+declaration.
Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Natural Resources (NSW) (2004) 2003/04 Combined NSW Catchment Management Authorities Annual Report, Volume 1: CMA Activities and Achievements, Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Natural Resources, Sydney.
Department of Primary Industries (NSW) (2005a) Fisheries Scientific Committee Recommendation—Degradation of Native Riparian Vegetation Along New South Wales Watercourses, NSW Department of Primary Industries, viewed 11 August 2005, http://www.fisheries.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/5287/FR19_rip_veg2.pdf.
Department of Primary Industries (NSW) (2005b) Fisheries Scientific Committee Recommendation—Installation and Operation of Instream Structures and Other Mechanisms that Alter Natural Flow Regimes of Rivers and Streams, NSW Department of Primary Industries, viewed 11 August 2005, http://www.fisheries.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/5284/FR21_dams.pdf.
Department of Primary Industries (NSW) (2005c) Fisheries Scientific Committee Recommendation—Removal of Large Woody Debris, NSW Department of Primary Industries, viewed 11 August 2005, http://www.fisheries.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/5263/FR18_snags_web.pdf.
DIPNR—see Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Natural Resources (NSW)
DPI—see Department of Primary Industries (NSW)
Filmer, C (2005) Group Leader (Planning and Environment), Young Shire Council, personal communication.
OCE—see Office of the Commissioner for the Environment.
Office of the Commissioner for the Environment (2000) Australian Capital Region State of the Environment Report 2000, Office of the Commissioner for the Environment, Canberra (see Young—Riparian Vegetation and Streambank Disturbance indicators).