3 June, 2020
Resurgence likely for long-dormant artesian springs
AS PRESSURES increase in the Great Artesian Basin aquifers, long-dormant artesian springs may begin to re-emerge. An exciting new project is being launched in western Queensland to identify the ecologically most important springs and implement activities to protect them.
According to Leanne Kohler, CEO with
Longreach-based Desert Channels Queensland (pictured), the 20-year campaign of capping and
piping free flowing bores across the Great Artesian Basin is resulting in
increased artesian pressure which has paved the way for this new project.
“With the pressure increases from the capping program, planning has begun to ensure that when springs re-emerge they will have the best possible management. There is a lot we don't know about which springs will re-emerge or just when and so the new project will identify areas to be prioritised, so we can determine what needs to be put in place” Ms Kohler said.
“We’ll be working with landholders, traditional custodians and science specialists to determine the important values related to these sites and what needs to be done to ensure they can rehabilitate over time to their full potential.
“To give these sites the best chance of successfully regenerating, threats will need to be managed to help protect the water quality of these reborn springs.”
Prediction and Protection of Re-emerging Spring Wetlands within the Great Artesian Basin is an innovative, preemptive project that uses best available knowledge to predict areas where dormant artesian springs are likely to re-emerge and, with the aid of information from ground surveys, and the large range of people interested in these sites - to prioritise where investments are to be made.
Funded by the Queensland government’s Natural Resources Investment Program Innovation component, this two-year project is the first of its kind for the region and for community-based natural resource management group, Desert Channels Queensland.
Project Officer, Jeff Poole, is excited. “It’s great to be involved in such a groundbreaking project,” he said. “Never before have we looked at trying to manage something like a spring before it emerges.”
“Part of the challenge will be to aid landholders to manage a wide enough area as the re-emerging spring may not be in exactly the same spot it was when it dried up and of course the recovery process is just beginning. Recovery is over a long timeframe and we are just at the beginning, but by getting the foundation steps right, the future of these sites will be the best we can make it.
The project will run for two years, concluding in June 2022.