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Fitzroy River Enhanced Environmental Monitoring Program

Program start date

13 Novenmer 2012

Program end date

31 May 2013

Objectives of the program

  • The program aims to:
  • Independently collect and analyse water samples at key sites along the Isaac and lower Fitzroy Rivers which have the potential to be impacted by the pilot mine releases.
  • Independently monitor any visible deterioration in fish health and/or movement of fish away from areas of reduced water quality
  • Independently validate the requirements for industry monitoring under the amended environmental authorities for mine water releases
    Provide regular, publically available reports

Driver for monitoring program

To independently verify the distribution of mine water constituents through the Fitzroy river system associated with 2012/13 wet season trial
This program has been developed jointly by staff from the Department of Natural Resource and Mines and the Department of Science, Information Technology, Innovation and the Arts. Consultation has included staff from the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection to ensure consistency and relevance of this program to independently validate the requirements for industry monitoring under the amended environmental authorities.

The intent is to provide independently collected and analysed water quality reports for key sites along the Isaac and lower Fitzroy Rivers system. This program does not replace the monitoring requirements associated with the environmental authorities for mine water releases, and will not provide a comprehensive environmental health assessment. It is primarily targeting key parameters associated with mine water releases and data will be provided in regular, publically available reports.

Who is involved?

Lead organisation

Queensland Government Department of Natural Resources and Mines

Contact details of lead organisation: Water.Monitoring♲nrm.qld.gov.au

Website: http://www.fitzroyriver.qld.gov.au/

Partner organisations

Queensland Government Department of Science Information Technology Innovation and the Arts

List of indicators monitored

Water samples will be analysed for:

    • Major anions and cations
    • Ultratrace PAH
    • Total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPH) (Total and silica gel cleanup TPH C6-C40)
    • Total and dissolved (filtered) metals: Al, Sb, As, Ba, Be, B, Cd, Cr, Co, Cu, Fe, Pb, Li, Mn, Mo, Ni, Se, Ag, Sr, Th, Sn, U, V, Zn.

Physical-chemical parameters will be measured at each site in situ for:

    • electrical conductivity (EC)
    • normalized to 25 degC,
    • temperature,
    • pH,
    • dissolved oxygen (DO) and
    • turbidity.

The fish health survey will monitor fish communities to describe and quantify change in the:

    • Occurrence of external lesions, rashes, parasites and other evidence of disease as an indicator of fish health; and
    • Abundance and species composition of fish communities as an indicator of fish movements; in relation to mine dewatering.

Scale of program

Catchment

Brief description of sampling locations

The seven water sampling locations align to most the readily accessible key gauging stations and are currently used for ambient water quality monitoring programs and flow monitoring.  These sites are also used as key nodes within the cumulative modelling framework developed to assess the impacts of mine water releases in the Fitzroy basin. The water sampling locations will be Connors River at Lotus Creek Road, Isaac River at May Downs Road, Fitzroy River at Eden Ban Weir, Isaac River at Fitzroy Development Road, Mackenzie River at Fitzroy Development Road, Mackenzie River at New Dumbarton, Fitzroy River at Ramsden Street.

Three control sites are located on the Connors River near to, but above, the junction of the Connors and Isaac rivers are Connors River at Cardowan, Connors River at Mount Spencer and Connors River at Twin Bridges

Three test sites located on the Isaac River, one above and two below the junction of the Connors and Isaac rivers, which lies close downstream of inputs from all  four BHP BMA mines expected to be dewatered (in the zone of largest potential ecological impact) are Isaac River at May Downs Road, Isaac River at Manly Access Road and Isaac River at Batheaston-Isaac Road

Frequency of monitoring

Water quality samples will be collected using the following frequency guidelines: 1. Pre-release sampling; 2. Weekly samples commencing from time of first release authorised under the pilot mine release strategies for a period of 6 weeks; 3. Monthly sampling over the duration of the wet season, extending until May 2013. 

Fish health surveys will be conducted for two sampling events:

  • One event prior to mine dewatering (e.g. Dec 2012 –Jan 2013, preferably under similar flow conditions as expected for later sampling)
  • One event two to three months after the commencement of mine dewatering (e.g. Apr 2013)

Where is the program reported?

http://www.fitzroyriver.qld.gov.au/

Frequency of reporting

Water quality data will be collated and reported against existing water quality guidelines within 10 business days of the verified data being provided to the Department.

Results for the fish health survey ‘control’ sites will be used as the equivalent of water quality guidelines against which water quality monitoring data will be compared as part of existing work.  Summary results for ‘test’ sites will be collated and reported against those for ‘control’ sites within 14 business days of the completion of each sampling event.


Last updated: 22 March 2013

This page should be cited as:

Fitzroy River Enhanced Environmental Monitoring Program, WetlandInfo, Department of Environment and Heritage Protection, Queensland, viewed 12 September 2017, <https://wetlandinfo.ehp.qld.gov.au/wetlands/assessment/monitoring/current-and-future-monitoring/fitzroy-river-enhanced-environmental.html>.

Queensland Government
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