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Wallum Freshwater Biogeographic Province

Perennial streams

Wet season (Jan-Mar) Average temperature (20°) Temperature varies along a NE-SW gradient Evaporation exceeds rainfall Humic stained water Phosphorus limiting water Nitrogen limiting water Undercut banks present Low turbidity Acidic water Low water temperature High ratio of sodium and chloride Low relief ratio Acidic soils Nitrogen limiting soils Phosphorus limiting soils Large woody debris cover (low) Infiltration exceeds rainfall Groundwater fed system Emergent macrophyte growth forms dominant Sand Cemented "coffee rock" Perched aquifer Regional aquifer Trees, Shrubs, Grasses, Sedges and reeds Trees, Shrubs, Grasses, Sedges and reeds

Chain-of-pond streams

Wet season (Jan-Mar) Average temperature (20°) Temperature varies along a NE-SW gradient Low relief ratio Evaporation exceeds rainfall Humic stained water Hydrologically connected Hydrologically connected Hydrologically disconnected Hydrologically disconnected Phosphorus limiting water Nitrogen limiting water Acidic water High ratio of sodium and chloride Low water temperature Emergent macrophyte growth forms dominant Low turbidity Below ground flow Large woody debris cover (low) Infiltration exceeds rainfall Acidic soils Nitrogen limiting soils Phosphorus limiting soils Sand Grasses Trees, Shrubs, Grasses, Sedges and reeds

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The Wallum Freshwater Biogeographic Province (FBP) is located on the south-east coast of Queensland, covering the mainland coast from Maryborough to Sandstone Point at Deception Bay and the coastal dune islands of Fraser, Moreton, Bribie and North and South Stradbroke Island. The area is part of a larger assemblage of coastal, lowland dune country extending from Coffs Harbour (NSW) in the south to Gladstone (Qld) in the north[1], and continuing intermittently along the northern Queensland coastline. The FBP falls within the Southeast Queensland bioregion and includes a variety of habitat types such as coastal heathland, swamp sedgeland, and schlerophyll shrubland[2][3]. The term ‘wallum’ was derived from the indigenous word used to describe Banksia aemula, a small tree which characteristically occurs in these areas[1][3].

Wallum riverine systems are characterised by high acidity and sandy substrates with limited nutrient availability. Climate and geology are broadly consistent across the region, while variations in hydrology, water quality and habitat result in two distinctive systems:

  • Perennial streams are typically shallow (< 1m deep) coastal streams that experience enduring flow (e.g. Eli Creek, Fraser Island).
  • Chain-of-pond streams are a series of pools with varying depths, whose connection is intermittent and dependent on the level of flow (e.g. Wallum Creek, North Stradbroke Island).

Methods

Information from the State of the Rivers (SoR) project was used to develop habitat characteristics, with some data also drawn from the Queensland Ambient Biological Monitoring Program (ABMAP) in conjunction with expert consultation.

ABMAP and its predecessor projects collected information on riverine structural attributes and assessed the ecological conditions of Queensland’s waterways using aquatic macroinvertebrates as indicators[4].

The analyses here utilised only reference condition sites from ABMAP, which aim to represent the pre-development state of the FBP. It is important to note that due to the different information sources used to characterise the Wallum FBP, the habitat characteristics (with the exception of substrate composition and heterogeneity) are not directly comparable to other FBPs. The limited data availability for this region highlights the need for further research and monitoring.


References

  1. ^ a b Coaldrake, JE 1961, 'The ecosystem of the Coastal Lowlands ("Wallum") of Southern Queensland', CSIRO Bulletin, vol. 283, CSIRO.
  2. ^ Griffith, SJ, Bale, C & Adam, P 2008, 'Environmental correlates of coastal heathland and allied vegetation', Australian Journal of Botany, vol. 56, pp. 512-526, CSIRO.
  3. ^ a b Lieper, G, Glazebrook, J, Cox, D & Rathie, K 2008, Mangroves to mountains: A field guide to the native plants of south-east Queensland, Society for Growing Australian Plants (Queensland Region) Inc., Browns Plains, Queensland.
  4. ^ Steward, A 2007, Ambient biological monitoring and assessment program (ABMAP): 2007 report, Department of Natural Resources & Water, Queensland Government.

Last updated: 22 March 2013

This page should be cited as:

Wallum Freshwater Biogeographic Province, WetlandInfo, Department of Environment and Heritage Protection, Queensland, viewed 1 August 2017, <https://wetlandinfo.ehp.qld.gov.au/wetlands/ecology/aquatic-ecosystems-natural/riverine/wallum/>.

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