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Great Sandy Strait catchment story

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Transcript

K'gari is the largest sand island in the world. Most of the island is protected by the Great Sandy National Park and it is also World Heritage-listed. K'gari is important to First Nations peoples. The island supports extensive wetlands and groundwater systems, and provides habitat for a wide range of important species. It is popular with international and national tourists.

The catchment story for K'gari is available here (see transcript below). Please note that this catchment story will open as a map journal in a new tab, and you can come back to this map series to view the other catchment stories in the other tabs.

Main image. Freshwater wetlands, northern K'gari, Photo by Gary Cranitch ©Queensland Museum.

K'gari (Fraser Island) – Map Journal Transcript

K'gari is the largest sand island in the world. Most of the island is part of the Great Sandy National Park and it is also World Heritage-listed and part of the Great Sandy Biosphere Reserve. K'gari is important to Traditional Owners. The island supports extensive wetlands and groundwater systems, and provides habitat for a wide range of important species. It is popular with international and national tourists for aesthetic and natural values such as freshwater lakes, sandy beaches, large dune systems, rainforests and wildlife.

Main image. Freshwater wetlands, northern K'gari, Photo by Gary Cranitch ©Queensland Museum.

Table of contents

  1. Introduction
  2. First Nations peoples
  3. Modified features—infrastructure, dams, weirs and bores
  4. Water quality
  5. Water flow
  6. Vegetation
  7. Vegetation clearing
  8. The subcatchments
  9. Fraser Island coastal drainage south-west (south of Moon Point)
  10. Fraser Island coastal drainage north-west (north of Moon Point)
  11. Fraser Island coastal drainage northern shore
  12. Internal drainage
  13. Fraser Island coastal drainage south-east (south of Indian Head)
  14. Fraser Island coastal drainage north-east (north of Indian Head)
Main image. Coloured sands, eastern beach, Photo by Department of Environment and Science, Queensland Government.

Introduction

Wongari (dingo), Photo by Department of Environment and Science, Queensland Government.
  • The whole of K'gari is of great spiritual and cultural significance to the Butchulla people, who have a continuous connection in caring for country. K'gari is a female white spirit around whom the Butchulla creation story of the island is centred (see the Overview tab for the creation story).
  • K'gari is the largest sand island in the world with mostly older Pleistocene sand (up to approx. 700,000 years old) along the western side, and mostly younger Holocene sand (up to approx. 10,000 years old) along the eastern side (modern sands).
  • Sand (weathered from granite plateaux of New South Wales) travels via longshore drift in a northward direction along the coastline and K’gari traps the sand at its northern end (Waddy Point and Indian Head).
  • Longshore drift continues to transport some sand northward of Breaksea Spit until the flow is interrupted by the discharge of Hervey Bay’s waters, which transports the sand off the shelf and prevents it from reaching the Great Barrier Reef (GBR).
  • Geology also includes alluvium, mud and miscellaneous unconsolidated sediments in the west and volcanic (felsite) outcrops in the east.
  • These mostly porous geologies provide for water infiltration and support extensive groundwater systems.
  • Average annual rainfall of 1,000 to 1,701 millimetres, with higher rainfall over the higher sand ridges in the south.
  • Land use is mostly conservation and natural environments (national park) with relatively small developed areas (residential and associated services) and other minor land uses.

White-bellied sea eagle, eastern beach, Photo by Jenna Tapply, Queensland Government.

  • Mostly minor waterways however there are a few larger waterways, which have permanent freshwater flow (Eli, Bogimbah and Wanggoolba creeks) or tidal waters with extensive mangrove forests (Bennett, Dundonga, Yerrall and Wathumba creeks).
  • A range of different wetlands have formed in the different sands, with newer wetlands in the south-east, perched wetlands (lakes) through the middle, and a freshwater lens to the regional aquifer in the north.
  • Perched aquifers are formed in older sand with more soil formation and organic matter (podosols), where water washes down through the sand and iron and aluminium leach out to concentrate at a wet point, forming a hard pan that cements the sand together and forms coloured sands (red indicates iron, dark indicates organic).
  • Coffee rock has developed in parts; it consists of sand grains weakly cemented together by organic matter (mostly plant-based), which form when humic acids from decaying plant matter are washed down through sandy soils, meeting shallow aluminium-rich groundwater to precipitates and form an indurated sand layer in the B horizon of podosol soils.
  • Generally homogeneous diffuse groundwater discharge into the ocean occurs anywhere intertidally where there is sand, and there are many freshwater seeps onto the beach and potentially also underwater as wonky holes.
  • Patterned fens are unique perched wetland systems located on the island near Moon Point and Wathumba Creek.
  • There are several track crossings and a few bitumen roads, which can modify water flow and be associated with sand scouring and sedimentation.
  • Water is mostly supplied by bores and tanks, and most areas use septic tanks (residential) or hybrid sewage systems (national park facilities)
  • High values of the systems have been recognised through the presence of the Great Sandy Strait Ramsar site, Fraser Island WHA, Great Sandy National Park, Fraser Island and Maaroom declared fish habitat areas (FHAs) and the adjacent Great Sandy Marine Park and Hervey Bay—Tin Can Bay Dugong Protection Area.
  • There are extensive palustrine and estuarine wetlands, together with lacustrine systems and large areas of ‘contains wetlands’, which are listed on the Directory of Important Wetlands Australia (DIWA, Fraser Island).
  • High value species and habitats include Kauri pines, Fraser Island creeper, satinay, tallowwood, blackbutt and other rainforest plants and eucalypts, acid frogs, acid fish (honey blue eye and Oxleyan pygmy perch), water mice, shorebird roosts and feeding areas, sharks, dolphins, dugongs and marine turtles.
  • There are a large number of flora species on K'gari that occur at their northern limit.
  • K’gari is part of the Great Sandy Biosphere Reserve.

Main image. Sand blow on the north-eastern shore, looking over the lacustrine wetlands to Platypus Bay and Rooney's Point, Photo by Gary Cranitch ©Queensland Museum.

*Areas mapped as ’contains wetlands’ typically include many small wetlands, which are too small to map individually.

First Nations peoples

K’gari provided food, water and shelter. There was an abundance of medicinal plants and bush tucker. The wongs (pipi or eugari shellfish) were an important staple food.

When the people were on the mainland there was a tree that would flower as a sign that it was time to travel across to the island. To attend the seafood festival of tailor, visitors were required to keep to certain pathways to travel across to the island, and to travel on the island when they arrived. This was a protocol that ensured their own safety and the hospitality of their Butchulla hosts.

Tinnanbar (originally Dhi'nang-dha) means footprint, that is, a footprint of Yindinjie (the creation spirit) but also there is a pathway there where people travelled across to the island from the south, and one of the closest pathways to K'gari. Inskip Point was also a major pathway.

Modified features—infrastructure, dams, weirs and bores

Most of K'gari is undeveloped, however buildings and important infrastructure such as roads and tracks (mostly four wheel drive tracks) and creek crossings can create barriers and impermeable surfaces that redirect water.

Four wheel drive tracks on eastern beach, Photo by Department of Environment and Science, Queensland Government.

Channelling of water can increases the rate of flow and potential for erosion in some parts of the catchment. Four wheel drive tracks can divert water along the track, particularly where eroded and compacted, and a wetland can form at the water release point.

Modifications to channels, such as straightening and diversions, can also increase flow rates.

Roads and levees - conceptual diagram by Queensland Government

There are several bores*, mostly associated with camping, recreational facilities and residential development. The bores extract water for visitor use, domestic use and fire fighting, and can influence groundwater systems.

Infrastructure, jetties and track crossings can affect fish passage in parts of the catchment.** ^

Main image. Jetty at resort, Photo by Maria Zann.

*Includes registered water bores used for water supply only, provided by derived data set from DNRM&E that excludes monitoring bores. 

See links at the end of this map journal for further information on the following literature.

**Enhanced Management of Ramsar Site Wetlands within the Great Sandy Strait Catchments (Department of National Parks, Sports and Racing 2016).

^Great Sandy Strait Biopassage Remediation Project – Final Report (Berghuis 2012).

Water quality

Water quality is influenced by diffuse runoff and point source inputs. Most of K'gari is protected by native vegetation, how there can be runoff from land uses such as transport (tracks), residential and services (camping and resort facilities).

Lake Boorangoora, Photo by Jenna Tapply, Queensland Government.

Diffuse runoff includes on-site sewage facilities (e.g. septic tanks) and stormwater discharges, particularly from low permeability surfaces in more developed areas. The concentration of potential contaminants in the stormwater discharge depends on the land use of the area.

Septic tank diagram provided by SEQ catchments, Ipswich City Council and West Moreton Landcare, using IAN Library products.

Point source inputs include several sewage treatment plants (STPs). The resort on the west coast has a small STP, but many of the other areas use septic tanks (e.g. residential areas) or enclosed treatment systems (e.g. camping areas).

Catchment conceptual model, provided by Queensland Government.***

Main image. Humpback whale, Photo by Department of Environment and Science, Queensland Government.

See links at the end of this map journal for further information on the following references.

*Reef 2050 Water Quality Improvement Plan (Queensland Government 2018)

Related literature: Reef 2050 Water Quality Improvement Plan - Report cards (Queensland Government 2017)

Water flow

Water flows across the landscape into the waterways of the catchment (click for animation)*.

Secluded beach, Photo by Department of Environment and Science, Queensland Government.

The remaining water either sinks into the ground where it supports a variety of groundwater dependent ecosystems (GDEs), including terrestrial GDEs, or is used for other purposes. K'gari is mostly sand, which allows for water infiltration and provides for extensive groundwater systems that support a variety of GDEs.

Main image. Wathumba Creek, Photo by Gary Cranitch ©Queensland Museum.

*Please note this application takes time to load.

Vegetation

Dusky honeyeater, Lake McKenzie, Photo by Jenna Tapply, Queensland Government.

Water that falls as rain, or moves over the land as runoff, is slowed by vegetation, which then allows it to filter down into the soil and sub-soil. Slowing the flow of surface water helps to retain it longer on the land which in turn allows it to filter down through the soil and bedrock to recharge groundwater aquifers.

Lake McKenzie, Photo by Department of Environment and Science, Queensland Government.

Vegetation impacts on water flow - conceptual diagram by Queensland Government

There are currently small areas of cleared vegetation on K'gari. Some vegetation has been previously modified by activities such as logging, fire and wild horses.

Grasstrees flowering after a fire, Bogimbah, Photo by Jenna Tapply, Queensland Government.

The dominant vegetation is coastal heath and both wet and dry eucalypt woodlands and forests, and there are smaller areas of melaleuca woodlands and rainforests and scrubs. Coastal areas support mangroves and saltmarshes, mostly on the Great Sandy Strait but also at Wathumba Creek (Platypus Bay).

These different vegetation types combine to make up the preclearing vegetation of K'gari.*

The wetlands and creeks of the catchment provide habitat for many important aquatic species, including plants, fish and birds. These areas are also used for camping, fishing, crabbing and boating.

Pigface, eastern beach, Photo by Jenna Tapply, Queensland Government.

Wetland types - conceptual model provided by Queensland Government.

Main image. Sand dune vegetation north of Wathumba Creek, Photo by Gary Cranitch ©Queensland Museum.

*Broad Vegetation Groups derived from Regional Ecosystems (REs), which are vegetation communities in a bioregion that are consistently associated with a particular combination of geology, landform and soil.

Vegetation clearing

Very small parts of K'gari have been cleared*, mostly for services such as recreation (resorts), and transport and communication (airstrip). Nearly all of the clearing has regrown.**

Explore the Swipe Map using either of the options below.***

Interactive Swipe App where you can zoom into cleared areas and use the swipe bar (ESRI version)

Interactive Swipe App where you can use the swipe bar. Use the white slide bar at the bottom of the map for a comparison (HTML version)

Main image. Fungus, lichen and moss, Central Station, Photo by Jenna Tapply, Queensland Government.

*The 2011 remnant vegetation mapping was undertaken at a map scale of 1:100,000 and 1:50,000 in part (including the Wet Tropics and south-east Queensland) and based on the Landsat imagery for 2011. It does not show all clearing, particularly relatively thin linear infrastructure.

**Smaller areas of regrowth are not shown in this mapping. This dataset was prepared to support certain category C additions to the Regulated Vegetation Management Map under the Vegetation Management (Reinstatement) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2016. This dataset is described as: The 2013 areas of non-remnant native woody vegetation that have not been cleared between 1988 and 2014 that are homogenous for at least 0.5 hectare and occur in clumps of at least 2 hectares in coastal regions and 5 hectares elsewhere.

***Depending on your internet browser, you may experience issues with one or the other. Please note this application takes time to load.

The subcatchments

A 'catchment' is an area with a natural boundary (for example ridges, hills or mountains) where all surface water drains to a common channel to form rivers or creeks.*

K'gari consists of several distinct areas which have similar characteristics:

  • Fraser Island coastal drainage south-west (south of Moon Point) (Wanggoolba, Woonggang, Ungowa, Tumbowah, Geewan, Coolooloi, Poyungan, Boon Boon, Dundonga, Bennett, Yidney and Bogimbah creeks, Garry’s Anchorage and North White Cliffs)
  • Fraser Island coastal drainage north-west (north of Moon Point) (Yeerall, Bowal, Awinya, Bowarrady, Woralie, Coongul and Wathumba creeks, Platypus Bay, Triangle Cliff, Rooney Point, Teebing)
  • Fraser Island coastal drainage (northern shore) (Rooneys and Bull creeks, Rooneys Point and Sandy Cape)
  • Internal drainage including lakes (Marong, Manoolcoong, Wanhar, Yeenan, Minker, Urow-wa, Caree, Gnarann, White, Geeoong, Bowarrady, Boomerang, Garawongera, McKenzie , Jennings, Birrabeen, Barga, Benaroon, Boomanjin and Yankee Jack lakes and Wocco, Wang Ann, Boolla, Calarge, Coochee, Moondoora, Red and Beeliwa and Woogoonba lagoons, Bowarrady, Garawongera and Fig Tree creeks and unnamed tributaries)
  • Fraser island coastal drainage south-east (south of Indian Head) (Taleerba, Govi, Gerowweea, Eli and Akuna creeks and Poyungan and Yidney rocks)
  • Fraser island coastal drainage north-east (north of Indian Head) (Orange Creek, Middle Rocks, Waddy Point, Ngkala and Browns rocks)

Main image. Red Lagoon, Photo by Gary Cranitch ©Queensland Museum.

*Definition sourced from the City of Gold Coast website - see links at the end of this map journal.

Fraser Island coastal drainage south-west (south of Moon Point)

  • The geology of the Fraser Island coastal drainage south-west subcatchment is dominated by sand, together with alluvium, mud and miscellaneous unconsolidated sediments.
  • The subcatchment is dominated by older Pleistocene (approx. 10,000 to 700,000 years ago) sand, with more developed waterways in these older sands than in the younger Holocene (present to approx. 10,000 years) sands along the east coast.
  • The sand dune systems are undulating to approx. 185 metres ASL (Leading Hill, Poyungan Hill), with mostly flat to undulating coastal sediments but some steeper shorelines (North White Cliffs).
  • These mostly porous geologies provide for water infiltration and support extensive groundwater systems.
  • Average annual rainfall of 1,400 to 1,701 millimetres, with higher rainfall over the higher sand ridges.
  • Land use is mostly conservation and natural environments (national park, other minimal use) with relatively small developed areas (residential and associated services) and other minor land uses.
  • The area is important to First Nations peoples because of women's business areas. Moon Point is part of the creation story (see overview tab for the creation story). Butchulla people were relocated to Bogimbah Mission (on K'gari) and were later moved off the island to Cherbourg, Woorabinda and Yarrabah.
  • Mostly minor waterways however there are several larger waterways in the older sand along the west coast, many of which have permanent flow (e.g. Bogimbah and Wanggoolba creeks) or tidal waters with extensive mangrove forests (e.g. Bennett and Dundonga creeks).
  • There are many freshwater seeps onto the beach, often in association with coffee rock, and potentially underwater as wonky holes.
  • Patterned fens are unique perched wetland systems that have developed in association with sand masses, and are well developed around Moon Point.
  • There are several track crossings and a few bitumen roads, which can modify water flow.
  • Water is mostly supplied by bores and tanks, and most areas use septic tanks (residential) or hybrid sewage systems (national park facilities)
  • High values of the systems have been recognised through the presence of the Great Sandy Strait Ramsar site, Fraser Island WHA, Great Sandy National Park, Maaroom declared fish habitat area (FHA) and the adjacent Great Sandy Marine Park and Hervey Bay—Tin Can Bay Dugong Protection Area.
  • A range of different wetlands have formed in the different sands, and there are extensive palustrine and estuarine wetlands, together with areas of ‘contains wetlands’*, which are listed on the Directory of Important Wetlands Australia (DIWA, Fraser Island).
  • High value species and habitats include acid frogs, acid fish, mangroves and saltmarsh, water mice, shorebird roosts and feeding areas, dolphins, dugongs and marine turtles.
  • Issues include modified flow associated the bridges, high nutrient levels (due to lack of buffering capacity in sand), weeds such as groundsel, gambusia (Dundonga Creek) and high utilisation of Garry’s Anchorage.

Main image. Blue tongue, Ungowa Creek, Photo by Jenna Tapply, Queensland Government.

*Areas mapped as ’contains wetlands’ typically include many small wetlands, which are too small to map individually.

Fraser island coastal drainage north-west (north of Moon Point)

  • The geology of the Fraser Island coastal drainage north-west subcatchment is dominated by sand, together with alluvium, mud and miscellaneous unconsolidated sediments.
  • The subcatchment is dominated by older Pleistocene (approx. 10,000 to 700,000 years ago) sand with more developed waterways in these older sands than in the younger Holocene (up to 10,000 years ago) sand along the east coast.
  • The sand dune systems are undulating to approx. 150 metres ASL, with mostly flat to undulating coastal sediments but some steeper shorelines (Triangle Cliff).
  • These mostly porous geologies provide for water infiltration and support extensive groundwater systems.
  • Average annual rainfall of 1,000 to 1,601 millimetres but mostly less than 1,301.
  • Land use is all conservation and natural environments (national park, other minimal use).
  • The area is important to First Nations peoples for both women's and men's business areas around Coongul and Wathumba (women's) creeks.
  • This area has more major waterways than to the south, with several relatively larger waterways such as Yeerall and Wathumba creeks.
  • A range of different wetlands have formed in the different sands.
  • Perched aquifers are formed in older sand with more soil formation and organic matter (podosols), water washes down and iron and aluminium leach out to concentrate at a wet point, forming a hard pan that cements the sand together and forms coloured sands (red indicates iron, dark indicates organic).
  • There are many freshwater seeps onto the beach, most likely to be in association with coffee rock, and potentially underwater as wonky holes.
  • Patterned fens are unique perched wetland systems that have developed in association with sand masses, and are well developed around Wathumba Creek.
  • There are several track crossings, which can modify water flow and be associated with sand scouring and sedimentation.
  • Water is supplied by bores and tanks, and the Wathumba camp area uses septic tanks.
  • High values of the systems have been recognised through the presence of the Great Sandy Strait Ramsar site, Fraser Island WHA, Great Sandy National Park, Fraser Island declared fish habitat area (FHA) and the adjacent Great Sandy Marine Park and Hervey Bay—Tin Can Bay Dugong Protection Area.
  • There are extensive palustrine and estuarine wetlands, which are listed on the Directory of Important Wetlands Australia (DIWA, Fraser Island).
  • High value species and habitats include acid frogs, acid fish, mangroves and saltmarsh, water mice, shorebird roosts and feeding areas, dolphins, dugongs and marine turtles.
Main image. Moon Point, looking back towards Hervey Bay, Photo by Gary Cranitch ©Queensland Museum.

Fraser Island coastal drainage northern shore

  • The geology of the Fraser Island coastal drainage northern shore subcatchment is all sand, dominated by younger Holocene (present to approx. 10,000 years ago) sand with older Pleistocene (approx. 10,000 to 700,000 years ago) sand centrally.
  • The sand dune systems are undulating to approx. 50 metres ASL with isolated peaks to 100 metres ASL (Sandy Cape Lighthouse), and form large sand swales with low vegetation in the west and slightly steeper with higher vegetation in the east.
  • The sand provides for water infiltration and supports extensive groundwater systems.
  • Average annual rainfall of 1,000 to 1,401 millimetres.
  • Land use is all conservation and natural environments (national park).
  • The area is important to First Nations peoples.
  • Minor waterways of Rooneys and Bull creeks, which have low elevation (i.e. little head) but the regional aquifer largely keeps out the salt water.
  • There are freshwater seeps onto the beach and underwater as wonky holes, often in association with coffee rock and consolidated substrates (e.g. Keith’s Reef).
  • Water is supplied by tanks, and the lighthouse facilities use septic tank.
  • High values of the systems have been recognised through the presence of the Fraser Island WHA, Great Sandy National Park, Fraser Island declared fish habitat area (FHA) and the adjacent Great Sandy Marine Park.
  • There are extensive palustrine wetlands, which are listed on the Directory of Important Wetlands Australia (DIWA, Fraser Island).
  • High value species and habitats include shorebird feeding areas and marine turtle nesting beaches.

Internal drainage

  • The geology of the Internal drainage subcatchment (including lakes) is all sand, including older Pleistocene (approx. 10,000 to 700,000 years ago) sand and younger Holocene (present to 10,000 years ago) sand.
  • The large sand dune systems are undulating to approx. 200 metres ASL.
  • The sand provides for water infiltration and supports extensive groundwater systems.
  • Average annual rainfall of 1,000 to 1,701 millimetres, with higher rainfall over the higher sand ridges in the south.
  • Land use is conservation and natural environments (national park, other minimal use) with relatively small developed areas (residential and associated services) and other minor land uses.
  • The area is important to First Nations peoples for its many sacred lakes.
  • A range of different palustrine and lacustrine (lake) wetlands have formed in the different sands, which are listed on the Directory of Important Wetlands Australia (DIWA, Fraser Island).
  • Wetlands include a series of perched lakes through the centre of the island, and rare (particularly when surrounded by ocean) freshwater lenses to the regional aquifer north of Tukkee Wuru (Indian Head).
  • There are several track crossings, which can modify water flow and be associated with sand scouring and sedimentation.
  • Water is mostly supplied by bores and tanks, and most areas use septic tanks or contained (hybrid) sewage systems.
  • High values of the systems have been recognised through the presence of the Fraser Island WHA and Great Sandy National Park.
  • Large trees including rainforests and eucalypt forests are associated with more well-developed soils.
  • High value species and habitats include rainforests, eucalypt forests and acid frogs.
Main image. Lake McKenzie, Photo by Department of Environment and Science ©Queensland Government.

Fraser island coastal drainage south-east (south of Indian Head)

Melaleuca wetland, Eli Creek, Photo by Jenna Tapply, Queensland Government.

  • The geology of the Fraser Island coastal drainage south-east subcatchment is mostly sand with small areas of mud in the south.
  • The sand is mostly younger Holocene (present to approx. 10,000 years ago) sand with small areas of older Pleistocene (approx. 10,000 to 700,000 years ago) sand.
  • There are large sand dune systems undulating to approx. 235 metres ASL Burrgum Hill), with several large sand blows in the younger eastern sands, which are associated with the predominant south-easterly winds.
  • To the south of Eurong there are wetlands in parabolic dunes with streams running parallel to the beach and several ICOLLs (intermittently closed and open lagoons and lakes) (e.g. Taleerba Creek).
  • To the north of Eurong there are large sand blows and limited wetland formation in the more mobile sand, with more permanent creeks (e.g. Eli and Akuna creeks).
  • These porous geologies provide for water infiltration and support extensive groundwater systems.
  • Average annual rainfall of 1,000 to 1,701 millimetres, with higher rainfall over the central sand ridges.
  • Land use is mostly conservation and natural environments (national park) with relatively small developed areas (residential and associated services) and some dune modification by historic mining.
  • Tukkee Wuru is the Butchulla name for the stone sisters, Indian Head, Middle Rocks and Waddy Point. This is where Captain Cook first saw the Butchulla people. It is also a sorry business area.
  • There are many freshwater seeps onto the beach, often in association with coffee rock, and potentially underwater as wonky holes.
  • There are several track crossings and a few bitumen roads, which can modify water flow.
  • Water is mostly supplied by bores and tanks, and most areas use septic tanks (residential e.g. Happy Valley, Yidney Rocks) or hybrid sewage systems (national park facilities).
  • High values of the systems have been recognised through the presence of the Fraser Island WHA, Great Sandy National Park, Fraser Island declared fish habitat area (FHA) and the adjacent Great Sandy Marine Park.
  • There are extensive palustrine wetlands in the south, which are listed on the Directory of Important Wetlands Australia (DIWA, Fraser Island).
  • Large trees including rainforests and eucalypt forests are associated with more well-developed soils.
  • High value species and habitats include Kauri pines and other rainforest plants, eucalypt forests, acid frogs, jungle perch, acid fish, shorebird feeding and roosting areas, sharks, dolphins and marine turtles.
Main image. Forest, Eli Creek, Photo by Department of Environment and Science ©Queensland Government.

Fraser Island coastal drainage north-east (north of Indian Head)

  • The geology of the Fraser island coastal drainage north-east subcatchment is mostly younger Holocene (present to approx. 10,000 years ago) sand with small areas of felsite that give rise to the rock formations of Indian Head, Middle Rocks and Waddy Point.
  • There are several large sand blows in these younger sands, which are associated with the predominant south-easterly winds.
  • These mostly porous geologies provide for water infiltration and support extensive groundwater systems.
  • Average annual rainfall of 1,000 to 1,401 millimetres, with higher rainfall over the central sand ridges.
  • Land use is mostly conservation and natural environments (national park) with relatively small developed areas (residential and associated services).
  • The area is important to First Nations peoples.
  • There are only minor waterways and several ICOLLs (intermittently closed and open lagoons and lakes), such as Orange Creek and Ocean Lake.
  • There are many freshwater seeps onto the beach, often in association with coffee rock, and potentially underwater as wonky holes.
  • There are several track crossings and a few bitumen roads, which can modify water flow.
  • Water is mostly supplied by bores and tanks, and most areas use septic tanks (residential) or hybrid sewage systems (national park facilities).
  • High values of the systems have been recognised through the presence of the Fraser Island WHA, Great Sandy National Park, Fraser Island declared fish habitat area (FHA) and the adjacent Great Sandy Marine Park.
  • There are palustrine wetlands and one perched lacustrine wetland (Ocean Lake), which are listed on the Directory of Important Wetlands Australia (DIWA, Fraser Island).
  • Large trees including rainforests and eucalypt forests are associated with more well-developed soils.
  • High value species and habitats include Kauri pines and other rainforest plants, eucalypt forests, acid frogs, acid fish, shorebird feeding areas, sharks, dolphins and marine turtles.
Main image. Indian Head, Photo by Department of Environment and Science, Queensland Government.

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Last updated: 23 July 2020

This page should be cited as:

Department of Environment and Science, Queensland (2020) Great Sandy Strait catchment story – K'gari (Fraser Island), WetlandInfo website, accessed 24 September 2020. Available at: https://wetlandinfo.des.qld.gov.au/wetlands/ecology/processes-systems/water/catchment-stories/transcript-great-sandy-strait-and-surrounding-catchments/transcript-kgari-fraser-island.html

Queensland Government
WetlandInfo   —   Department of Environment and Science