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Jeannie Catchment Story

The catchment stories present a story using real maps that can be interrogated, zoomed in and moved to explore the area in more detail. They are used to take users through multiple maps, images and videos to provide engaging, in-depth information.

Quick facts

This map journal
is part of a series of catchment stories prepared for Queensland.
 

Download catchment boundary KML

Transcript

This catchment story is part of a series prepared for the catchments of Queensland.

We would like to respectfully acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the land on which this project takes place, and Elders both past and present. We also recognise those whose ongoing effort to protect and promote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures will leave a lasting legacy for future Elders and leaders.

Table of contents

  1. Understanding how water flows in the catchment
  2. How to view this map journal
  3. Map journal for the Jeannie catchment—water movement
  4. Jeannie catchment story
  5. Values of the catchment—key features
  6. Values of the catchment—economic
  7. Values of the catchment—environmental and social
  8. Values of the catchment—traditional owners
  9. Natural features—geology and topography
  10. Natural features—rainfall
  11. Natural features—vegetation
  12. Modified features—infrastructure, dams, weirs and bores
  13. Modified features—sediment
  14. Water quality
  15. Water flow
  16. The main areas
  17. Little Muck River
  18. Muck River
  19. Cape Melville
  20. Wakooka Creek
  21. Howick River
  22. Jeannie River
  23. Starcke River
  24. Cape Flattery
  25. McIvor River
  26. Morgan River
  27. Conclusion
  28. Acknowledgments
  29. Data source, links and extra information

 Main image. The Jeannie River - provided by Christina Howley.

Understanding how water flows in the catchment

To effectively manage a catchment it is important to have a collective understanding of how the catchment works. This map journal gathers information from experts, local land managers and other data sources to provide that understanding.

The information was gathered using the ‘walking the landscape’* process, where experts and local land managers systematically worked through a catchment in a facilitated workshop, to incorporate diverse knowledge on the landscape features and processes, both natural and human. It focused on water flow and the key factors that affect water movement.

The map journal was prepared by the Queensland Wetlands Program in the Queensland Department of Environment and Science in collaboration with local partners.

*Walking the Landscape—A Whole-of-system Framework for Understanding and Mapping Environmental Processes and Values (Department of Environment and Heritage Protection 2012) - see links at the end of this map journal for further information.

How to view this map journal

This map journal is best viewed in Chrome or Firefox, not Explorer.

Main image. Cape Flattery dunes and lake - provided by Christina Howley.

Map journal for the Jeannie catchment—water movement

This map journal describes the location, extent and values of the Jeannie catchment. It demonstrates the key features which influence water flow, including geology, topography, rainfall and runoff, natural features, human modifications and land uses.

Knowing how water moves in the landscape is fundamental to sustainably managing the catchment and the services it provides.

Main image. Waterfall on the Jeannie River - provided by Christina Howley.

Jeannie catchment story

The Jeannie catchment is located in north Queensland and is part of the Cape York Natural Resource Management (NRM) region. The catchment falls within the Cook Shire and Hope Vale Aboriginal Shire council areas.

The catchment includes large areas of Aboriginal freehold land*, conservation and natural environments (national park, Cape York Peninsula Aboriginal Land CYPAL, and traditional indigenous uses) and grazing on native pastures together with other land uses. The tenure of Aboriginal freehold land is held by several different groups and it is important to approach the relevant group prior to access.

The catchment covers approximately 3,052 square kilometres (click for animation).

The catchment is a series of coastal catchments and the main waterways are:

  • the Little Muck and Muck rivers, and Nookai and Temple creeks in the north,
  • the Wakooka, Howick, Jeannie and Starcke rivers in the central parts,
  • Blackwater Creek near Cape Flattery, and
  • the Morgan and McIvor rivers in the south, together with
  • many smaller waterways.

All waterways (click for animation) flow to the Great Barrier Reef (GBR), and the Coral Sea. The GBR is World Heritage-listed (GBR WHA) and a marine park** (GBRMP).

The Jeannie Catchment is adjacent to the Endeavour and Normanby 'sub-basins' (or catchments)***. There are hydrological connections between these coastal catchments through surface flow and groundwater.

There is a drop-down legend for most maps and it can be accessed by clicking on 'LEGEND' at the top right of the map. On this map you can use the drop down legend for the land use.

There are also 'pop-ups' for most mapping features - simply click on the mapping of interest for more information.

Main image. Melaleucas and other native vegetation along the Muck River - provided by Christina Howley.

*Land tenure map correct at time of publishing (version 35 dated 8 August 2018) - provided by Department of Environment and Science.

**'Zoning is an important component in managing marine areas. It defines the activities that can occur in which locations. The level of protection increases from the General Use (Light Blue) Zones up to the most restrictive, Preservation Zone. Each zone has different rules for the activities that are allowed, the activities that are prohibited and the activities that require a permit. Zones may also place restrictions on how some activities are conducted.

There are eight different types of zones that apply to the entire Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. The major zones are:

  • General Use (Light Blue)
  • Habitat Protection (Dark Blue)
  • Conservation Park (Yellow)
  • Marine National Park (Green).

Other zones include Preservation (Pink), Scientific Research (Orange), Buffer (Olive Green) and Commonwealth Island Zones, which make up less than five per cent of the Marine Park.' (Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority 2018). See links at the end of this map journal for further information.

***This mapping shows the DNRME 'sub-basin' mapping. The use of the terms 'catchment', 'basin' and 'sub-basin' are sometimes used interchangeably. In this map journal the term 'catchment' has been used other than when referring to this DNRME mapping.

Values of the catchment—key features

Key features of the Jeannie catchment include:

  • Narrow catchment with typically high rainfall, however there have been periods of extreme wet and extreme dry since records began approximately 150 years ago.
  • Northern part are dominated by sandstone caps on metamorphic ridges at elevation, with alluvium (from weathered metamorphics and sandstones) and sand in the flatter riverine and coastal areas, and outcrops of granite (Cape Melville and Cone Peak).
  • Southern parts are dominated by sandstone caps on metamorphics at elevation, with some basalt near Mount Ray and Mount Beardmore, which provide for farming.
  • There is extensive alluvium (from weathered metamorphics, sandstones, and basalts) on the lower elevations in the south.
  • Granites weather down to sands, and metamorphics weather down to fine sediments, and both can be highly erosive.
  • There are large sand dunes associated with Cape Flattery.
  • There are large areas of Aboriginal freehold land.
  • The area is important to Traditional Owners.
  • The catchment is mostly conservation and natural areas (national park CYPAL and other indigenous owned areas), however there are small areas of farming, mining and other land uses.
  • The catchment includes declared fish habitat areas (FHAs), wetlands listed on the Directory of Important Wetlands Australia (DIWA) and nature refuges, and is adjacent to the GBR WHA and GBRMP.
  • Several waterways are spring-fed and near-permanent to permanent.
  • The catchment supports many important plants and animals, including palms and other rainforest plants, mangroves and saltmarshes, Cooktown gecko, magpie geese, sacred ibis, shorebirds, estuarine crocodiles, dugong and commercial fisheries species.
  • There are several endemic species (i.e. species found nowhere else), including a species of leaf-tailed gecko, a skink and the foxtail palm.
  • Large areas of diverse wetland provide important nursery habitat for barramundi and other local and offshore fisheries.
  • Window and perched lakes on the Cape Flattery sand dunes support unique fauna assemblages that vary across the lakes, including freshwater crocodiles and disjunct/relic populations of certain fishes.
  • The catchment has been affected by feral cattle, horses and pigs, and a wide range of weeds.
  • Parts of the catchment are used for four wheel driving and other recreation, and there is associated bank erosion occurring along a number of waterways.
  • The catchment is remote with very few permanent inhabitants and can be hard to access during the wet season. The remoteness and difficulties with access can make effective management problematic.
  • The catchment is fringed by extensive areas of high conservation value reef, seagrass and mussel beds. Including a large GBRMP Preservation (Pink) Zone (the high protection), which provides important habitat for marine species, such as turtles, dugong, sharks and rays.
  • The proximity of these high value marine habitats make effective catchment management (i.e. reduction of sediment and nutrients) even more critical.

Main image. Saltpan on the lower Muck River - provided by Christine Howley.

Values of the catchment—economic

The Jeannie catchment supports a variety land uses*, however most of the catchment is conservation and natural areas with traditional indigenous uses.

There are relatively small rural areas including grazing (mostly on native pastures), forestry, cropping (hay and silage) and horticulture, together with mining and associated services (airstrip and residential).

*Australian Land Use Management Classification (Department of Agriculture and Water Resources 2010) - see links at the end of this map journal for further information.

Values of the catchment—environmental and social

The Jeannie catchment provides important habitat for many marine, estuarine, freshwater and terrestrial species. The catchment holds important values for Traditional Owners and there are large areas of Aboriginal freehold land.

The catchment includes large protected areas (national parks CYPAL) and indigenous lands, which also provide for recreational activities such as bush walking, bird watching and swimming. These activities not only provide substantial social and health benefits but they are also very important for tourism.

The wetlands* and creeks of the catchment provide habitat for many important aquatic species, including plants, fish and birds. Pandanus swamps grow throughout the catchment and can indicate groundwater close to the surface.

Estuarine areas also support important plants (mangrove, saltmarsh and seagrass), estuarine crocodiles, marine turtles, marine mammals and fisheries species. These areas are also used for camping, fishing, crabbing and boating. The beaches around Cape Flattery are also used for recreational activities.

Information about the different types of wetlands shown in this mapping is provided here.

The catchment also includes declared fish habitat areas (FHAs)**, wetlands listed on the Directory of Important Wetlands Australia (DIWA) and nature refuges.

Many of the species in the catchment have lifecycles with connections to the GBR, which is World Heritage-listed and a marine park.

Main image. Dense mangroves along the Muck River - provided by Christina Howley.

*Queensland Wetland Mapping version 5 (2017).

**Declared Fish Habitat Area Plans (Queensland Government 2016) - see links at the end of this map journal for further information.

Natural features—geology and topography

Several different rock types combine to make up the geology of the Jeannie catchment.

The headwaters of the catchment are dominated by hard metamorphic geologies (mudrock/arenite, mostly the Hodgkinson Formation, Gilbert River Formation and Dalrymple Sandstone) on steep slopes. There are smaller areas of hard geologies such as chert and rudite in the south, and granites and ferricrete in the north. Water flow is fast off the hard geologies, particularly where slopes are steep.

Large sand dunes systems of Cape Flattery - provided by Christine Howley.

There is also basalt in the south, which is more porous and allows groundwater infiltration and large areas of more porous sand, particularly in association with Cape Flattery.

Conceptual models for several of the catchment's geology types are provided below.

Exclusion zones - conceptual diagram by Queensland Government.

Fractured rocks - conceptual diagram by Queensland Government.

Coastal sand masses/beach ridges - conceptual diagram by Queensland Government.

Alluvia - conceptual diagram by Queensland Government.

Alluvia - lower catchment - conceptual diagram by Queensland Government.

Permeable rock - conceptual model by the Queensland Government.

Main image. Steep vegetated slopes of the Jeannie River headwaters - provided by Christina Howley.

Natural features—rainfall

The Jeannie catchment usually experiences annual wet and dry seasons, with most of the rainfall typically between December and March.*

The hydrological seasonality associated with these wet and dry season flow conditions are critical to the ecological character, function and associated values of aquatic ecosystems. The dry season is also an essential part of the functioning of the system with these semi-permanent waterholes just as vital to the ecosystems as the wet season flows.

Average annual rainfall is highest over the peaks such Mount Cookabar, Stuckey and Pannielwego in the south, Rocky in central parts, and the Altanmoui Range in the north.**

*Climate online data (Bureau of Meteorology 2019) - see links at the end of this map journal for further information.

**This dataset depicts the 50-year mean annual rainfall isoheyts (contours) over Queensland for the period 1920 to 1969. The dataset was produced from the mean annual rainfall of as many locations as possible including private collections. Incomplete datasets were `made whole` by calculating values for missing periods through correlation with adjacent rainfall stations.

Natural features—vegetation

Vegetation affects how water flows through the catchment, and this process is affected by land use and management practices. Native vegetation slows water, retaining it longer in the landscape and recharging groundwater aquifers, and reducing the erosion potential and the loss of soil from the catchment.

Vegetation impacts on water flow - conceptual diagram by Queensland Government.

Several different vegetation types combine to make up the original native (preclearing) vegetation of the Jeannie catchment.* Small parts of the catchment, mostly in the south, have been cleared or partially-cleared for a range of rural land uses. Some of this vegetation has regrown.**

Explore the swipe map showing vegetation clearing over time, using either of the options below.***

  • Interactive swipe app where you can zoom into 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)

These developments and activities change the shape of the landscape and can modify water flow patterns. The catchment is relatively undeveloped with McIvor River being the most northerly cleared area.

Main image. Sedges, Cape Flattery lake - provided by Christina Howley.

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

**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.

***This application takes time to load.

Modified features—infrastructure, dams, weirs and bores

There is limited infrastructure across the catchment. Land use has modified natural hydrology in some areas. Modifications to channels, such as straightening and diversions, can increase flow rates.

Important infrastructure such as tracks (unsealed roads) and creek crossings can create barriers and impermeable surfaces that redirect water through single points or culverts, leading to channelling of water in some parts of the catchment.

The unsealed nature of the tracks in this catchment can have various impacts. Erosion from these tracks can lead to increased sedimentation in adjacent waterways. This can reduce habitat quality and availability for aquatic life such as macrophytes, invertebrates e.g. mussels and fish.

The tracks can also become boggy and impassable during wet periods. This can lead users to drive off-track and/or create additional tracks, further impacting vegetation and water quality.

Roads/tracks and levees - conceptual diagram by Queensland Government.

Weirs modify natural water flow patterns. They can hold water that would otherwise flow straight into the stream network, and influence tidal movement.

Weirs and other infrastructure can also affect fish passage through the catchment.

There are several bores* across the catchment, which can influence groundwater systems. Numerous artesianal bores have been capped in the Muck, Little Muck and Wakooka subcatchments to limit groundwater draw-down.

*Taken from database storing registered water bore data from private water bores and Queensland Government groundwater investigation and monitoring bores - provided by online Queensland Spatial Catalogue, see metadata at the end of this map journal for further information.

Modified features—sediment

Most of the catchment is undeveloped and protected by native vegetation.

Vegetation clearing and tracks can result in increases in the volume and speed of runoff. Cattle, feral pigs and horses can disturb the soil, increasing erosion in the landscape and the stream channels. This can result in sediment being carried downstream impacting water quality.

Erosion on duplex soils along the Jeannie River - provided by Christina Howley.

Coastal erosion can also be associated with wave action, particularly cyclones.

The suspended sediment of most risk to the GBR is the fine fraction. Fine sediment:

  • contains most of the nitrogen and phosphorus content (and other potential contaminants such as metals),
  • travels widely in flood plumes rather than all depositing near the river mouth, and
  • substantially reduces light when in suspension.

The impacts of suspended sediment contributes to the cumulative impacts of other stressors (e.g. freshwater flood plumes, elevated nutrients, impacts from cyclones, increasing sea surface temperatures) to increase the overall impact on organisms of the GBR.

While coarse sediment may not travel as far as fine sediment, posing a smaller risk to the GBR, it can still significantly impact on local values. Coarse sediment tends to settle out of the water column more rapidly and can smother local benthic communities (e.g. freshwater mussel beds).

Water quality

Water quality is influenced by diffuse runoff and point source inputs. Most of the catchment is protected by vegetation, however runoff can be generated by farming, mining or residential (remote communities) land uses.

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

A major consideration of this catchment is the proximity to sensitive receiving environments. Coral reefs, mussel beds and seagrass beds of high conservation significance occur adjacent to this catchment. There is very little opportunity for the treatment or capture of potential contaminants before they are delivered to the fringing reefs and associated ecosystems.

Catchment conceptual model - provided by Queensland Government.*

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

*Reef 2050 Water Quality Improvement Plan 2017-2022 (Queensland Government 2018)

Related literature: 

Great Barrier Reef Catchment Loads Modelling Program (Queensland Government 2017)

Reef 2050 Water Quality Improvement Plan - Report Cards (Queensland Government 2020) 

Great Barrier Reef Catchment Loads Modelling Program (Queensland Government, 2017)

Reef 2050 Water Quality Improvement Plan 2017-2022. Queensland Government (2018)

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

Water flow

Water flows across the landscape into the Jeannie River and other waterways (click for animation)*.

Rainfall results in runoff to lakes, streams and rivers and infiltration to groundwater. Groundwater may also contribute to stream flow depending on geology and time of year and/or support a variety of groundwater dependent ecosystems. Runoff may also support a variety of terrestrial ecosystems or may be used for other purposes.

The smaller channels and gullies eventually flatten out to form larger waterways that flow through lower lying land. They pass through unconsolidated sediments that store and release water, prolonging the time streams flow.

Two gauging stations operated between 1970 and 1988 in the Jeannie catchment and links to historic flow information** can be found at the end of this map journal.

Main image. Cape Flattery lakes - provided by Christina Howley.

*Please note this application takes time to load.

**Water Monitoring Information Portal (Queensland Government 2020) - see links at the end of this map journal for further information.

The main areas

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.*

The Jeannie catchment is listed as a single catchment but consists of several distinct areas which have similar characteristics:

  • Little Muck River
  • Muck River (the Muck River, and Tamulun and Eumangin creeks)
  • Cape Melville (Temple and Nookai creeks)
  • Wakooka Creek (Saltwater, Wakooka and Gorge creeks)
  • Howick River (the Howick River, and White Water and Sandy creeks)
  • Jeannie River (Rocky and Dead Dog creeks, and the Jeannie River)
  • Starcke River (Old, Ulabokal, Coomban and Running creeks and the Starcke River)
  • Cape Flattery (Blackwater Creek)
  • McIvor River (Tribulation, Police, Pryde, Yamba, Cocoa, Tiger, Pandanus, Sandy, Snake and Blackwater creeks and the McIvor River)
  • Morgan River (Lily, Deception and Smith creeks and the Morgan River)

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

Little Muck River

  • The predominant geology of the Little Muck River is sandstone caps on metamorphic rocks at elevation and extensive alluvium at lower elevation.
  • There are near-permanent waterholes in lower parts, which provide habitat for recreationally and commercially important fish such as barramundi.
  • The alluvial areas tend to hold water for a long time, remaining boggy and difficult to traverse.
  • The subcatchment has historically been impacted by feral animals but these have been actively managed to reduce their impacts.

Muck River

  • The predominant geology of the Muck River is sandstone caps on metamorphic rocks at elevation, and highly duplex soils on top of metamorphics at lower elevations.
  • The river is spring-fed from the sandstones on the western side, and is near-permanent from around 15 kilometres downstream of the headwaters.
  • There are freshwater lagoons offstream near the headwaters.
  • The channel is deeply incised and confined by sandstones.
  • The river water is tannin-stained and flows slowly.
  • It supports diverse wetlands that provide barramundi nursery areas and habitat for endemic and threatened frogs and skinks.
  • The area has been affected by feral cattle, pigs, and a range of weeds including sicklepod (Senna obtusifolia) and hyptis.
  • The area has four-wheel driving and recreational uses, and there is associated bank erosion occurring along a number of waterways.
  • Freshwater Crocodiles are reported to occur at higher elevations.

Main image. The Muck River mouth and coastline - provided by Christina Howley.

Cape Melville

  • Cape Melville waterways include Temple and Nookai creeks.
  • The cape includes areas of decomposed granite, similar to Black Mountain south of Cooktown.
  • Nookai and Temple Creeks are spring-fed and run with clear, cold water.
  • The area supports a number of endemic species (i.e. species found nowhere else), including the plant Coleus ventosus (formerly Plectranthus ventosus), Cape Melville leaf-tailed gecko (Saltuarius eximius), Cape Melville shade skink (Saproscincus saltus), foxtail palm (Wodyetia bifurcata), and blotched boulder-frog (Cophixalus petrophilus).

Wakooka Creek

  • The predominant geology of Wakooka Creek is sandstone caps on top of metamorphics at elevation, and fine erosive alluviums (from weathered metamorphics and sandstones) in the lower parts.
  • There is alluvium along the channel including at the headwaters, and erosion is occurring throughout.
  • The headwaters are in old, weathered, sandstone formations.
  • As the creek reaches lower elevations, the channel becomes semi-confined and flows through a wide alluvial (sand silt, mud, gravel) channel with loamy plains and metamorphic formations either side and underneath.
  • The coastal area consists of fine sediments on top of metamorphics with outcrops of granite.
  • The creek has been affected by feral pigs, sicklepod (Senna obtusifolia) and pond apple (Annona glabra).
  • Historically, the area has experienced mining and grazing but it is now designated conservation and natural environments (national park and traditional indigenous uses).
  • Some small scale grazing still occurs in the area, and there are a number of stock tracks.
  • A number of palustrine wetlands including floodplain grass, sedge and herb swamps, and floodplain tree swamps (melaleuca and eucalypt).
  • The creek and adjacent waters support diverse marine plant communities, which play an important ecological role (e.g. fish nursery areas) in local and offshore fisheries.

Howick River

  • The predominant geology of the Howick River is sandstone caps on top of metamorphics at elevation, and fine erosive alluviums (from weathered metamorphics and sandstones) in the lower, coastal floodplain areas.
  • Alluvium is present along the channel including at the headwaters.
  • The headwaters are in old, weathered, sandstone formations, and there are springs in these sandstones that contribute some base flow to the Howick River and support a palustrine system near the headwaters.
  • The river flows through ill-defined channels, and is semi-confined until it reaches the coastal zone where is begins to meander and anastomise.
  • The river has been affected by feral pigs and feral cattle.

Jeannie River

  • The predominant geology of the Jeannie River is sandstone caps on top of metamorphics at elevation, and fine erosive alluviums (from weathered metamorphics and sandstones) in the lower parts.
  • Alluvium is present along the channel including at the headwaters.
  • The river is fed by two convergent tributaries on sandstone caps on top of metamorphics, which gain some base flow from groundwater seeping out of sandstones.
  • Both channels are confined by metamorphics and the northern arm appears to be a remnant (or paleo) channel that originally may have connected the river to the Beattie River in the Normanby Basin.
  • Near-permanent water sits in pools along the main channel, and there is a rocky waterfall consisting of re-cemented ferruginised sandstone near the coast.
  • The area has experienced mining and there are numerous abandoned mines; the area is now designated conservation and natural environments (national park and traditional indigenous uses).
  • There is some grazing and the river has been affected by feral cattle in some parts.
  • Gully erosion occurs in high flow events, and in the dry season water can become hypersaline.

Main image. The lower Jeannie River - provided by Christina Howley.

Starcke River

  • The predominant geology of the Starcke River is sandstone caps on top of metamorphics at elevation, and fine erosive alluviums (from weathered metamorphics and sandstones) in the lower parts.
  • Metamorphic/sandstone formations at tops of ridges provide small flows from springs to feed headwaters.
  • There is alluvium along the channel including at the headwaters.
  • Erosion is occurring along the river, from the headwaters to the coast.
  • The river is fed by two convergent tributaries and flows through wide, confined channels with tall banks at elevation.
  • In the coastal zone, the river flows through a wide alluvial flat (very fine silt, mud and gravel) with metamorphic formations either side.
  • The area has experienced mining, and there are numerous abandoned mines and some active mining operations. The area is now designated natural and conservation environments (national park and traditional indigenous uses).
  • Historic heavy cattle grazing and cropping have impacted the subcatchment with erosion occurring along the river, from the headwaters to the coast.
  • Grazing still occurs in the lower reaches.
  • The river has been affected by feral cattle, feral pigs, and a range of weeds.
  • It also attracts tourism for camping, fishing, and four-wheel driving, as well as commercial fishing.
  • The river supports marine plants and high species diversity.
  • It plays an important ecological role (e.g. fish nursery areas) in support of local and offshore fisheries and there is a declared Fish Habitat Area at the Starcke River mouth.
  • A series of freshwater wetlands occur at the headwaters of the catchment, the biodiversity value of which is not well understood.

Cape Flattery

  • Cape Flattery consists of a modern to intermediate-aged dune fields with well-sorted fine quartz sand and poor to moderately well-developed soils.
  • This area has a large capacity to store water within the sands, and there is a large aquifer in this system.
  • Channels are ill-defined due to low elevation, porous material, and slow water movement.
  • Flow of water north-east along edge of sand mass may be responsible for riverine wetlands.
  • Runoff that flows north-west from metamorphic range to the west may feed wetlands in sand ridges behind sand dunes.
  • Window and perched lakes in the sand dunes support unique fauna assemblages that vary across the lakes, including crocodiles and disjunct/relic populations of fish.
  • Marine plants and high species diversity occur offshore of the dunes and play an important ecological role (e.g. fish nursery areas) to support local and offshore fisheries.
  • Silica mining occurs in the area and there are a number of roads to access the sand mine and supporting infrastructure.
  • The dunes attract four-wheel driving and recreational uses.
  • The dunes have been affected by feral cattle, feral pigs, feral horses, and a range of weeds (including Pond apple (Annona glabra).

Main image. Cape Flattery wetland and sand dunes - provided by Christina Howley.

McIvor River

  • The predominant geology of the McIvor River is sandstone caps on top of metamorphics at elevation, basalts on metamorphics and fine erosive alluviums (from weathered metamorphics, sandstones and basalts) in the lower parts.
  • There is alluvium along the channel including the headwaters.
  • Headwaters contain rainforests on sandstones/metamorphics, and further downstream the river flows through narrow alluvial channels with metamorphic formations either side.
  • Groundwater discharge from sandstones has been observed (sandstones ‘weep’ year round).
  • This is an incised and confined system that can move large volumes of water.
  • The flow is initially confined by the metamorphics, then by basalts, then by sand dunes.
  • The basalt contains small quantities of groundwater.
  • The land directly on the fertile basalt soils has been cleared for farming (cropping, hay and silage, seasonal and perennial horticulture), with adjacent land on less fertile soils is used for grazing.
  • In the lower parts, the channel is confined by sand dunes, which it continues following south-east towards the coast.
  • A wetland complex is located upstream from the confluence with the Morgan River, which provides a diversity of habitat types.
  • The rare Nypa palm (Nypa fruticans) grows in mangrove forests.
  • The river has experienced historical runoff from mining, as well as grazing and other agricultural activity.
  • Grazing still occurs in reaches of the river.
  • Near the coast, spring-fed riverine wetlands support plant species and regional ecosystems (REs) of conservation significance and ecological function (e.g. refugial areas, critical habitat for plants and key resources for birds, frogs and reptiles).

Morgan River

  • The Morgan River is a tributary of the McIvor River with capacity to move large volumes of water.
  • The predominant geology is a thin sandstone caps on top of metamorphics at elevation, basalts on metamorphics in the mid parts, and fine erosive alluviums (from weathered metamorphics, sandstones and basalts) in the lower parts.
  • There is alluvium along the channel including the headwaters.
  • The river is initially confined by surrounding metamorphic geology, then by basalts, then by sand dunes.
  • At the headwaters, the river is a narrow alluvial channel, with a thin layer of alluvium, and metamorphic formations either side, in a fast run off area.
  • There are near-permanent pools of water along the length of the river, and springs on the headlands to the west of Cape Bedford, and downslope of Green Hill/Clump Hill.
  • Parts of the river are used for grazing and other farming, but much of the land or surrounds is part of the Mount Webb, Daarrba and Juunju Daarrba Nhirrpan national parks (CYPAL).

Conclusion

The Jeannie catchment shows how natural and modified features within the landscape impact on how water flows. These issues need to be managed to ensure that the significant natural and social values of the catchment are protected, and to minimise impacts on the multitude of values within the catchment and downstream in the GBR, while providing for residential, water supply, farming and other important land uses of the catchment.

Knowing how the catchment functions is also important for future planning, including climate resilience. With this knowledge, we can make better decisions about how we manage this vital area.

Main image. Dog footprint across the Muck River saltpan - provided by Christina Howley.

Acknowledgments

Developed by the Queensland Wetlands Program in the Department of Environment and Science in partnership with the Cape York Natural Resource Management and other local partners:

Thank you to those that have contributed:

  • Cape York Land Council
  • Christina Howley
  • Hope Vale Aboriginal Shire Council
  • Hopevale Congress Aboriginal Corporation RNTBC
  • Hope Vale Community
  • Pickersgill

This resource should be cited as: Walking the Landscape – Jeannie Catchment Story v1.0 (2020), presentation, Department of Environment and Science, Queensland.

Images provided by:

  • Christina Howley

The Queensland Wetlands Program

The Queensland Wetlands Program supports projects and activities that result in long-term benefits to the sustainable management, wise use and protection of wetlands in Queensland. The tools developed by the Program help wetlands landholders, managers and decision makers in government and industry.

Contact wetlands♲des.qld.gov.au or visit https://wetlandinfo.des.qld.gov.au

Disclaimer

This map journal has been prepared with all due diligence and care, based on the best available information at the time of publication. The department holds no responsibility for any errors or omissions within the document. Any decisions made by other parties based on this document are solely the responsibility of those parties. Information contained in this document is from a number of sources and, as such, does not necessarily represent government or departmental policy.

Data source, links and extra information

Software Used

ArcGIS for Desktop | ArcGIS Online | Story Map JournalStory Map Series |

Some of the information used to put together this Map Journal can be viewed on the QLD Globe.

Queensland Globe allows you to view and explore Queensland spatial data and imagery. You can also download a cadastral SmartMap or purchase and download a current titles search.

More information about the layers used can be found here:

Source Data Table

Flooding Information

Cook Shire Council

Other References

City of Gold Coast (2018) Protecting Catchments[webpage] Accessed 6 December 2018

Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (2010) Australian Land Use Management Classification [webpage] Accessed 6 December 2018

Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (2012) Walking the Landscape—A Whole-of-system Framework for Understanding and Mapping Environmental Processes and Values, Queensland Wetlands Program, Queensland Government, Brisbane

Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (2018) What zoning is [webpage] Accessed 24 October 2019

Queensland Government (2016) Declared Fish Habitat Area Plans [webpage] Accessed 6 December 2018

Queensland Government (2016) Water Regulation 2016, Current as at 1 July 2018 [webpage] Accessed 6 December 2018

Queensland Government (2018) Great Barrier Reef Catchment Loads Modelling Program [webpage] Accessed 6 December 2018

Queensland Government (2018) Reef 2050 Water Quality Improvement Plan 2017-2022, State of Queensland, Brisbane

Queensland Government (2018) Reef 2050 Water Quality Improvement Plan - Report Cards [webpage] Accessed 6 December 2018

Queensland Government (2020) Water Monitoring Information Portal [webpage] Accessed 10 September 2020


Last updated: 15 September 2020

This page should be cited as:

Department of Environment and Science, Queensland (2020) Jeannie Catchment Story, WetlandInfo website, accessed 24 September 2020. Available at: https://wetlandinfo.des.qld.gov.au/wetlands/ecology/processes-systems/water/catchment-stories/transcript-jeannie.html

Queensland Government
WetlandInfo   —   Department of Environment and Science