Fauna, flora and water quality surveys are currently underway. These will be complemented by an aquatic ecology survey once streams have flowed for enough time to allow seasonal aquatic communities to mature. Further, frog surveys will be conducted on and off site by Dr Conrad Hoskins of JCU. These studies will provide an indication of the relative health of the aquatic systems on site and the extent of historical impacts.
Social and Community
The EIS project team met with the newly formed Community Reference Group during December and briefed the Mareeba Shire Council on project updates. A site meeting was also held recently with the Wet Tropics Management Authority to discuss potential impacts and mitigation strategies.
A number of events and studies are planned in the coming months including:
- Neighbours Day - Tuesday 7th February
- Public Open Day - Saturday 18th February
- Cultural Heritage Studies (Indigenous and Non-Indigenous) will also commence in February.
The First Flush
The first flush is the first event of the wet season when all streams on a site flow. Therefore, it is when any pollutants present are likely to be mobilised. This event occurred on the 9th January after several days of rain.
Up to 12 sites across the property and downstream were selected and the samples have been analysed for over 30 physical and chemical parameters relevant to assessing water quality against Queensland and Australian aquatic ecology guidelines.A critical parameter for the protection of frogs and fish is total suspended solids (TSS) which measures the sediment load carried by a stream.
On 9th January the TSS flowing into the site from Haren Creek was 29 milligrams per litre (mg/L), the TSS leaving the site in Owen Creek was 12 mg/L and the flooded Barron River ranged between 34-38 mg/L.
Further details of the monitoring program are available on the website.
Vegetables are growing well. Biodynamic treatment of the soil is ongoing.