BCCA Secures Everyone's Environment Grant
Dec 19, 2013
‘FOLLOWING THE FLOOD PROJECT’
The Burnett Catchment Care Association has recently received a grant from the Qld. State Government’s ‘Everyone’s Environment’ fund to do water quality monitoring.
During the period 24th to 28th January 2013 a rain depression, formerly Tropical Cyclone Oswald, passed over the Upper Burnett River catchment bringing extraordinary rainfall over much of the region. This resulted in severe flooding over all low-lying areas. Much of the Burnett catchment is developed grazing or agricultural land, especially country close to the Burnett River and it’s tributaries. The flood damaged or destroyed fencing, livestock, orchards and crops. It also inundated urban homes & businesses and farm infrastructure, including livestock dips, rubbish dumps and industrial sites.
This has given rise to a concern that many agricultural or other chemicals, sewage, heavy metals or unknown contaminants may have inadvertently entered the watercourse and/or been spread far from their original place. It is possible that these contaminants may eventually enter the food chain leading to humans.
One of the best ways of checking on what is happening in the natural environment is to measure water quality. However this measuring must be accurate and carried out over a long enough period of time to establish the ‘normal’ state of the current water quality and also establish if changes are long-term or merely short-term aberrations.
The most important part of our project will be accurate laboratory analyses of water samples taken from a number of different sites in the Upper Burnett River and several of it’s major tributaries.
Our project will use historical data, gathered in the past by a previous Burnett Catchment Care Association water quality monitoring project, as well as other data sourced from State & Local Government and our environmental regional body, the Burnett Mary Regional Group. These previous results will be collated to form a part baseline of what has been ‘normal’ in the past.
Our project will also be sampling current water quality in the Upper Burnett to form a baseline of what are ‘normal’ conditions now, post flood. We will be partnering with several other groups including the Qld. Dept. of Environment & Resource Management, The Qld. Dept of Science, Information Technology, Innovation & the Arts and Qld. Health, all of whom already carry out some water monitoring.
As part of our project we are giving the opportunity for interested volunteers to learn first-hand, at a special training day, how to monitor water quality. The training will be conducted by Burnett Mary Regional Group officer, Ms Emily Maher, who has previously carried out water monitoring projects on behalf of the Murray Catchment Management Authority.