|Seeking Solutions for Cattle Creek Wetlands|
|From Kathryn Dryden|
Cattle Creek in the Hinchinbrook Shire suffers from an array of long term public infrastructure and environmental issues, including flooding of the Bruce Highway south of Ingham. The Herbert River Catchment Group (HRCG) and Terrain NRM are seeking to work with the community, landholders, Ministers and government departments to find a well-considered solution to satisfy connectivity needs for people, water, plants and animals.
Cattle Creek Wetland covers an area of approximately 300ha and is situated about 9Kms south of Ingham. The significance of this wetland is rated highly due to its value to farming, biodiversity, tourism and connectivity. Its poor state means its management impacts a vast array of people from differing backgrounds and interests.
In 2008, Terrain funded HRCG to develop a management plan for the Cattle Creek wetland which identified a number of issues and which resulted in some significant weed control and, herbicide trials. Since then, HRCG has forged relationships with the Department of Main Roads (MR), Hinchinbrook Shire Council, Terrain NRM, Wetlandcare Australia, GBRMPA, other stakeholders, and landholders adjacent to the wetlands.
Image: Herbert River Catchment Group members (left to right: Brian Tabone (Canegrowers), Matthew Buckman (HSC), Michael Nash (Terrain), Vince Vitale (Chairman), Peter Sheedy (Secretary), Sam Bacco (Warragamay).
A hydrological survey which was released by HRCG in 2011 provided solutions to manage the wetland into the future. MR's decision to undertake a more thorough study is welcomed by those involved. This study is expected to measure potential management options for remediation of the wetland and the transport corridor it supports.
HRCG's Chairman, Vince Vitale said, "The issues at Cattle Creek are numerous and complex, and we need to be sure that what we do there is likely to benefit landholders, travellers and the environment as a whole. The last thing we want is another man made interference compounding the problem for somebody else."
The HRCG and Terrain are now seeking to secure a place at the table to have input into the governance and technical review of the study, to ensure that the broader long term community interests are not forgotten, in providing a logistical solution to the problem.