Tenterfield Creek coping with urban demands

WATERY WORLD: Aquatic ecologist Doug Westhorpe (in yellow shirt) discusses his findings with participants in the recent creek walk.
WATERY WORLD: Aquatic ecologist Doug Westhorpe (in yellow shirt) discusses his findings with participants in the recent creek walk.

Tenterfield Creek is in pretty good shape, aquatic ecologist Doug Westhorpe told participants in a discovery creek walk on Wednesday, December 14 courtesy of Granite Border Landcare (GBLC).

On introducing Mr Westhorpe, GBLC’s Elizabeth Melling said it was important to gauge how the creek was holding up to recent flooding events, and man-made phenomena such as the need for council to let out water from Tenterfield Dam to maintain dam levels.

Mr Westhorpe told the group that urban creeks have their issues and Tenterfield Creek was no different, but after a quick survey he was happily surprised at what he discovered in the range of plant and animal life represented.

“There’s a reasonable bit of diversity,” he said, helping those interested to identify some of the invertebrates living in the environment.

He was also pleased to see vegetation growing right down to the water’s edge and ripples in the waterway, although his damning of Tenterfield’s iconic willow trees was met with a cry of derision.

He considers the trees’ propensity to drop all their leaves into the water below over a short period of time to be nature’s equivalent of a fast food binge, supporting a rapid increase in bacteria feeding on the plant material leading to de-oxygenation and other creek health issues.

Locals lamented the loss of platypus habitat through bank reinforcement. Speaking of the creek as a town asset, however, they did note the presence of Murray Cod in the creek last year, for the first time in 50 years, ‘and no sharks’.

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