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Castlereagh River Fish Habitat Project

Castlereagh River Fish Habitat Project
Made possible by a Fish Habitat Action Grant to Coonabarabran Landcare Inc.
Project commissioned by the
Department of Primary Industries
DECEMBER 1, 2018
Prepared by David Paull
Study area
Appendix 1
Appendix 2
Aims of the Project
This project is made possible by the second round of funding from the Fisheries NSW to enhance
fish habitat along the upper Castlereagh River. This will be undertaken primarily to increase overall
river and riparian zone health by allowing room for native regrowth and eliminating or at least
significantly reducing woody weeds and other exotic species along a stretch of the Castlereagh
River from the western boundary of Nandi Reserve (the Common) downstream as far as the budget
will allow.
This project is also supported by the Coonabarabran Fishing Club Inc, Warrumbungle Shire Council
and NSW Crown Lands.
Map 1. Upper Castlereagh River showing treated section.
Besides the local fish community, river enhancement projects such as this are likely to also benefit
other fauna and flora, such as stream invertebrates, reptiles, Water Rat, water birds and various
threatened fauna and flora species which may occur in the locality.
This project builds on our earlier weed control work upstream of town and the Fish Habitat grant
from 2016-17. Key impacts from exotic vegetation on fish habitat in the affected area of the river
include willows which choke stream channels, poison water with autumn leaf fall and provides no
hollow logs suitable for fish. All tree weeds along the river bank displace native trees that are an
important part of fish habitat. Removing non-native tree species will not only help native fish, but it
will also improve access for fishing and make for more enjoyable recreational use of the many
public reserves along the Castlereagh River through the town.
Target weed species include (details provided in Appendix 1):
Privet: Broadleaf (Ligustrum lucidum)
Willows (Salix spp)
Blacklocust (Robinia pseudoacacia)
Boxelder (Acer negundo)
Elm (Ulmus sp.)
Camphor laurel (Cinnamomum camphora)
Chinese tallowwood (Triadica sebifera)
Privet: Small leaf (Ligustrum sinense)
Honeylocust (Gleditsia triacanthos)
Green Cestrum (Cestrum parqui)
Poplar (Populus spp.)
Cottoneaster (Cotoneaster glaucophyllus)
African box thorn, Lycium ferocissimum
Fruit random (Multiple species) Ornamental plum, peach, quince.
Tree of Heaven (Ailanthus altissima)
In the past 50 years, populations of native fish species in the Murray-Darling Basin have suffered
serious declines in both distribution and abundance. These declines reflect the poor state of the
river system and the impacts of human use. It is estimated that remaining fish communities in the
Basin are around 10% of their levels before European settlement. Without intervention, scientists
predict that this is likely to fall to near 5% in the coming 40 to 50 years (Lintermans 2007; Riches et
al. 2016).
the 93 per cent and 74 per cent decline between 1940 and 1990 in the numbers of Silver
perch and Golden perch respectively passing through Euston Weir;
the fact that more than half of the Basin’s native fish species are now listed as threatened or
of conservation concern;
the decline in the commercial catch of Murray cod in NSW from approximately 74 tonnes/
year in the late 1940s to 9.5 tonnes/year in the early 1990s;
the presence of 11 alien species which comprise 80–90 per cent of fish biomass at many
sites in several rivers;
rapid decline in the conservation status of ‘flagship’ species such as Silver perch, Freshwater
catfish and Murray cod across the Basin; and
localised extinction of some native fish species.
The above study also found that 26 of the 46 native species in the Basin are recognised as either
rare or threatened on State, Territory or National listings. They found that no fish species has
become extinct in the Basin, but localized extinctions have occurred. The increasing number of
cryptic species currently being described from genetic investigations means it is almost certain that
some species will have been lost before they have been described.
The Basin already contains at least 11 alien fish species and 1 translocated species, some
considered pests and others providing valuable recreational fisheries. The abundance and
attributes of certain alien fish continue to cause damage to habitats and populations of native
species. The risk of further introductions into the Basin—especially from aquariums and nearby
rivers outside the Basin—also needs to be considered. There is growing evidence of the detrimental
impact of Carp on native fish species and the aquatic environment.
The focus of all management of alien fish species should be on reducing their impacts on native
species rather than on complete eradication of numbers. The best approach to reducing such
impacts is an integrated one that combines a range of techniques. For example, an alien fish control
program could include rehabilitating the wetting and drying cycles for floodplain wetlands,
commercial exploitation, preventing access to spawning areas, and the installation of screens to
prevent spread into uninfested areas. There is unlikely to be one ‘silver bullet’ that can solve any
single alien species problem. Control of alien species needs to be part of an overall river
rehabilitation process.
Figure 1. Goldfish are extant throughout the Castlereagh System
Particular actions that have been previously identified for the Castlereagh River by the previous
DECCW as part of their NSW Water Quality and River Flow Objectives program include a range of
water quality indicators to help the community assess whether the current condition of our
waterways supports those values and uses which are important for the health of the river
Improve water quality monitoring and reporting arrangements for the Castlereagh River
Reduce the causes of algal blooms-nutrient inputs, inadequate shading from riverbank
vegetation, large, still waterbodies, and loss of aquatic organisms that often control the
early stages of algal growth.
Reduce ongoing pollution from point sources.
Prevent pollution of waters from new developments in the catchment.
Manage stormwater runoff from both urban and rural lands. This includes managing the use
of herbicides, insecticides and fertilisers-particularly where used intensively or extensively,
and where they have the chance to enter waterways.
Reduce microbial contamination and nutrients by improving sewage treatment,
management of septic systems and stock access to streams.
Manage stock access to streams to protect river banks.
Halt the degradation of riparian vegetation. This degradation causes riverbank erosion and
changes to water quality, and sand from eroded banks to fill pools and large areas of the
river bed. Some of the remaining native riparian vegetation is threatened. Willows and their
various impacts were identified as a problem by many local people.
Halt the loss of native trees and groundcover that is leading to rising water-tables, dryland
salinity and increased salinity levels in waters; also to erosion-which leads to sand and soil
deposition in streams and wetlands, and to increasing water turbidity.
Ensure Aboriginal spiritual, cultural and subsistence needs affected by river and floodplain
management are recognised and equitably addressed.
Protect groundwater quality and manage aquifers in hills and alluvium so they continue to
meet ecosystem, urban and agricultural needs. The locations and levels of groundwater
critical to stream flow (e.g. groundwater that feeds springs or maintains river pools), and to
the health of river red gums need to be determined.
Share the limited water resources in ways that protect ecosystems and water quality while
providing for existing domestic, industrial, grazing and irrigation uses and enabling
beneficial social and economic changes across the catchment. This would mainly involve
deciding how to define and share low flows, recognising that some flow occurs through
sand in parts of the catchment.
Ensure that sharing of water from the catchment is consistent with the Murray-Darling
Basin cap on diversions, so that the needs of ecosystems and people dependent on inflows
to the Barwon-Darling River are not compromised. This could mean limiting combined
diversions from the Macquarie-Bogan-Castlereagh system to levels consistent with the
1993-94 level of development-varying with climate-but should not restrict allocations to
people who are able to use water during higher flows in place of water at low flows.
This project will meet several of the broader aims for improving the overall health of this
Study area
This part of the Castlereagh River has undergone significant clearing at particular sections of the
river, though riparian vegetation has generally been maintained, Despite the strong presence of
exotic species, the native ecosystem along the river banks and some parts of the higher elevated
creek terraces has retained some structural integrity, forming a relatively dense woodland
dominated by:
Rough-barked Apple Angophora floribunda
River Oak Casuarina cunninghamiana
Weeping Bottlebrush Callistemon seiberi
Blakeley’s Red Gum Eucalyptus blakelyi
Apple Box Eucalyptus bridgesiana
The terrestrial plant community distributed along the river bank has a different species assemblage
to that found along the higher creek terraces surrounding the riparian zone, particularly the strong
presence of River Oak and Weeping Bottlebrush. This section of the river is generally deeply incised,
with terraces up to 3-4m high, particularly where erosive processes have occurred.
Figure 2. River Oak dominated riparian community in project area
The creek terrace community tends to be dominated by a mixture of Blakely’s Red Gum and Roughbarked Apple, with occasional Yellow Box and Apple Box locally common. The understorey of this
terrace community in some areas is dominated by grasses and forbs and is consistent with the
definition of the White Box-Yellow Box-Red Gum Woodland Endangered Ecological Community
(EEC) as listed under the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016. The communities found through the
Nandi Common and reserve are consistent with three types according to Benson (2010):
The riparian community ID084: River Oak – Rough-barked Apple – redgum – box riparian tall
woodland (wetland) of the Brigalow Belt and Nandewar Bioregions (Figure 2);
The grassy woodland community ID281: Rough-barked Apple – red gum – Yellow Box woodland on
alluvial clay to loam soils on valley flats in the SWS and BBS Bioregions (Figure 3):
Figure 3 Red Gum-dominated grassy woodland in project area
This community merges with another grassy woodland type, ID383: Apple Box – Rough-barked
Apple terrace flat woodlands of the southern BBS bioregion (below).
Figure 4 Apple Box-dominated grassy woodland in project area
Hunter (2015) sinks the riparian and terrace communities together in his typing of Warrumbungle
National Park. A list of characteristic native and exotic species found in this amalgamated
community is found in Appendix 2.
The aquatic vegetation of the Nandi section of the Castlereagh River, is often dominated by weeds
such as Vietnamese Mint. Local dominants include Carex appressa, Phragmites australis and
various Juncus and Cyperus species.
Figure 5 Slender Knotweed (Persicaria decipiens) present in waterways in the Castlereagh system
Fish and other wildlife
While there have been no recent surveys of fish in the target section of the Castlereagh River, the
following threatened species listed under the Fisheries Management Act 1994 have been mapped
to occur in the Castlereagh River and may also occur in the project area:
Olive Perchlet (Ambassis agassizii) Endangered population
Flat-headed Galaxias (Galaxias rostratus) Critically endangered
Southern Purple-spotted Gudgeon (Mogurnda adspersa) Endangered
Freshwater Catfish (Tandanus tandanus) Endangered population
These species are susceptible to a range of impacts, particularly relevant to the Castlereagh are
changes to flow regimes, such as the building of dams and irrigation pressure, the impacts of
introduced plants, such as willow and their effect on water quality and flow, eutrophication as a
result of stock use and fertilisers and introduced fish, particularly the predator Carp.
This section of the Castlereagh on the whole appears to be relatively healthy, though there are
concerns about levels of pollutants and their impacts on aquatic life, both exotic plants, agricultural
and other pollution points. These are discussed later in the Results of this report. These impacts are
magnified during times of low flows and increased ponding within the stream bed. Understanding
these impacts is inhibited without better knowledge of existing wildlife use of the area particularly
invertebrates, fishes and other stream wildlife. Freshwater Mussels of an unknown identity were
discovered in this section of the river.
Figure 6 Freshwater mussel from project area
Besides the threatened fish which inhabit this section of the river, other species of interest are
Water Rats, known from the Castlereagh River and the possible presence of a species of shortnecked Tortoise, observed by one of the authors of this report.
A buddy system has been adopted to reduce risks and allow for emergency procedures to be
enacted if required.
Herbicide Roundup 360 was identified as the best and most appropriate product to affect the best
result. It is also the only product allowed for use within a riparian zone.
Cut and paste technique was identified as the most efficient and effective method for all target
species. The product must be applied within 30 seconds of making a cut to ensure successful plant
uptake of the product.
Willows, box thorn, regrowth and small seedlings require alternative methods of application.
A direct inject technique has been followed for willow sp. As any loose material may sucker or form
cuttings. It has been noted that multiple applications are required in order to successfully kill willow
Box thorn requires a foliar application with follow ups to ensure a successful kill.
Root suckers, regrowth and small seedlings require foliage application and often require follow up
The target area has been thoroughly swept on both sides of the river within the riparian area and
upon the terrace where accessible. Follow up treatment and surveys have been done within 12
months of beginning the project to assess and ensure the success of treatment. Whilst every
attempt has been made to completely eradicate the exotics, a few individual plants have been
missed, new seedlings have sprouted and suckers have regrown.
Tributaries to the river also have invasive weed populations and are a constant supply of fresh
weed material. Tributaries have been followed as far as practicable within the target area, yet
further investigation and remediation work in these areas is required.
Area treated
Map2. Location of way points and progression down-stream stage one of works.
Figure 7 Section of river following removal of exotic trees (Privet)
Figure 8. Following treatment of Willow (left) and Box thorn (right)
Particular control items which require follow up
Odd Boxelders missed
Odd privet
Locust 300m from start
Tree of Heaven 400m regrowth from cut and paint
Up to 50% regrowth
Follow up required.
Nandi Creek deciduous weed sp. Unidentified
Willow in water opposite the water treatment plant
Extensive locust infestation approximately 2 acres near the water treatment plant
Product application methods tested around the edge of the infestation
Boxthorn eastern edge of the locust thicket (foliar application required)
Chinese tallow wood in Nandi park 40m from fish habitat sign (opposite bank)
Poplar suckers off roots and stump Nandi Park (follow-up required)
Persistent Willows east-side Nandi Park (follow-up required)
A small boat will be required to target weeds on river’s edge and otherwise inaccessible
Other matters raised during works
Scar tree
Figure 9. Small scar of Yellow Box trunk in project area
Council inflow
Point source for Calcium carbonate into the stream system increasing alkalinity which will tend to
favour the growth of exotic species over natives.
Figure 11. Limestone precipitate near council outflow from Water Treatment Plant
A nearby stand of Honey Locust may be benefiting from these changed soil conditions.
Figure 12. Area of top bank infested with Honey Locust
Erosion from piping
Figure 13. Exposed pipe promoting local erosion
Bank Erosion
Figure 14. Steep bank erosion has collapsed old telegraph poles.
Various rubbish
Figure 15. Asbestos contamination
The project has been relatively successful in controlling locally occurring exotic plants, though could
be improved with a number of follow-up actions.
Follow up required for a number of difficult exotic plants at some places
General follow up procedure and monitoring which measures success of treatment for
exotic and native species required. Species diversity and structural indices for the local
vegetation community need to be developed for ongoing monitoring
Gaps in forest floor should be replanted with target native species where possible to inhibit
weed regrowth and erosion, improve soil conditions and biodiversity
Ongoing erosion issues and other point sources of contamination need to be addressed by
specific management actions in conjunction with Council
Given the relatively good health of this part of the river, baseline fauna and aquatic plant
studies should be undertaken
Management actions for the control of exotic aquatic plants need to be researched and
Benson, J.S., Richards, P.G., Waller, S. and Allen, C.B. 2010. New South Wales Vegetation
classification assessment: Part 3 Plant communities of the NSW Brigalow Belt South, Nandewar and
west New England Bioregions and update of NSW Western Plains and South-western Slopes plant
communities, Version 3 of the NSWVCA database. Cunninghamiana 11 (4): 409-579.
Hunter, J. 2015. Vegetation of Warrumbungle National Park. DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.1.1026.9289
Lintermans, M. 2007, Fishes of the Murray-Darling Basin: An introductory guide.
Riches, M., Gilligan, D., Danaher, D. and Pursey, J. 2016. Fish Communities and Threatened Species
Distributions of NSW. NSW Department of Primary Industries. ISBN 978 1 74256 923 9.
Appendix 1: Target species
Climbing Ivy (Delairea odorata)
Rose, Blackberry (Rubus fruticosus species aggregate)
Privet: Broadleaf (Ligustrum lucidum)
Willows (Salix spp)
Blacklocust (Robinia pseudoacacia)
Boxelder (Acer negundo)
Elm (Ulmus sp.)
Camphor laurel (Cinnamomum camphora)
Chinese tallowwood (Triadica sebifera)
Privet: Small leaf (Ligustrum sinense)
Honeylocust (Gleditsia triacanthos)
Green Cestrum (Cestrum parqui)
Poplar (Populus spp.)
Fruit random (Multiple species) Ornamental plum, peach, quince.
Cottoneaster (Cotoneaster glaucophyllus)
Pyrocantha crenulata
African box thorn, Lycium ferocissimum
Tree of Heaven (Ailanthus altissima)
Appendix 2. Vegetation Community description
(a)Riparian Vegetation community
Veg. Comm. ID.: 84 Original Entry: J.S Benson 12/06/2008 (from Benson et al. 2010).
Keith Formation: Eastern Riverine Forests.
NVIS Major Sub-group: Casuarina and Allocasuarina forests and woodlands.
Scientific Name: Casuarina cunninghamiana subsp. cunninghamiana - Angophora floribunda Eucalyptus blakelyi - Eucalyptus melliodora / Acacia implexa - Bursaria spinosa subsp. spinosa Notelaea microcarpa var. microcarpa - Callistemon sieberi / Microlaena stipoides var. stipoides Austrostipa verticillata - Lomandra longifolia - Commelina cyanea
Common Name: River Oak - Rough-barked Apple - red gum - box riparian tall woodland (wetland)
of the Brigalow Belt South and Nandewar Bioregions
Floral composition: Tall woodland or open forest to 30 m high dominated by River Oak (Casuarina
cunninghamiana subsp. cunninghamiana) often with Rough-barked Apple (Angophora floribunda),
River Red Gum (Eucalyptus camaldulensis), Yellow Box (Eucalyptus melliodora), Blakely's Red Gum
(Eucalyptus blakelyi) and occasionally White Box (Eucalyptus albens).
A sparse shrub layer may occur including Hickory Wattle (Acacia implexa), various tea-tree species
(Leptospermum spp.), hopbush species (Dodonaea spp.), Phyllanthus subcrenulatus, Blackthorn
(Bursaria spinosa), bottlebrushes (Callistemon spp.), Olearia viscidula and the vines such as
Pandorea pandorana, Clematis glycinoides, Parsonsia straminea and Stephania japonica. In some
places a "dry rainforest" lower tree/high shrub layer may occur that includes Red Ash (Alphitonia
excelsa), Alectryon spp., Rusty Fig (Ficus rubiginosa) and Mock Olive (Notelaea microcarpa).
The ground cover can be dense or sparse and contains a rich flora of small shrubs, grasses, sedges
and forbs. Grasses include Microlaena stipoides var. stipoides, Cynodon dactylon, Chloris virgata,
Oplismenus imbecillis, Austrostipa verticillata, Lachnagrostis filiformis, Arundinella nepalensis,
Elymus scaber var. scaber and Poa sieberiana. The graminoid Lomandra longifolia is common in
some locations. Sedges include Carex appressa, Carex incomitata and Cyperus vaginatus. Ferns
include Cheilanthes sieberi, Adiantum aethiopicum, Doodia aspera and Pellaea nana. Forbs include
Urtica incisa, Dichondra repens, Ranunculus lappaceus, Einadia hastata and Scutellaria humilis.
Weeds may be common in some places. They include Willow (Salix babylonia), Tree of Heaven
(Ailanthus altissima) and forbs such as Conyza bonariensis, Sonchus oleraceus, Bidens pilosa,
Fumaria capreolata, Modiola caroliniana and Hypochaeris radicata.
Comments: Occurs on clay sand or sandy loam soils on riverine deposits on stream-banks and
terrace flats of major rivers and creeks in low hills and hills landforms of Nandewar and Brigalow
Belt South Bioregions. This community grades into ID78 River Red Gum along sections of the rivers.
Varies in floristic composition with altitude and substrate with different species occurring on rocky
substrates compared to deeper alluviums. The surrounding country is often cleared to the edge of
streams. This community has also been substantially cleared in some regions and it is subject to
weed invasion by Willow (Salix) and exotic forbs and grasses. While sampled in a number of
reserves, overall, it requires riparian management of stock grazing and stock trampling. In some
locations control of weeds if the primary requirement.
(B) Creek terrace community
From Vegetation of Warrumbungle National Park (Hunter, J.T., 2015).
Community 4: Rough-barked Apple – Yellow Box - Blakely’s Red Gum Woodland
Angophora floribunda (Rough-barked Apple) – Eucalyptus melliodora (Yellow Box) - Eucalyptus
blakelyi (Blakely’s Red Gum) Woodland
Benson et al. (2006): Formation – Eucalyptus Box Woodlands of the Tablelands and Western Slopes
(EBWT) and Riparian Forests and Shrublands of the eastern Coast and Tablelands (non-rainforest)
Keith (2004): Western Slopes Grassy Woodlands; also Eastern Riverine Forests (in part) and Inland
Riverine Forests (in part)
Environmental relationships: generally restricted to lower slopes and open depressions. Soils are
moist and shallow or deep. Soil colour is chocolate brown or red or orange brown. Soil texture is
usually of a sandy loam but also loam, loamy sand, sandy clay loam and clay loam.
Structure: highly variable due to past clearing activities.
This assemblage includes mainly woodlands with an open or very sparse shrub layer and a dense
herb layer or at times along major creek and river channels may be a taller forest.
Tree-layer: (6-) 8-18 (-25) m tall. 20-40 (-50)% cover.
Tall shrub layer: 3-6 m tall. 10-% cover. Usually absent.
Low shrub layer: 1-4 m tall. 15-40% cover. Sometimes absent.
Understorey layer: < 1 m tall. 40-80% cover.
No. of taxa: 202 No. of taxa per plot: 24-39-52.
Most common natives: listed in order of decreasing summed cover scores (fidelity x cover).
Trees: Angophora floribunda, Eucalyptus melliodora, Eucalyptus blakelyi, Casuarina
cunninghamiana, Callitris glaucophylla, Eucalyptus macrorhyncha, Eucalyptus crebra, Eucalyptus
volcanica, Brachychiton populneus, Eucalyptus dealbata, Geijera parviflora, Ficus rubiginosa,
Eucalyptus dwyeri, Eucalyptus camaldulensis, Callitris endlicheri, Acacia doratoxylon.
Shrubs: Olearia elliptica, Cassinia quinquefaria, Notelaea microcarpa, Dodonaea viscosa var.
angustifolia, Bursaria spinosa, Hibbertia obtusifolia, Melichrus urceolatus, Beyeria viscosa, Pimelea
curviflora, Acacia implexa, Phyllanthus subcrenulatus, Acacia deanei.
Climbers & trailers: Desmodium varians, Clematis glycinoides, Clematis glycinoides, Pandorea
pandorana, Rubus parviflorus, Parsonsia eucalyptophylla, Glycine clandestina, Commelina cyanea,
Jasminum lineare.
Ground cover: Microlaena stipoides, Scutellaria humilis, Hydrocotyle laxiflora, Cheilanthes sieberi,
Rumex brownii, Swainsona galegifolia, Dichondra repens, Austrodanthonia racemosa var.
racemosa, Lomandra bracteata, Desmodium brachypodum, Carex appressa, Oxalis perennans,
Cynoglossum australe, Austrostipa scabra, Cyperus gracilis, Dichelachne micrantha, Carex inversa,
Aristida vagans, Einadia hastata, Wahlenbergia stricta, Sigesbeckia australiensis, Galium migrans,
Acaena novae-zelandiae, Urtica incisa, Poa sieberiana, Lomandra multiflora, Echinopogon
caespitosus, Lagenifera stipitata, Vittadinia dissecta, Vittadinia cuneata, Podolepis neglecta,
Parietaria debilis, Cymbonotus lawsonianus, Calotis cuneifolia, Arthropodium milleflorum, Haloragis
heterophylla, Dichondra sp. A, Adiantum aethiopicum, Triptilodiscus pygmaeus, Poranthera
microphylla, Oplismenus aemulus, Notodanthonia longifolia, Juncus usitatus, Elymus scaber,
Echinopogon ovatus, Echinopogon intermedius, Chrysocephalum semipapposum, Bothriochloa
macra, Austrostipa verticillata.
Introduced taxa: Trifolium arvense, Trifolium campestre, Anagallis arvensis, Sonchus oleraceus,
Hypochaeris radicata, Conyza albida, Paronychia brasiliana, Hypochaeris glabra, Cirsium vulgare,
Conyza bonariensis, Ciclospermum leptophyllum, Verbascum virgatum, Stellaria media, Sonchus
asper, Rosa rubiginosa, Opuntia stricta, Lolium rigidum, Lactuca serriola, Heliotropium europaeum,
Argemone ochroleuca, Sisyrinchium iridifolium, Polycarpon tetraphyllum, Marrubium vulgare,
Lolium perenne, Centaurea solstitialis, Bidens pilosa, Verbena officonalis, Stachys arvensis, Solanum
nigrum, Rubus fruticosus, Pavonia hastata, Gomphocarpus fruticosus, Cichorium intybus, Briza
minor, Bidens subalternans, Aira cupaniana. Percent of species introduced: 18%
Taxa of conservation importance: none apparent.
Variability: a complex mixture of dominants which share the generally common low lying
topography associated with creek lines. This community as delineated here includes areas of
Casuarina cunninghamiana lined creeks with at times may have Eucalyptus camaldulensis and also
the associated low lying flat or undulating alluvial plains dominated by Eucalyptus blakelyi and the
slightly more elevated sites of lower slopes which may more commonly contain Eucalyptus
melliodora and Angophora floribunda. In more protected sites Eucalyptus macrorhyncha and
Eucalyptus volcanica may become more common. Where larger clearing events have occurred at
times Callitris glaucophylla has regrown in dense stands. Condition: although probably heavily
cleared in the past the occurrences as described here are in reasonable condition and where the
condition level drops this community grades into Communities 5 and 6.
Notes & conservation status: Casuarina cunninghamiana communities are widespread in New
South Wales. Beadle (1981) states that Casuarina cunninghamiana communities fringing rivers are
common from southern New South Wales to Cape York and even to Arnhem Land. However, there
are no regularly associated species. It appears that although riverine communities similar to this
assemblage occur throughout this part of the state they have been rarely sampled or described. In
broad terms this assemblage type occurs though out the north western slopes and into western
south east Queensland. What is known in reserves is a very small percentage of the total coverage
and is in most situations highly disturbed or invaded by exotic species. This community should be
considered as poorly reserved across its range and much that is reserved being of poor quality.
These systems if in good condition should be a priority for further inclusion into the reserve
Parts of this community are dominated by Yellow Box – Blakely’s Red Gum and as such would be
considered Endangered on the TSC Act and the EPB&C Act.
Management considerations: appropriate fire regimes should be researched and followed through.
Pigs are causing noticeable damage to some large areas and need to be controlled. Care should be
taken not to introduced some of the more highly invasive exotic grasses which are within close
proximity to this conservation area, such as Coolatai Grass (Hyparrhenia hirta) and African
Lovegrass (Eragrostis curvula (both listed under the Key Threatening Process determination of
Exotic Perennial Grasses on the TSC Act).