Yanco Creek environmental monitoring 2021-2022

Charles Sturt University (CSU) in conjunction with YACTAC and Commonwealth Environmental Water Office (CEWO) are conducting environmental monitoring in the Yanco, Billabong, Colombo and Forest creek network (otherwise known as the Yanco Creek System, YCS) during the 2021-22 water year. The monitoring is currently focusing on birds, bats, frogs and turtles in wetlands and creeks to generate a long-term dataset to better understand long-term ecological communities.

In August 2021 CSU (Jaimie Turner and Emmalie (PhD student)) and YACTAC (Andrea Mitchell) staff deployed monitoring equipment across 14 properties and one reserve in the YCS. The monitoring equipment included: depth loggers to measure wetland rise and fall; iButton humidity loggers installed in trees adjacent wetlands; and sound (frog, bird) and sonar (bat) recorders. The equipment records calling activity for five minutes every hour of the day, and constantly overnight, for the duration of the project. The monitoring aligns with the existing Monitoring, Evaluation and Research (MER) program which operates throughout the Murray Darling Basin and builds upon previous surveys conducted in the YCS during 2017-18 and 2019-20. Records of frogs, birds and bats can be linked with river gauge and wetland logger information and provide evidence of the relationship between ecological responses and flow timing, duration and magnitude. At four wetland sites, more intensive monitoring will take place as fish will likely move from the creeks into the wetlands during reconnection flows. Wetlands can be important nursery habitats for native fish and where high abundances of native fish are detected, management interventions to create fish passage back into the creek may be required. Monitoring surveys include setting fish nets (fyke nets) in the water at both a wetland and riverine site. These nets will be set in the evening and collected in the morning. Fish, tadpoles and turtles will be counted, identified to species and measured. Frog surveys will be conducted in the evening with spotlights, along the water’s edge. Waterbird and woodland bird surveys will take place along with a vegetation and habitat assessment and water quality readings. Surveys for platypus and rakali will be conducted independently during March 2022. We look forward to learning more about the YCS and the ecological response to reconnection and targeted flows. We appreciate your interest and engagement in the research and would like to involve the landholders as much as possible, so please join us for surveys if you are interested.

CONTACTS YACTAC: Andrea - yactac.env@outlook.com OR CSU: Skye Wassens, 02 6051 9153, swassens@csu.edu.au


White-bellied sea eagle nest,    Recorder(sound/sonar) & humidity logger,        Depth logger