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“The trouble with life in the fast lane is that you get to the other end in an awful hurry.”
J.J.

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The Alligator Creek Project

THE LONE PINE CREEK AND BINGHAM CREEK CATCHMENTS

S0P: To revitalise these water catchment areas to sustain limited pastoral activities and to enhance the biodiversity and richness of the area.

Landscape Goal: To compliment diverse topography, soil-type and remaining vegetation with a diversity of higher successional species, a range of habitat type and more effective eco-system function.

Additional Benefits: Progress is being monitored and analysed. Information gathered can serve as a source of management information for many upper catchment areas in the region. It can also be used as an educational tool for school-children, students and future land-managers.

To achieve the planned results we will make use of management guidelines developed by the international Holistic Management Movement. In the first instance we will primarily need to change the current patterns of human lit fire (wild-fire, arson, aerial burning and ground lit fires) and the behaviour of feral donkeys and cattle. With a planned manipulation of energy flow we will on an annual basis increase both solar-energy intake and water retention: the basis to begin acting on over-all eco-system function.

For practical management reasons we have identified key areas and have prioritised a number of project steps. (The sequence does not necessarily reflect ecological or short-term financial considerations, but a practical means to achieve a long-term desirable “triple bottom line” outcome).

Project Sites:
AIR-STRIP PADDOCK:

Established in 1998.

WATER-SHED PADDOCK:

(wet season 2003 / 2004)

Fence in an approx. 55 ha block on the water shed between Kachana Creek and Clean Skin Creek central to the Bedford Stock-Route Valley. This will give us effective control of sufficient feed to begin to manage the behaviour of feral cattle and donkeys. It also enables us to use our “working herd” more effectively to create and maintain fire buffer zones in that area.

APPROACH PADDOCK:

(wet season 2003 / 2004)

Fence off an additional approx. 45 ha block south of the Alligator Creek Air- Strip. This area is badly eroded and run-off currently feeds off into Lone Pine Creek. Given rest this area will revegitate easily and serve as a fodder bank for the working herd. High animal impact and controlled “resting” will also help stabilize the sloping areas and contribute to feeding the soak S/W of the air-strip.

LONE PINE CREEK AREA:

This includes the total catchment area downstream of where Lone Pine Creek crosses the Southern end of the flight-strip as well as the whole western ridge right down to the proposed Alligator Creek Wetland reserve.

Ideally this area is to be fenced in so that total stock-control is ensured and internal subdividing with ‘hot-tape’ can be undertaken as required.

BAUHINIA CREEK AREA:

This area has been set aside for the KSRP project and would require perimeter fencing prior to commencement of the KSRP project. It is not part of the Lone Pine Creek catchment, but borders onto it. In the event of the KSRP not going ahead fire would be used to maintain a buffer on the North Eastern side of the catchment.

LONE PINE BASIN:

Despite having been ravaged by frequent wild-fire events, this former wetland area still retains much of its original charm. It also harbours the “Lone Pine” (the only remaining Cyprus pine in the area). Providing we can act in time, we have designated this area to become a “gene reservoir” for the establishment of seedlings to maintain genetic viability of the endangered species “Callitris columellaris” of the “Cupressaceae” family of trees.

THIS PROJECT IS LOOKING FOR A SPONSOR: $ 10’000.00 will ensure that this area is spared from future wild-fires

ALLIGATOR CREEK WETLAND RESERVE:

This area would need to be surveyed, fenced in and given most of a wet season to rest without large animal impact. A late wet ‘medium animal impact treatment’ (150 to 400 head / ha for 12 to 24 hrs) would be required and after that the area would require very low managerial input except for surveillance of the perimeter fencing and the creation and maintenance of internal and external wild-fire buffer strips (20 to 30 m wide) along the fence line

EASTERN BUFFER AREA:

Using wet-season and late wet-season fire we will maintain low and regulated fuel loads on this west-facing quartzite ridge.

SOUTH-EAST L.P. CATCHMENT AREA:

Unless fenced, this area would still be subjected to random animal impact for quite some time. However the increase in vigour and density of vegetation in the downstream areas would trap any lost soil.

BINGHAM CREEK:

Bingham Creek originates on the watershed and runs North parallel to the Durack Range until it joins Alligator creek. Work on upper Bingham Creek began 2003. This area is already benefiting from higher levels of stock control.