Through the centre of Irvinebank runs McDonald Creek. Bisecting the small community, the creek is surrounded by parklands and is traversed by a small bridge which forms part of Herberton-Petford Road.
Gulf Savannah NRM recently completed an investigation study into rehabilitating the creek to its former glory. Irvinebank residents met with us in late May, to share memories of the creek and ideas for the creek’s restoration.
While the creek is still a beautiful feature of this small community, it is a shadow of its former self. Locals remember a time when the creek hosted a series of swimming holes in the wet season, and you could ride a horse under the bridge in the dry. Now, because of a combination of past mining legacies and historic flood events, the creek is so silted up that there is barely 1 metre clearance below the bridge.
Specialist consultants have been able to cost out the options for rehabilitating the creek. This was based on community consultation, site inspections, mapping and hydrological modelling, plus historical aerial imagery and geomorphic reviews.
We now hope that Traditional Owners, local people, Mareeba Shire Council and Queensland Government can come together to find resources and pathways toward the next stage of this project.
Proposals for Stage 2 would involve an environmental education program on applied watershed restoration, as well as works for recovery which have been scoped and costed in this initial investigation. This may involve placement of leaky weirs, dredging of sediment, upstream sediment detention works and the placement of rocks within the water course.
Further stages would involve replanting and revegetating the site with native trees and reeds.
You can find the report here.