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Pages tagged "urannah"

Media Release: Swim Raises $12,000 for River Protection

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Media Release

23 February 2020

Public Donates $12,000 To Protect Rivers

Members of Mackay Conservation Group have plunged headlong into a campaign to safeguard our rivers.

Community members have donated $12,000 to Mackay Conservation Group’s campaign to protect the region’s rivers from pollution, overuse and dams. 

Boy swimming in a poolThe group organised the Swim For Our Rivers swim-a-thon at the Pioneer Pool in North Mackay on Saturday. 

Eight teams participated in the fundraising event, with a total of more than 40 people involved, aged from five to seventy-five. 

Mackay Conservation Group will use the funds to commence a campaign that aims to protect the Urannah Creek, west of Mackay, from a proposed dam. 

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Irwin's Turtle - We could lose it without really knowing it

A person holding an Irwin's TurtleOne of Mackay’s unique species is Irwin’s Turtle. Back in 1990 the famous naturalist Steve Irwin and his father Bob were fishing near the Bowen River when Bob spotted an unusual white headed turtle. They caught one, photographed it and returned it to the wild. Later the pair sent the photos to experts for identification. It turned out the turtle they found had never been recorded by scientists.

Irwin’s Turtle is very good at hiding from scientists. It took another three years before a second was found and a proper identification made. The scientists who described the turtle named it Elseya irwini in honour of the pair who first alerted the scientific community to its existence.

Irwin’s Turtle has a very limited range, perhaps only 25 square kilometres in total. It inhabits the Bowen River and tributaries such as Urannah Creek where the water is clean and free flowing. These turtles require well oxygenated water and sandy banks to survive.

Irwin’s Turtle has evolved in isolation for 150 million years. We have known it for less than 30 and we could wipe it out in a decade. Very little is known about Irwin’s Turtle’s life cycle or the extent of its habitat, yet we may send it to extinction by building a dam on Urannah Creek.

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Irwin's turtle. Will we lose this shy Australian before we even get to know it?

Photo supplied by Jeff Tan

For those who may have missed it Thursday 22 May was world turtle day, a special day to celebrate and raise awareness of these iconic creatures.  

Here in Central Queensland we have a wealth of sea and freshwater turtles including the unique Irwin’s Turtle (Elseya irwini). Irwin’s turtle was unknown to science until 1990 when it was discovered by renowned conservationists Bob and Steve Irwin.

Irwin’s Turtle is a fresh water turtle found only in the Broken-Bowen River system in central Queensland and has an estimated range of only 25km. Very little is known about Irwin’s turtle and there may be as few as 5000 individuals.Population studies of Irwin’s turtle have found that juvenile turtles, particularly young males, are under-represented.  These kind of population imbalances are concerning and may be caused by increased predation, making the species especially vulnerable to population shocks, habitat destruction and climate change.

Sign our petition https://www.mackayconservationgroup.org.au/protect_urannah_creek

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The insanity of damming Urannah Creek

It is said that ‘insanity’ is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. We have been told that the next big thing for our region is yet another feasibility study for the Urannah dam. That study will be the 19th attempt since 1967 to shuffle the cards and come up with a winning economic hand.

What is even more irrational is that the Federal Government paid $3 million of taxpayers’ money to have those cards reshuffled. Of course there’s a chance that this time the economic analysis may say something different to the previous 18 attempts. Maybe there’s a way to sell the water from Urannah dam to someone who’s willing to pay enough to recoup the dam’s construction and running costs. The only industry that can do that is mining.

Sign our petition https://www.mackayconservationgroup.org.au/protect_urannah_creek

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Urannah dam doesn't make sense

Urannah dam has created many jobs over the years but only in the economics and engineering community. Over the past 50 years 18 studies have been undertaken into the feasibility of the dam by both government and non-government organisations. They have all concluded the same thing, the dam doesn't stack up. So we were surprised when the Federal Government floated the idea it would fund another $3 million feasibility study into the dam.

That feasibility study appears to be going nowhere. Media reports late last year indicate that the consortium that has been awarded the funding is wracked with infighting over how the money would be allocated so no work has been done. The Queensland Government has proposed that the money should be allocated to Sunwater. But when Sunwater last investigated Urannah dam it found the dam to be uneconomic.

Background

Kenny DoddThe proposed Urannah Dam is located within the Bowen and Broken River catchments, 95km north-east of Mackay adjacent to Eungella National Park. If it went ahead it would be built on land that is currently leased by the Queensland Government to the Urannah Properties Association. It is subject to a native title claim registered by the Widi people in 2006, which covers an area of approximately 5,400 square kilometres. The dam site contains important initiation grounds among other cultural heritage values. The Widi people continue to campaign strongly to retain their native title rights over the land. 

Economic analysis

Constructing Urannah Dam has been estimated to cost between $250 and $300 million. In 2016 Mackay Conservation Group engaged an engineer, Thomas Williams, to undertake a Cost Benefit Analysis (CBA) of Urannah Dam. He determined that the dam would be uneconomic as it would return only $0.75 for every $1.00 invested. He found that there are cheaper ways to provide water for industrial purposes in the Galilee and Bowen Basins.

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