About this Document
This report is volume one in a series of two focusing on the history, ecology and hydrogeology of the Great Artesian Basin (GAB) Springs.
This report presents the research findings relating to the ecological and hydrogeological survey of recharge, discharge, and watercourse springs that could be impacted by coal seam gas (CSG) and coal development in the Surat and Bowen Basins. GAB springs occur in clusters known as supergroups, including the Springsure, Eulo, Bourke and Bogan River. The ‘community of native species dependent on natural discharge of groundwater from the Great Artesian Basin’ is listed as endangered under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act), and thus this report presents results from surveys of all of the EPBC Act listed springs in these four supergroups. Surveying was undertaken in 503 springs in 94 spring complexes that had not previously been surveyed. The key findings include:
- The EPBC Act listed spring community in the Springsure supergroup in the Surat Basin is most likely to be impacted by current coal seam gas development. The Lucky Last and Scott’s Creek springs are of particular concern. These two spring clusters are habitat for the EPBC Act listed species Eriocaulon carsonii and have high conservation value. Other EPBC Act listed springs that may be impacted include Spring Rock Creek, Abyss and possibly Dawson River 8.
- Groundwater data collection and modelling capabilities need to be improved to more accurately predict the impact of CSG extraction on aquifers that source springs in the Springsure supergroup.
- CSG development and extraction are currently remote from active springs in the Eulo, Bourke and Bogan River supergroups, and are of less concern than the impacts of large free-flowing artesian pastoral bores that have not yet been rehabilitated.