WARNING: Queensland Health advises people not to consume fish caught in the Bremer River or Warrill Creek adjacent to RAAF Base Amberley to Cribb Park (North Ipswich), and Bundamba Creek downstream of the Centenary Highway, due to PFAS detected in fish during investigations. More information on the PFAS site investigations is available on the Queensland Government website.

The Bremer River Catchment covers a total area of 2028 km² (202,800 hectares) and flows through Scenic Rim and Ipswich local government areas. Bremer River Catchment encompasses a diverse range of land uses which include agriculture, mining, industry, commerce, natural areas and urban development.

Ipswich is the residential, commercial and industrial center of the catchment.  Beyond this the natural beauty of the surrounding mountains provides a magnificent backdrop to the rolling landscape. Flinders Peak and adjoining hills, which form part of the eastern boundary, are remnants of volcanoes active during the tertiary period - approximately 25 million years ago.  Within the catchment there are many opportunities for residents to enjoy the recreational benefits of our waterways.

The Bremer River Catchment contains six major waterways that flow through Ipswich local government area, being:

  • Bremer River
  • Bundamba Creek
  • Purga Creek
  • Reynolds Creek
  • Warrill Creek
  • Western Creek

The Bremer River Catchment also forms part of the Brisbane River Catchment, which is the largest river system in Southern Queensland.

Further information can be viewed in the interactive Bremer Catchment Story

Bremer River Catchment Action Plan

The primary focus of the Bremer River Catchment Action Plan (CAP) is to address the very high risk of flooding, erosion, sediment and pollutant movement through the catchment and its impact on downstream creeks, the Brisbane River and Moreton Bay.

The CAP was launched in 2018 as part of the Resilient Rivers Initiative, led by the South-East Queensland Council of Mayors. Local councils also contributed funds to support the delivery of high priority projects across the region.

View the Bremer River Catchment Action Plan page to download a PDF copy.

Bremer Catchment Association

The Bremer Catchment Association assists and involves landholders, business, industry, government and residents in a partnership to improve, enhance and protect the Bremer Catchment environment.

A healthy, enjoyable and productive catchment.

To foster and promote a partnership of coordinated action on identified natural resource management issues within the Bremer River Catchment.

Visit the Bremer Catchment Association website for further information or to join the group.

Bremer River Sub-catchments

Special features of the Bremer's various sub-catchments are detailed in the Waterway Health Strategy, along with priority actions for improving the health and function of this vital system.

Bremer River (estuary)

The Bremer River estuary extends for about 19km upstream from the confluence with the Brisbane River, to an
area known as Lynch’s Crossing just upstream from Hancock Bridge. The estuary is subject to tidal influences with
variations in river height up to 2m; at times exposing large areas of muddy bank through the CBD reach.

Special features:

  • Ipswich CBD and city centre are located in this sub-catchment
  • The waterway is accessible for both passive and active recreation and used by the community for picnics, BBQs, walking, fishing and canoeing

Bremer River (freshwater)

The Bremer River freshwater sub-catchment rises in the Main Range National Park with 50 per cent of the subcatchment upstream of the Ipswich LGA. The freshwater portion of the Bremer River flows through rural and  industrial landscapes before entering the Bremer River estuarine downstream from West Ipswich. The waterway contains pools connected by meandering channels.

Special features:

  • Home to threatened ecological community Swamp Tea-tree (Melaleuca irbyana) and Queensland Blue Gum (Eucalyptus tereticornis). Swamp Tea-tree is listed as critically endangered in the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act 1999.

Bundamba Creek

The Bundamba Creek sub-catchment covers a total area of 114km2 and arises in the Flinders-Goolman Conservation Estate.

More than 90 per cent of the catchment is within Ipswich LGA.

In many sections, Bundamba Creek flows over bedrock which controls bed incision and provides a diversity of pool, run and riffle habitats. Historic vegetation removal and grazing has resulted in some areas of degradation along the creek and the erosive soils place the waterway at high risk.

The creek flows through rural, industrial and urban landscapes before entering the Bremer River estuarine. The upper sub-catchment is dominated by agricultural land uses and the lower sub-catchment is predominately urban.

The middle reaches have agricultural and extractive industries and host the Swanbank power station which has a license to discharge into the creek. The catchment faces major redevelopment in the coming decades with the new Ripley Valley urban development and new regional business and industrial area.

Special features:

  • Connected to Daly’s (Bundamba) Lagoon
  • Flinders-Karawatha regional corridor
  • Ripley Valley urban core
  • Platypus detected in Bundamba Creek
  • Connected to the important Indigenous cultural site of Evelyn Dodds Cultural Reserve
  • Bundamba Creek Corridor Plan.

Deebing Creek

The Deebing Creek sub-catchment headwaters arise in the Grampian Hills and flow into the freshwater section of the Bremer River, near One Mile Bridge in West Ipswich.

Predominant uses in the lower sub-catchment are urban land uses. The upper sub-catchment area retains significant tracts of bushland, however, some sections of the floodplain are cleared for grazing.

This area also faces significant changes as part of the Ripley Valley urban development. A new commuter bikeway is planned along the waterway to connect the urban development area with the existing CBD.

The creek channel is predominately natural, although there are some concrete sections in the urban area. The upper sections of the creek have experienced significant erosion.

A major sand slug (in stream sedimentation) is present and completely infilling the channel with sand, approximately two kilometres downstream of the Centenary Highway. The channel in the lower section of the sub-catchment is a continuous waterway which is relatively stable and is currently not impacted by the sediment slug.

Special features:

  • Koala and flying fox habitat
  • New urban development, including Ripley Valley
  • Connected to the important Indigenous cultural heritage site of Deebing Creek Mission and cemetery
  • Small Creek naturalisation project
  • Deebing Creek Corridor Plan.

Franklin Vale Creek

The Franklin Vale Creek sub-catchment flows northeast to enter Western Creek at Calvert. About 91 per cent of the sub-catchment area (125km2) is within the Ipswich LGA.

Bushland covers about half of the sub-catchment however the floodplain and riparian zone are predominantly cleared.

The main land use in the sub-catchment is grazing, with instances of irrigated cropping and forestry plantation.

Franklin Vale Creek is characterised as a single continuous channel with anabranching sections. The creek has experienced instabilities due to the removal of vegetation and stock access, especially in the upper tributaries, which have experienced major erosion.

Special features:

  • Franklin Vale Creek Initiative is underway to enhance community involvement in waterway health management
  • The sub-catchment contains threatened ecological communities including Box Gum Grassy Woodland and Swamp Tea-tree (Melaleuca irbyana). These are listed as critically endangered in the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act 1999
  • Little Liverpool Range regional corridor

Ironpot Creek

Iron Pot Creek is a tributary of the Bremer River and is a small 16.7km2 largely urbanised sub-catchment within the Ipswich LGA. It flows south through the suburbs of Blacksoil, Brassall, Karrabin, Pine Mountain and Wulkuraka and joins the Bremer River just upstream of the Albion Street Bridge.

The sub-catchment contains mixed land uses, including urban, large lot residential and rural residential. Despite the level of urbanisation, the floodplain and riparian corridor is predominantly vegetated, creating a continuous riparian corridor.

There are a large number of public parks and reserves along the waterway providing opportunities for access for the community. The Brassall bikeway is also located in the sub-catchment, but is outside the main waterway corridor.

The upper reaches of Ironpot Creek have experienced severe erosion as a result of past clearing, urbanisation and the construction of infrastructure such as roads, rail and power corridors. Active incision is still occurring in these upper reaches which is lowering the bed level and resulting in steep, unstable banks. Further downstream, the channel transitions into a more stable channel with some chains of ponds sections present.

There have been a number of studies and works carried out across the sub-catchment including erosion and riparian works in the upper reaches and weed management in the lower.

Special features:

  • Active and engaged community
  • Large sections of the waterway can be accessed by the community
  • Ironpot Creek Corridor Plan
  • Studies and on-ground works undertaken to address channel instabilities

Mihi Creek

The Mihi sub-catchment is 5.9km2 in area and is entirely within the Ipswich LGA. The catchment drains the ridgeline which separates the Bremer and Brisbane River catchments, and flows into the estuarine section of the Bremer River in Brassall, downstream of Albion Street Bridge.

While the upper section of the sub-catchment is wooded rural lands, the majority of the catchment is urban residential. A continuous riparian corridor exists which sits within a zoned linear recreation zone.

The creek is comprised of a mixture of natural and constructed channel forms. Severe gully erosion in the northwest section of the upper sub-catchment is impacting the waterway.

There are a number of environmental partnerships in the sub-catchment that enable community-driven improvement and ownership of the waterway.

Special features:

  • Good community access to the creek
  • Active community involvement.

Sandy Creek

The Sandy Creek (Tivoli) sub-catchment covers an area of 8.7km2 and flows from the ridge line which separates the Bremer and Brisbane River catchments, through the suburbs of Chuwar, Tivoli and North Tivoli into the Bremer River estuarine zone, 8km upstream of the Brisbane River confluence.

The sub-catchment is predominantly wooded, with small pockets of urban, peri-urban and industrial land use.

The waterway consists of an intact chain of ponds in the upper reaches and a continuous channel in the lower reaches.

Special features:

  • Chain of ponds in upper reaches
  • Currently no community access to the waterway

Purga Creek

Purga Creek is a major tributary of Warrill Creek, joining the waterway approximately 3km upstream of the Bremer River and Warrill Creek confluence.

The Purga Creek sub-catchment encompasses the Peak Crossing and Purga townships and has a total area of 227km2. About half the sub-catchment is within the Ipswich LGA with the remaining upper catchment within the Scenic Rim Regional Council area.

Farming communities were established in the catchment in the 1850s, with large grazing runs established and vegetation cleared on a significant scale in the 1860s. Agriculture is still the predominant land use within the Purga Creek sub-catchment, with mostly irrigated horticulture on the floodplains and grazing on the hillslopes.

The sub-catchment contains the Flinders-Goolman Conservation Estate which forms part of the largest remaining tract of lowland eucalyptus forest in South-East Queensland. The sub-catchment also contains mapped endangered ecological communities. There are a number of private properties with conservation partnerships or agreements across the sub-catchment.

Special features:

  • Flinders-Karawatha regional corridor
  • Priority local corridor
  • Priority area for rehabilitation and protection of Koala habitat
  • Active rural community
  • Sites of cultural significance (Purga Aboriginal Cemetery and Purga United Church)
  • Home to threatened ecological community Swamp Tea-tree (Melaleuca irbyana) which is listed as critically endangered in the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act 1999.
  • Flinders-Goolman Conversation Estate

Warrill Creek

Warrill Creek rises in the Main Range National Park (World Heritage Area) and flows about 70km down to its confluence with the Bremer River near Amberley. The majority of the Warrill Creek sub-catchment is within the Scenic Rim LGA, with only the lower reaches contained within the Ipswich LGA downstream of Mutdapilly.

Warrill Creek transitions between a single continuous channel and anabranching low flow channels within a wide floodplain valley. The construction of Lake Moogerah on Reynolds Creek, a tributary of Warrill Creek, has impacted the natural flow regime of the sub-catchment. The dam has a total catchment area of approximately 200km² which is more than 20 per cent of the total Warrill Creek sub-catchment area. A series of weirs within Warrill Creek allow water from the dam to be released to downstream town water supply, and industrial and agricultural water users.

Agriculture is the predominant land use within the sub-catchment, with mostly irrigated horticulture on the floodplains and grazing on the hill slopes.

A large area of the sub-catchment is planned for the Ebenezer Regional Industrial Area, which is one of the larger industrial areas in South-East Queensland and will include the provision of more direct road access (Warrego Highway link) and freight rail access.

Special features:

  • Home to threatened ecological community Swamp Tea-tree (Melaleuca irbyana) which is listed as critically endangered in the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act 1999
  • High value wetlands including Ten Mile Swamp
  • Priority area for rehabilitation and protection of Koala habitat.

Western Creek

Western Creek sub-catchment headwaters arise in the Little Liverpool Range with about 90 per cent of the catchment within the Ipswich LGA. The sub-catchment includes the townships of Rosewood, Calvert and Grandchester.

The predominant land use is grazing, with minor instances of cropping and mining. Urban expansion is possible in the lower sub-catchment area.

The creek flows through a steep confined valley setting consisting of bushland before transitioning into a wider valley, in which the waterway meanders across the floodplain, before joining the Bremer River just upstream of Jeebropilly.

The Rosewood Wastewater treatment plant discharges via a series of lagoons and constructed wetlands into Western Creek, just before its confluence with the Bremer River.

Special features:

  • Little Liverpool Range regional corridor
  • Little Liverpool Range Initiative
  • The catchment contains threatened Box Gum Grassy Woodland ecological communities. which are listed as critically endangered in the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act 1999.

Catchment land uses

The current land uses within the Bremer River Catchment and the condition of the natural resources has been markedly influenced by the land uses of early European settlement.

Early European settlers in the district were mainly sheep and cattle graziers. Much of the fertile scrub country was cleared and used for timber production. The rich alluvial soils found in the low lying areas and valley floors supported cultivation and crop production. Forage crops were grown for cattle and the dairy industry expanded. Cotton and sugar cane were also grown in some areas.

Today, more than half of the total catchment area is used for grazing, and crop production is still an important industry within the catchment. Although urban settlement is about 2 per cent of the total catchment area, it supports a diverse and economically important range of commercial and industrial businesses.

Natural resources within the catchment

Less than one per cent (1280ha) of the catchment is covered by water. Moogerah Dam supplies a large proportion of the catchment with water for irrigation, drinking water to local townships, such as Boonah and Kalbar, and cooling water for Swanbank Power Station.

Riparian vegetation
This vegetation grows on land adjoining waterways, gullies and dips, around lakes and on river floodplains. The natural vegetation helps to stabilise banks, shade streams reducing evaporation, provide food and habitats for birds and wildlife, and most importantly, act as a buffer for catchment run-off.

Freshwater wetlands and swamps
These areas of land are seasonally inundated by water, generally for two to six months of the year. They act as sinks for nutrients and sediments and absorb pollutants from catchment run-off. Wetlands are also important in reducing the velocity of surface run-off, helping to prevent soil erosion whilst supporting a diverse range of wildlife.

Agriculture and cropping is important within the catchment. Many commercial crops, including potatoes, carrots and onions are grown throughout the region on the rich alluvial soils.

The potential for coal mining within Ipswich encouraged early development of the area. Coal seams were discovered throughout the region. The early 1900's saw the opening of many mines including those at Rosewood and Ebenezer. Mt Marrow, north-west of Walloon, was established as a crushed rock quarry for use in road making. Aside from coal, limestone was also discovered within the Bremer River Catchment. The Mt Flinders Dolomite Mine at Peak Crossing, established in the early 1890s, is still operational today.

Much of the Bremer River Catchment, prior to European settlement, was covered by tracts of sub-tropical rainforest, eucalypt forest and large areas of 'scrub country'. The scrub consisted of valuable timbers including hoop pine, brigalow or "rosewood", crows ash, blackbean and red cedar. This bought about the timber boom of the late 1800s.