The City of Ipswich lies within the Bremer River Catchment which is approximately 2030 km² (203 000 ha) in area and encompasses a diverse range of land uses which include agriculture, mining, industry, commerce, natural areas and urban development.
The Bremer River Catchment within Ipswich local government area, contains six major waterways, these being the Bremer River, Bundamba Creek, Purga Creek, Reynolds Creek, Warrill Creek and Western Creek. The Bremer River Catchment makes up most of the Ipswich local government area. There are another 22 sub catchments which include major tributaries of Bremer and Brisbane including Bundamba Creek, Deebing Creek, Purga Creek, Reynolds Creek, Warrill Creek and Western Creek.
The Bremer River Catchment also forms part of the Brisbane River Catchment, which is the largest river system in Southern Queensland.
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.
Further information can be viewed in the Bremer Catchment Story
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 only takes up approximately 2% of the total catchment area, it supports a diverse and economically important range of commercial and industrial businesses. The following pie chart depicts the proportion of total catchment area currently being used by the four major land use types.
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.
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.
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.
The Mihi Creek forms an integral part of the Bremer River catchment system, weaving its way through the suburbs of North Ipswich and Brassall before joining the Bremer River near Woodend. Its past is rich in history yet its future has become uncertain. The impacts of past actions compounded by the pressures of development and expansion have placed the creek system in a fragile situation.
Nearby the Creek was the main stock route for Drovers on their way to the sale yards and the continual animal traffic meant that little vegetation was present as there was not enough time between drovings for the grass to recover. This is why part of the Mihi Creek near Brassall State School and Ipswich High School became known as "Hungry Flat".
Plants and Animals
The first inhabitants would have seen a very different environment - rainforest beside the creek and pines would have been common, and animals and fish plentiful. Koalas, spotted quails, platypus, echidna and a large variety of macropods (kangaroos and wallabies) would have been the predominant animals. Reptiles would have included carpet pythons, whipsnakes, water dragons and skinks. The night would have been loud with the noise of frogs. Birds would have included powerful owls, whipbirds, kingfishers, ducks and egrets.
Mihi Creek Improvements
Replanting native vegetation will encourage the return of native animal species, as well as controlling runoff, reducing erosion and improving water quality. Weed infestations can be controlled and feral animals removed.
As a community we can plant native species, remove weed species, compost garden waste, dispose of waste correctly, limit rainfall runoff, and prevent oils, fats, solvents and other pollutants from entering the stormwater drainage system.
Many people in the area have recognised the need for action and have already commenced working to improve their local area.
Clearing weeds and planting of trees native to the area along Mihi Creek and in the greater catchment area has commenced. Local schools, The Heritage City Community Church and Ipswich City Council are among many who are working towards improving the catchment.