Ecology | Environment | Heritage

Assessing the risk of CSG and coal mining to internationally recognised wetlands of Southwest Queensland

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31 May 2013

South West NRM Regional Body (SWNRM) provided timely and rigorous scientific input to the Bioregional Assessments on Coal Seam Gas and Large Coal Mining Development being undertaken by the Commonwealth and State Governments through the National Partnership Arrangement. Dr Darren Fielder, Principal Scientist from Redleaf Environmental, worked with SWNRM to undertake a risk assessment of CSG and Coal Mining Development on the water-dependent ecosystems and biota in the Warrego, Paroo and Bulloo River Catchments.

This research is a significant contribution to policy debate at all levels of government and provides important information for the communities of south west Queensland. The vast floodplains and wetlands of the iconic Paroo River including the Ramsar listed Currawinya Lakes are internationally recognised for their habitat for migratory species and large numbers of waterbirds.

Dr Fielder said, “The risk assessment provides well-timed input for this part of the world because CSG and Coal Mining activities are still in their infancy there. We can learn from the more developed areas such as the Surat Basin which has experienced rapid increases in development in recent years. Investigations into the impacts to water assets in the Surat Basin could provide insights into predicted levels of impact from CSG and mining industries to water assets of the SWNRM region. This is an opportunity for SWNRM and other management authorities to undertake the necessary research and investigations to better understand these ecological assets and to plan for their management and protection into the future. If done properly, it will allow adverse impacts from potential or anticipated coal seam gas and coal mining developments to be minimised through appropriate controls and informed decision making.”

The Redleaf report titled, A risk assessment of water dependent threatened species and communities and water assets of southwest Queensland from coal seam gas and coal mining was the first of its kind for the region and was well received by SWNRM, and Commonwealth and State Governments. RedLeaf was able to provide SWNRM with authoritative and insightful analyses into this important topic. The report can be downloaded at

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