2016 has been characterised by very good rains across much of the State. The Far North has been no exception and there has been substantial rainfall in mound spring country. Earlier in the year, wet weather prompted the cancellation of a joint working bee at Dalhousie Springs by FOMS and the Friends of the Simpson Desert Parks (FOS). For the most part, FOS volunteers support DEWNR in management activities at Dalhousie while FOMS volunteers have focussed on mound springs on pastoral country and in Wabma Kadarbu Mound Springs Conservation Park.
However, in August 2016, a group of FOMS volunteers finally made it to Dalhousie Springs. The group, comprising Elizabeth and Brendan Lay, Sherrie and Bruce Gotch, Bernice Cohen and Colin Harris, aimed to complete the following tasks:
- Revisiting photopoints and taking water samples from the areas or sites where date palms had been removed at Kingfisher Springs – a component of DEWNR’s Desert Jewels project;
- Planting coolabah and needle-bush seedlings (grown as tubestock by FOS members) around the campground area;
- Revisiting the historic exclosure and old photopoints in the Dalhousie and 3 O’clock Creek areas, set up more than 30 years ago before the area was dedicated as a national park.
The work at Kingfisher involved relocating and re-photographing photopoints along the spring tails, finding the centre of the flow at that point, then sampling the water and vegetation there. Prolific growth of Phragmites – which followed the cutting and burning of the date palms – presented major challenges in obtaining some of the samples. Regrowth of young date palms was quite advanced in some areas.
A feature of the trip to and from Dalhousie was the abundance of surface water in waterholes and watercourses. The group returned home by the longer route through Bloods Creek Bore and the old Federal Homestead. The group thought the extra half day travel was well worthwhile as the country was looking splendid after such good autumn and winter rains. Wildflowers such as mulla mullas and Sturt’s desert peas were in abundance and Eringa Waterhole was most impressive with plentiful waterfowl and other bird-life. This bodes well for water dependent wildlife in the region during the next year or more.