The Mareeba-Dimbulah irrigation area (MDIA) within the Northern Gulf region is subject to a wide variety of present and historical land-use pressures, including intensive agriculture with significant irrigation, cattle grazing, abandoned mining, and urban and industrial waste assimilation. As a result of this, there is an increasing concern within the community about the health of the waterways that drain these lands. The Walsh River catchment, a major sub-catchment of the Mitchell River has been extensively altered, particularly as a result of intensive agricultural practices within the region. This once ephemeral stream now flows continuously due to its use to supply water from Tinaroo Dam to feed the regions irrigation. Local tributaries such as Cattle Creek have a high public profile due to concerns about salinity and agricultural pollutants, and the long term impact this may have on the sustainability of the region. The Northern Gulf Resource Management Group is currently undertaking a soil and water monitoring program within the region to determine the current health status of the streams and surrounding environment within the catchment.
Water quality monitoring is being performed using multi-parameter continuous data loggers which are strategically placed to coincide with identified input pressures in the catchment ( see http://bit.ly/1KS95zt for logger locations near you). Certain locations inside the headwaters of the Mitchell River are also being targeted. This data is also supported by on-the-spot recordings of water quality using hand held devices which is collected on a weekly basis.