Project 138 will initially focus on the ephemeral drainage systems directly north of Lake Eyre, concentrating particularly on the Kallakoopah Creek in the Simpson Desert Regional Reserve.
ADE senior ecologist and program director, Dr Max Tischler explains:
The riparian vegetation associated with desert ephemeral drainage lines such as the Kallakoopah Creek are known to be important dry-period refuge sites to a range of arid-zone fauna. This includes important habitats for native birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians, which are able to maintain populations in these areas during otherwise unfavourable conditions – conditions which are now prevailing in this part of the desert.
These ecological communities are also the most likely to harbor invasive and feral species. As such, loss of habitat to weeds and enhanced predation pressures make these areas critical sites for evaluation and (later) management. By visiting previously un-surveyed areas of the desert we will be able to determine the state and condition of a range of threatened species and ecosystems.
By employing modern survey techniques, historical benchmarking and traditional knowledge, our surveys will endeavour to better understand the extent and impact the threatening processes of invasive plants and animals have had, and will continue to pose, to ephemeral drainage lines such as the Kallakoopah Creek.