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Currumbin Creek Catchment

The Currumbin Creek catchment is situated directly adjacent to the New South Wales border. The catchment extends from Mount Cougal National Park and the McPherson Range in the west, to Currumbin Rocks and the Pacific Ocean in the east.

Currumbin Creek is approximately 20 kilometres in length. Its catchment can be divided into two distinct systems, the freshwater; and estuarine, according to the spatial extent of tidal intrusion in the creek. These two systems are markedly different in terms of their hydrological processes, water quality and ecology.

The catchment headwaters are in the inland ranges, but much of its length traverses agricultural land use areas and residential and commercial developments.

Currumbin Creek is situated in a relatively narrow and steep sided valley that supports both disturbed and undisturbed subtropical rainforest, wet sclerophyll forest, open woodland, remnant littoral rainforest, estuarine mangrove and seagrass communities.

Narrow alluvial valleys central to the valley floor provide opportunities for grazing and low intensity agricultural production. Large stands of the non-native Camphor Laurel tree (Cinnamomum camphora) occur along the valley bottom and on adjacent slopes in the mid-catchment.

The upper estuary is vegetated with narrow patches of mangrove and Casuarina forest. Mangrove, saltmarsh and Casuarina forest patches are present in the lower reaches of the estuary. These patches are bounded by residential and commercial areas.

The lower estuary is a dynamic environment, strongly influenced by the processes of tidal flushing and infilling by coastal sands. This process leads to the natural constriction of the creek mouth, and requires intermittent dredging to minimise flood impacts. The lower estuary provides a significant aquatic and shore based recreational resource for the city, attracting fishermen, swimmers, surfers and boating enthusiasts.

A long history of coastal development, associated clearing and dredging has significantly altered the estuary’s riparian and benthic zones. Dredging of the creek mouth and estuary channel has caused a distinct change to the ecology of estuary, transforming a historically brackish water system into a regularly flushed marine estuary environment.

Further information

View a map of the Currumbin Creek catchment area on the Southern Gold Coast Catchment Story, a map journal developed by the Queensland Wetlands Program in the Department of Environment and Science, in partnership with local councils, Healthy Land and Water and Gold Coast Waterways.

Why not consider volunteering in your catchment? Visit the Watergum website to find out how to get involved.

Visit the Healthy Land and Water website for information on the ecosystem health of Gold Coast waterways.

Download the Currumbin Creek Catchment Study Guide for teachers and students.

Currumbin Creek Catchment Study (2004)

The major aims of the Currumbin Creek Catchment Study (2004) were to identify the environmental values of the catchment and provide an integrated plan for the management of the catchment. Through consultation, environmental values were identified and used in formulating the management strategy for the catchment.

The management strategy strives for sustainable management of the Currumbin Creek system. It is based on an adaptive and coordinated approach, involving the community, government and industry working together to address common issues of concern. The strategy content includes:

  • water quality, geomorphic and ecological studies;
  • identifies key issues, threatening processes and management priorities;
  • provides a framework for future natural resource management; and
  • defines key performance indicators for monitoring implementation.

The full report is available from Gold Coast Libraries or by contacting the City's Catchment Management Unit on 1300 GOLDCOAST (1300 465 326) or 07 5582 8211.

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