Eroded creek protected thanks to new technology

Eroded creek protected thanks to new technology

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New technology in the form of ‘log jams’ is helping to restore eroded sections of Warrill Creek and protect highly valued farmland. The log jam projects are a continuation of the Healthy Country Program, which is funded by the Queensland Government through the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection.  

Pioneered in the United States, log jams consist of hardwood trees (i.e. ironbark and spotted gum) and are keyed into the creek bank, with the root ball of the trees facing upstream, helping to slow and deflect the water flow off the bank, giving creek banks and farming land protection during floods.

Ms Julie McLellan, CEO of Healthy Waterways and Catchments said “by placing these log jams along strategic locations of Warrill Creek meant that they were connected across the landscape contributing to increased resilience of the waterways across a much larger area.”

“Log jams are important because they emulate what would normally happen in nature when a series of logs fall into a creek over time and dig themselves into the bed, causing a jam, hence the name, and they also provide in-stream habitat for aquatic animals which is really important in our degraded creek systems.”

By connecting all of these log jams across the landscape means that they are working as one system and we can expect to see larger reductions in sediment loss, greater protection of creek banks and adjacent land during floods.

“They have already proven their worth in controlling a medium creek flow, which resulted from the rain event in late August.” Ms McLellan said. 

Landholder Andrew Wills who has had a log jam constructed at his property near Warrill Creek, said that this new approach is helping to protect his land from flooding.

“Over the past few years, the streams that meander through our property have seen quite significant areas of erosion resulting from flood events,” Mr Wills said.

“At first we implemented a traditional approach of reshaping creek banks but found we just moved problems to the next weakest section. After seeing log jams in action, we’re thrilled to see how they cannot only mitigate erosion, but also help provide environments that support aquatic plant and animal life.”

The Mayor of Scenic Rim Regional Council Greg Christensen visited one of the creek restoration sites at Gap Creek, and saw first-hand what’s involved to build a ‘log jam’.

“I am looking forward to seeing how these structures contribute to stabilising our high-risk watercourses and help preserve our regions farms and land areas,” Mayor Christensen said.

So far, thanks to the Healthy Country Program, a total of 23 log jams, and 11 other similar in-stream structures have been installed along eight highly eroded sections of Upper Warrill Creek since 2012, preventing huge sediment loads from being washed downstream.

An aerial view from left to right, the first two yellow circles highlight two Engineered Log Jams (ELJs), the third yellow circle identifies the pit established for the

third ELJ. Blue arrows indicate the flow of the creek passing through ELJs - from east to west.

At the site of Engineered Log Jams in Upper Warrill Creek, from left to right, Steve Fechner (Fechner Bros Earth Moving), Mayor Greg Christensen (Scenic 

Rim Regional Council), and Nathaniel Parker (Healthy Waterways and Catchments).

This project is funded by the Queensland Government's Healthy Country Program.

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