A Report from the heart of Australia

Tuesday, 23 May 2023

  • Estimated reading time 2 min

A Report from the heart of Australia

Birdlife is pumping in the Channel Country

Join Tarquin Moon as she visits the remarkable communities in Queensland’s Channel Country, in the heart of the Lake Eyre Basin.

The Lake Eyre Basin covers a large part of central Australia, including some of the country’s most down to earth and resilient communities. Recently, I was excited to meet the people who live among these magnificent postcard-worthy landscapes in the heart of Australia, as part of BirdLife Australia’s work to protect the magnificent Lake Eyre Basin.

Queensland’s Channel Country lies 1200-kilometres west of Brisbane, and like the rest of the Lake Eyre Basin, this region is important bird habitat for migratory and local species especially during the current boom part of the cycle.

I met the team from BirdLife Southern Queensland and BirdLife’s KBA program, who were in outback Queensland promoting their fantastic new Birds of Western Qld guidebook and running Birdata workshops. Their work is helping both local land managers and visiting tourists to identify the birds they see, and to record this into our Birdata app. ID and survey training is especially important in far western Queensland, where bird surveys are already few and far between.

We were excited to chat with people living in communities in Queensland’s Channel Country, entirely within the Lake Eyre Basin. The name comes from the many hundreds of braided river channels that are the life of the landscape. The water flowing within rivers, or stored within wetlands and springs, is a precious resource for both wildlife and the people who live there. Protecting what water falls is vital, as it can be a long wait of eight years or more between wet seasons. Sadly, the future of these waters is at risk.

The threat of further gas mine approvals is a great concern. Mining infrastructure, such as roads and well pads, impacts upon floodplains and water. These seemingly small changes become as damaging as dam walls, because of how water flows across the mostly flat landscape. Diverted flows could mean a human settlement missing out on its much-needed water or the loss of an essential wetland pit stop for birds on their 1200-kilometre journey back to the coast.

As part of our efforts to protect the Lake Eyre Basin, Birdlife Australia launched a petition on World Wetlands Day, in February this year. Our target is 10,000 signatures, and we’re getting close.

Help us to spread the word about the importance of the Lake Eyre Basin, by signing if you haven’t already, and sharing our petition with your friends and family.

The Lake Eyre Basin is deeply precious for locals, a great diversity of birds, and the many visiting tourists. So, help us to protect the beloved heart of Australia.