The Lower Balonne

  The Lower Balonne
Taking soil cores using a coring rig within the river channel. Lower Balonne Floodplain. Photo: Andrew Biggs

The main findings of EWKR research in the Lower Balonne and Narran Lakes project site will feed directly into management plans for the Queensland floodplain to support principal vegetation components that rely on floodwater (see also Queensland Floodplain Vegetation Water Requirements Project).

The Lower Balonne River floodplain covers two million hectares in Queensland and New South Wales and supports the largest number of wetlands of any catchment in the Basin. The Balonne River divides into five separate channels, including the Narran River which terminates in the Narran Lakes wetland system.

The Narran Lakes wetlands are significant within the Murray–Darling Basin and include a designated Nature Reserve. A Ramsar listing also covers part of the site. Since 2005, 65 species of waterbirds have been recorded in the Narran Lakes, forty-six of which breed in this wetland system (Thoms et al. 2002). These numbers are comparable to the Macquarie Marshes and suggests that the Narran Lakes system is one of the most important breeding and feeding habitats for waterbirds within the Basin.

Large-scale water resource and floodplain development has occurred in the Lower Balonne floodplain, substantially modifying the flow regimes of the entire complex, particularly in the Narran Lakes system.

Both the Queensland Floodplain Vegetation Water Requirements project team and the basin-wide Vegetation project team will be undertaking on-site research in this area in 2017.

Brandis KJ, Kingsford RT, Ren S and Ramp D (2011). "Crisis Water Management and Ibis Breeding at Narran Lakes in Arid Australia." Environmental Management 48(3): 489-498. DOI: 10.1007/s00267-011-9705-5

Thoms M, Quinn G, Butcher R, Philips B, Wilson G, Brock M and Gawne B (2002) Scoping study for the Narran Lakes and Lower Balonne floodplain management study (R2011). Technical Report 3/2002. CRC Freshwater Ecology.


Narran Lake Nature Reserve - Map supplied by Department of the Environment and Energy


Narran River flowing into the Lake Photo: Ben Gawne















PDFLocation and extent of Lower Balonne River Floodplain System hydrologic indicator site. (Source MDBA: 2012. Assessment of environmental water requirements for the proposed Basin Plan: Lower Balonne Floodplain. Publication 24/12 (3355 KB)