You are in site section: Online features

Bernadette Cudars: Yackandandah Creek, The Gorge

Bernadette Cudars: Yackandandah Creek, The Gorge

Bottle number: 62

About the water

A colour photo of Waterwatch volunteer, Bernadette Cudars, Yackandandah Creek Victoria with her water sample.
Bernadette Cudars, Waterwatch volunteer, Yackandandah Creek, Victoria.

Collected at: Yackandandah Creek, The Gorge, Yackandandah, Victoria

This area of the creek just before the township begins is called Whiskey Flat. The location is about 3 to 4kms north-east of Yackandandah CBD.

View location on Google map

Collected by: Bernadette Cudars

I became personally involved in Waterwatch in 2008 because no one in Yackandandah was testing the Creek water. Living near the Creek I am conscious of how I look after my land knowing that any action I do will impact my local catchment. I choose not to use chemicals on my land and understand the function of a waterway is so important to the health of the local ecosystems and the people in the community who heavily rely on the water being healthy.

Water quality:

Turbidity: 10NTU
pH: 7.0 units
Nitrates: N/A
Salinity: 60EC
Phosphates: 0.10mg/L
Dissolved oxygen: 10mg/L / 110% sat

Also tested water temperature: 18.5 degrees Celsius.

ACT Waterwatch says:

This is a pretty healthy body of water. Quantity as well as quality is essential for a healthy ecosystem, as we see from these bottles again and again. When a stream dries into a chain of pools, fish that require high levels of oxygen often die as the oxygen in the pools dwindles. Riffles and races are great places for streams to gain oxygen — as the water spills and bounces over rocks, it becomes aerated.

The phosphates are quite a lot higher than they should be, and this needs to be investigated further.

A colour photo of The Gorge, Yackandandah Creek, Victoria.
The Gorge, Yackandandah Creek, Victoria. Photo: Bernadette Cudars.

About the site

Whiskey Flat is a man-made 'tail race' constructed in 1859 to supply water to gold miners. This man-made race is impressive as the Gorge was carved from granite by pick and shovel. The race is around 100 metres long with narrow sections running into several deeper pools.

The vegetation is a combination of native and weed (blackberry etc). The Yackandandah Land Care, primary school, Cub and Scout groups have revegetated and cared for the area creating a very pleasant walk for tourists and locals alike.

The creek originates from Mount Stanley and its upper reaches are called Nine Mile Creek. Nine Mile Creek has a man-made diversion which supplies Lake Kerford (Beechworth's water supply) in times of need. Yackandandah Creek is also Yackandandah's water supply and the home of trout fish species and unfortunately European Carp and Redfin. The Creek has suffered through man's alluvial gold extraction with high levels of sediment which poses a threat to the lower Kiewa River.

There are other detrimental activities along the river such as farm animal grazing and excessive pumping from the Creek. Yackandandah citizens were very concerned last summer when the Creek stopped flowing. An elder of Yackandandah said he had never seen the Creek run dry and was saddened at the death of many trout in stagnant pools. More serious was the threat of fire and no water to help fight it.

What's going on:

Local groups like Land Care are very active in revegetation and weed removal. Scouts have installed possum/bird boxes. There are story boards on flora and fauna at strategic points on the Creek.

A pretty devastating wind storm knocked over many trees along the Creek area some years ago causing concerns at the huge fire risks this poses. This has been slowly cleared as are the blackberry and willow infestations.

There exists a Yackandandah Creek Waterway Action Plan (July 2009) by the North East Catchment Management Authority to restore back to health the Yackandandah Creek between Yackandandah and the Kiewa River.

My involvement with the Creek is purely on a voluntary basis with Waterwatch and my own observations. I am hoping to be involved with the Waterway Action Plan in some way.