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Somerton Public School: Peel River

Somerton Public School: Peel River

Bottle number: 32

About the water

A colour photo of Max Gardner, Somerton Public School, at the Somerton Bridge site, Peel River, Somerton.
Max Gardner, Somerton Public School, at the Somerton Bridge site, Peel River, Somerton.

Collected at: Peel River, Somerton Bridge, Somerton, NSW

Region: Barwon.
Catchment: Namoi. Sub catchment: Lower Peel.
Lattitude: South: -30.56032. Longitude East: 150.3852.

View location on Google map

Collected by: Somerton Public School

In recent times, the Somerton Public School students have participated in the Bugarsaurus Explorus autumn and spring monitoring activities and are currently Waterwatch monitors.

Walking distance from the school, the river is an ideal resource to develop understandings about the local environment and practical science skills.

Water quality (as at 17 November 2009):

Turbidity: 50
pH: 9.0
Salinity: 800.00

Monitoring was conducted between 2.15 and 2.45pm. On the day the weather was fine; water temperature 31 degrees Celsius, air temperature 35 degrees Celsius. There was a light to moderate breeze blowing in the opposite direction to the current.

ACT Waterwatch says:

Sites that allow access to horses, cows and sheep are often very stirred up and muddied by their hooves and droppings. The raised turbidity in the Peel River may be caused by this, or by the construction work that has taken place. Raised turbidity also is an indicator that there may be other problems that need to be monitored. In this instance, the presence of horses and cows could mean that nitrates and phosphates are also high, since their waste is rich in both of these nutrients. Ideally, farm animals should be fenced out of waterways, and their drinking water pumped to troughs well away from the river's bank.

About the site

Peel River, Somerton Bridge, Somerton, NSW.
Peel River, Somerton Bridge, Somerton, NSW.

Our monitoring site is downstream and adjacent to the Somerton bridge/temporary crossing.

The river at our site is generally low – the stream has a gravel bed (sometimes removed in the past by locals for building purposes). There have been a number of bridges and crossings here since settlement in the mid to late 1800s.

Our current crossing was put in place in January 2009 following a flood late November 2008. This crossing has had to be renovated to stabilise it twice during this year. Both the flood and ensuing demolition and earthworks associated with the crossing have resulted in extensive disturbance.

Ground cover where present is a combination of introduced and weeds species (Coolatai grass Hyparrhenia hirta most recently beginning to invade the area). A number of trees (eucalypts) on the Manilla side were washed away during the November 2008 flood leaving some willows – the bank on this side is steep and bare in places.

The Somerton village side has a gentle wide slope to the stream. The tree line, eucalypts, is approximately 50m from the waters edge. Horses water at the site. Cattle water both up and downstream from the site.

It is not unusual to have people camp on the upstream side of the bridge/crossing, to cool off in the water, swim their dogs, ride motor bikes along the banks, fish and catch bait (shrimp). Carp are present at the site.

Irrigation, cropping and grazing are conducted on the land adjacent to the site on the opposite side of the river to Somerton village.

What's going on:

We have registered to participate in the Get Hooked – it's fun to fish (NSW DPI recreational fisheries' primary schools program) in 2010. It is hoped that when the construction of the new crossing/bridge occurs and is completed the school can become involved in restoration/revegetation activities at the site.