Clarence-Moreton bioregion

​Rainforest waterfall in Border Ranges National Park, NSW, 2008 Credit: Liese Coulter, CSIRO

This bioregional assessment helps us understand how coal seam gas and coal mining development could affect water resources and water-dependent assets in the Clarence-Moreton bioregion. It identifies where potential impacts could occur, as well as the areas that are unlikely to be affected. 

About this bioregion

The Clarence-Moreton bioregion is located in north-east New South Wales and south-east Queensland and adjoins the Northern Inland Catchments bioregion. Along with the towns of Casino, Lismore and Grafton, it contains the outskirts of the Queensland cities of Brisbane, Ipswich, Logan and Toowoomba. 

The bioregion contains large river systems (including the Clarence, Richmond and Logan-Albert rivers) and extensive wetlands, some of which are nationally important. Many of these wetlands are home to water-dependent plants and animals that are listed as rare or threatened under Queensland and Commonwealth legislation. The bioregion contains numerous national parks and forest reserves and includes sites of international importance for bird conservation. 

A large area of the bioregion is used for dryland farming and plantations and as grazing land for livestock. Irrigated agriculture takes up a comparatively small area. Groundwater is extracted for various uses but most commonly for livestock and agricultural purposes. The largest water reservoir in this bioregion is Lake Wivenhoe on the Brisbane River, which supplies Brisbane and its surrounds. The New South Wales part of the bioregion has smaller dams located in the upper Richmond river basin.

Coal mining and coal seam gas operations

The Clarence-Moreton bioregion is underlain by rocks of different ages that are part of the geological Clarence-Moreton basin. Coal deposits are found in a number of different geologic units, but economic deposits are mainly found in the Walloon, Ipswich and Nymboida coal measures.

The bioregion has one operating coal mine located near Ipswich in Queensland. This open-cut mine is due to end production in 2017. There was a single, early-stage proposal for a coal seam gas development near Casino in New South Wales, however this development is not being progressed. Some exploration for coal resources occurs in various parts of the bioregion.

About the bioregional assessment

Background work indicates that new coal resource development is unlikely to occur in the Queensland part of the bioregion in the near future. The bioregional assessment for the Clarence-Moreton bioregion focused on the Richmond River catchment near Casino in New South Wales, as this was the area where a coal seam gas development had been proposed when the Programme commenced. Tools and material developed during the assessment can be used to inform future environmental studies. An outcome synthesis will be produced for the Clarence-Moreton bioregion.

Last updated:
7 October 2016