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Protecting catchments

Discover how we're protecting our catchments, and how you can play your part.

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Pacific Beaches Catchment

Flat Rock Creek

Flat Rock Creek catchment is located on the coastline within the southern section of the city of the Gold Coast. It is the smallest of the 10 major catchments within the city, covering approximately 135 hectares.

The catchment is considered to be the geographical area beginning on the eastern ridgelines of Currumbin and Tugun Heights, extending in a north-east direction to Currumbin Beach.

Land use in the area is primarily urban residential and the catchment has been highly modified. The creek consists of channelled urban stormwater drains in the upper section and a series of three constructed water bodies at Littleford Family Park, Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary and Alex Griffiths Park.

The urban setting and high volumes of urban stormwater discharge to the creek results in considerable challenges for catchment management efforts, particularly regarding aquatic weed (Salvinia) control and water quality.

The City will be undertaking improvement works to naturalise and improve the condition of Flat Rock Creek. For more information and project updates go to Flat Rock Creek Improvement Project.

Historical and current information for Flat Rock Creek

In its natural state, Flat Rock Creek was an intermittently closed and open lake or lagoon (ICOLL). ICOLLs generally form where small catchments drain to the beachfront in locations where wave energy is high enough to move sand into the mouth of the creek. When catchment discharge is high the creek flushes to the sea (open lagoon), and when discharge drops the tide moves sand into the mouth (closed lagoon).

Prior to the 1960s, the creek was tidally connected to the ocean, passing under a timber bridge on Teemangum Street. However, in the late 1960s, the Teemangum Street Bridge was replaced by a high weir, severing this connection. A low flow bypass pipe was also installed to take flow from the lower lagoon to the ocean.

Flat Rock Creek and its catchment have undergone a number of changes since the 1960s.

The catchment has been impacted by increased urbanisation, construction of water crossings, and the development of flood mitigation works such as channelisation, which has been progressively added in the upper catchment. The creek is now considered to be a heavily modified system.

Click to enlarge

Aerial view looking east over Flat Rock Creek with Currumbin Sanctuary 1958, photographer unknown
Construction of Flat Rock Creek culvert at Currumbin 1933 - Photographer L.G. Perry Snr
An image of Flat Rock Creek circa 1911 Photographer unknown

How you can be involved

You can help play a part by joining Tarrabora Bushcare Group who meet at Tooloona Park on the second Saturday of the month (bi-monthly) from February to November. The group are working in partnership with the City’s Beaches to Bushland Landcare Program and assist with undertaking weed control works and tree planting under the guidance of a natural areas officer. View group meeting dates and register to attend to receive further details about the activity.

Coolangatta Creek

Coolangatta Creek catchment is the southern-most catchment wholly contained within the boundary of the city of the Gold Coast, bordering Currumbin Creek catchment to the north and Cobaki Broadwater/Tweed River estuary catchment to the south in New South Wales.

The creek is approximately eight kilometres in length, flowing from its headwaters at Tugun Hill and Hidden Valley, along the floodplain, and discharging at Kirra Beach.

The catchment is relatively small (approximately 400 hectares in size) but encompasses interstate areas, including Federal airport land and receiving waters within the Cobaki Broadwater, New South Wales.

The catchment is now highly urbanised and includes the suburbs of Tugun Heights, Tugun, Bilinga, the majority of Coolangatta and Kirra. Current land use is mostly urban residential with many public park areas, most of which are sports and recreation parks.

Remnant native vegetation is highly fragmented due to urban development and infrastructure, in particular, the Gold Coast Airport and major arterial roads such as the Tugun Bypass.

The few areas where contiguous remnant vegetation occurs are at the northern end of the catchment (around Tugun Hill), west of the Tugun Bypass (Hidden Valley) and immediately south of Gold Coast Airport. Despite the level of disturbance to the natural environment, ecological survey results have indicated several significant flora and fauna species occur in the area, along with vegetation communities of high conservation value.

These relict vegetation areas have value for the flora and fauna of the region and as such require protection and enhancement wherever possible.

Aquatic habitat throughout the lower, mid, and upper-catchment is generally characterised by low diversity and is in a degraded condition. Hidden Valley is characterised by a more natural channel morphology compared to most of the creek. The highest aquatic flora diversity occurs in the section of creek adjacent to Southern Cross University.

Further information

To find out more about how you can become involved in caring for your catchment, visit the Watergum website.

Related information

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