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The DCQ region is rich in natural assets and these have shaped the human and natural community’s way of life and underpin local industries. Functioning of vegetation and animal populations in dryland river systems have a boom and bust cycle. The integrity of most of the area is still in place, reflecting the opportunity for grazing production to positively co-exist with the underlying natural values of the area.
Seven bioregions are found in the DCQ planning area: Mitchell Grass Downs, Channel Country, Desert Uplands, and lesser parts of the Simpson/Strzelecki Dunefields, Mount Isa Inlier, Brigalow Belt South, and Mulga Lands.
Within the DCQ area there are 23 (17 Channel Country, 2 Mitchell Grass Downs, 3 Desert Uplands, 1 Mulga Lands) wetlands of national importance4 that have been listed because of their uniqueness or value to biodiversity conservation (DEH 2003).
The intermittently flooded, shallow swamps and lake systems throughout the region provide rich habitat for waterbirds including migratory shorebirds. Several million waterbirds may gather in the Channel Country during extensive floods (Costelloe et al. 2004), rivalling any other wetland system in Australia.
The cracking clay soils support a very high diversity of large elapid snakes (front-fanged, venomous species), several endemic reptile species, and very high densities of a number of grassland birds and small marsupials. Many distinctive species are found only in the grasslands, including Collett’s snake (Pseudechis colletti), the Julia Creek dunnart (Sminthopsis douglasi), long-tailed planigale (Planigale ingrami) and the skink (Ctenotus schevilli).
From fauna and flora surveys, the total number of species recorded to date for the DCQ area is 2,686 plants and 26 fungi, and 712 animals – comprising 98 mammals, 361 birds, 188 reptiles, 37 amphibians, 26 fish and an unknown number of invertebrates.
DCQ has developed a Community Information Paper that provides more information about our natural assets.