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Science confirms platypus living in Logan’s Albert River

Published: 29 March 2019

Science confirms platypus living in Logan’s Albert River
Platypus are living in the upper reaches of the Albert River, based on environmental DNA testing.

Environmental DNA (eDNA) technology was used to confirm the presence of the monotremes after a member of the public reported seeing a platypus in the Albert River in 2017.

City Parks, Animals, Environment and Waste Chairperson Councillor Jennie Breene said Logan City Council had collaborated with the Wildlife Preservation Society of Queensland to conduct platypus research in the Albert River and its tributaries, with a particular focus on the Cedar Creek, Wolffdene and Bannockburn reaches.

“DNA sampling was taken at 14 different sites during last year’s breeding season and seven of those sites returned data that confirms the presence of platypus,” Cr Breene said.

“This is wonderful news for the future of the river’s platypus population and a great indicator of the improving health of our environment.”

Cr Breene said researchers collected data that scientifically confirmed that platypus are living in three stretches of the river – two sites at Wolffdene and another at Cedar Creek.

Samples at four other sites – two at Wolffdene, one at Cedar Creek and another at Tamborine – contained small amounts of platypus DNA.

“The exact sites will not be made public to help protect these platypus populations,” Cr Breene said.
“But knowing that platypus are there is great news for our local community and I urge everyone to keep working hard to keep our waterways clean and minimise any negative impacts on our environment.”

Councillor Laurie Koranski, whose Division 4 takes in the upper reaches of the Albert River, said confirmation of platypus in the river was exciting news for the local community,” Cr Koranski said.

“I urge everyone to keep working hard to keep our waterways clean and minimise any negative impacts on our amazing environment,” she said.

Platypus are listed as ‘near threatened’ on the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List.

The species is found in freshwater habitats of varying quality. However, they require deep permanent pools, high consolidated sloping banks and cobbled stony substrates for a sustainable existence.

Logan City Council has a number of projects underway through its Logan and Albert River Vision program and Waterways Recovery Plan that aim to rehabilitate the two waterways and their tributaries.

In November last year, the Albert River was given a C while Logan River was rated C- in the Healthy Land and Water annual report card.

Those ratings compared favourably, and in some cases were better, than the ratings given to a number of other major South-East Queensland waterways.

Council programs to improve the city’s rivers and restore riparian vegetation to the river banks include:

  • Planting of 10,804 native plants along the riverbank of three riverside parks.
  • Riparian rehabilitation at a further four parks.
  • Under the River Trees Program, Council has provided bulk quantities of trees to rural landholders along the city’s rivers to help stabilise banks and improve water quality.
  • Council is actively working with landholders to improve land management practices, rehabilitate riparian vegetation and improve weed control under its Health Land Healthy River, Land for Wildlife and Enviro Grants programs.

Council is also working closely with neighbouring councils and water managers, Seqwater and Healthy Land and Water to focus on the mid and upper catchments of the city’s rivers which are the major sources of sediment in the lower reaches.

“It is important we continue with our whole-of-catchment approach underpinned by strong community partnerships and we are doing that,” Cr Breene said.

“Our goal is to have Logan and Albert river corridors that are healthy, accessible, connected and celebrated as iconic city assets.”

Council is continuing to work with Wildlife Queensland to further monitor platypus occurrence within the city’s river systems.

Next month, Council will host a planting event to continue the rehabilitation of riverside vegetation.

On Saturday, May 11, a free Planting Homes for Butterflies event will be staged at Mount Warren Park from 9am to 1pm. To register go to butterflyplantingday.eventbrite.com.au

The first 25 tickets booked will include a free Richmond birdwing butterfly vine to plant at home.