Stygofauna at Maules Creek

The SMH article “The bug that bit Santos” raised the profile of the incredibly important category of aquatic species that live in our aquifers called Stygofauna. Want to know more?

 Amphipoda, Neoniphargidae n. sp. (©P.Serov 2011)


Here is a briefing paper from December last year for former environment minister @TonyBurke re Stygofauna and Groundwater Dependent Ecosystems in the Maules Creek Alluvial Aquifer more generally. The recommendations to Tony Burke were;

It is the view of the MCCC that the GDE of the Maules Creek Alluvial Aquifer are under imminent threat from mining as there is;

  1. A fine balance between existing groundwater extraction and recharge
  2. Approvals of massive new coal mines and coal mine expansions in the area that are yet to commence groundwater extraction.
  3. Modeled cumulative impacts in the shallow alluvial aquifer of a 5m drawdown adjacent to Maules Creek and 1m drawdown further up the valley due to that mining
  4. Existing and new coal and CSG  exploration leases that overlay the entire alluvial aquifer
  5. Further identification of potential coal mines  in the Maules Creek Alluvial Aquifer contained in the Strategic Regional Land Use Policy (SRLUP) and the Namoi Catchment Water Study.
  6. Insufficient quantity and quality of the underlying science in relation to the planning conditions imposed by the Planning NSW regarding GDE of the Maules Creek alluvial Aquifer. For example, GDE’s were not mentioned at all in the Maules Creek Coal PAC Report. (PAC 2012)

We recommend that you commence;

  1. Emergency consideration of the listing due to immediate threats from open-cut coal mining
  2. Special consideration and application of the precautionary principle given that the listing has been held back to date only by lack of knowledge
  3. That the IESC is required to fully and thoroughly assess the impacts of proposed mines on the endemic stygofauna of Maules Ck.