Bioregional Assessment Program

Project completed 2018

A map of southeast Australia showing the six bioregions in the Bioregional Assessment program. These bioregions are Lake Eyre Basin, Northern Inland Catchments, Clarence-Moreton Basin, Northern Sydney Basin, Sydney Basin and Gippsland Basin.

The six bioregions in the Bioregional
Assessment Program, and their
corresponding subregions

To better understand the potential impacts of coal seam gas (CSG) and large coal mining developments on water resources, multi-disciplinary scientific investigations - called bioregional assessments - were undertaken in selected regions of central and eastern Australia.

Bioregional assessments are world-first science-based studies that developed detailed, multi-layered records of the environment and provided a comprehensive suite of baseline data, information and analysis about water resources in each region.

The assessments examined the potential impacts of CSG and large coal mining developments on water resources, above and below ground. This included the possible direct, indirect and cumulative impacts of likely mining developments in each study area.

The Bioregional Assessment Program was an inter-agency government partnership between the (former) Department of the Environment, Geoscience Australia, the Bureau of Meteorology and the CSIRO.

The main purpose of these assessments was to inform the Independent Expert Scientific Committee on Coal Seam Gas and Large Coal Mining Development (the IESC) in the following bioregional assessment areas:

  • Lake Eyre Basin bioregion, which included the Galilee, Cooper, Pedirka and Arckaringa subregions
  • Northern Inland Catchments bioregion, which included the Maranoa-Balonne-Condamine, Gwydir, Namoi and Central West subregions
  • Clarence-Moreton bioregion
  • Northern Sydney Basin bioregion, including the Hunter and Gloucester subregions
  • Sydney Basin bioregion
  • Gippsland Basin bioregion.

This suite of bioregional assessments were finalised in 2018.

Most products and data for the Bioregional Assessment Program are available at www.bioregionalassessments.gov.au. The hydrogeological flow model (Modflow) dataset for the Galilee Basin is available via Geoscience Australia’s product catalogue. This groundwater numerical model was developed as a supporting knowledge product for the bioregional assessment of the Lake Eyre Basin bioregion.

Geoscience Australia led the Lake Eyre Basin and Gippsland Basin Bioregional Assessments, and guided the geological and hydrogeological components of the other assessments.