redfin blue eye Blue eye habitat now protected

A conservation group named Bush Heritage Australia will spend $3.5 millions on the purchase and ongoing management of 8100 hectares in Central Queensland. The main reason for the purchase is to safeguard the rare Redfin blue-eye fish.

The property, Edgbaston Station, is connected to a network of more than 50 artesian springs that provides Edgbaston pools with spring water from the Great Artesian Basin. The spring-fed pools are surrounded by arid landscape and the isolation has given numerous endemic species a chance to develop, including several species of fish, snails, plants and a crustacean. The entire known population of Redfin blue-eye resides in five spring-fed pools at Edgbaston. In addition to arid grass lands and spring-fed pools, the property also contains woodlands and wetlands and is an important region for migratory birds. The rare Redfin blue-eye fish is therefore not the only species that will benefit from the purchase.

A substantial part of the money used to finance the acquisition of Edgbaston Station – $1.324 millions – comes from the Australian Government’s “Maintaining Australia’s Biodiversity Hotspots” program­. The two departments “Qld Department of Natural Resources and Water” and “Qld Department for Sustainability, Climate Change and Innovation” have also assisted, together with Bush Heritage Australia volunteers and donors.

Edgbaston Station is located within the traditional country of the Iningai people and Bush Heritage Australia plans to work together with them to understand and protect the cultural values of the property.

Edgbaston has exceptional biodiversity value and Bush Heritage is proud to own, manage and protect such an important Australian landscape,” says Doug Humann, CEO of Bush Heritage Australia. “This purchase will allow us to closely manage the health of Edgbaston’s incredible artesian springs, which support a variety of life forms unique to the region.

Bush Heritage Australia currently owns and manages 31 reserves throughout Australia. You can find more information on their site: http://www.bushheritage.org.au.

1 Australian dollar = 0.8 U.S. dollars

Facts about the Red-finned Blue-eye

The Red-finned Blue-eye (Scaturiginichthys vermeilipinnis) lives in spring fed pools in Queensland and the species has only been encountered in a handful of pools. None of the pools are very large and the average water depth is just a few centimetres. The pools are located in a very arid part of Australia and there is hardly any surrounding vegetation that can shadow the shallow water. During the hot season, the air temperature can reach 50 degrees C (122 degrees F) during the day and the water in the pools can become almost as warm as the surrounding air. The Red-finned Blue-eye is however not only capable of handling a high water temperatures; it is also very tolerant to rapid changes in water temperature since the shallow pools where it lives change temperature rapidly as the surrounding air temperature fluctuates. During the cold season, the water temperature can be as cold as 3 degrees C (37 degrees F).

The Red-finned Blue-eye is listed as “Critically Endangered” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.