Determining response of methane seeps on river ecology and function

April 23rd, 2018

The Challenge

CSIRO are assessing whether methane seeps in a river have any direct effect on the water quality and ecological status of the river. There is little or no literature that describes this issue in flowing systems.

Views on the operations of the gas industry are highly charged, with strong agendas from the public through to politicians. The gas industry must not be seen to be involved in any environmental damage.

bubbles in a river
© CSIRO, Gavin Rees

Methane bubbles in the Condamine River, Queensland. PHOTO: Gavin Rees

Our response

  • Our capability

Land and Water has very strong aquatic ecology capability, with team members each having more than 20 years experience working on Australian rivers and floodplains. Our labs are well equipped to carry out the necessary biological and chemical assessments required for the project. We collaborate with La Trobe University who provide important technical support. Most importantly, we have a history of working very closely with water industry partners to achieve outcomes directly to the industry.

  •  Science and Innovation

This project requires combined understanding of biogeochemistry, microbiology, invertebrate fish and flow ecology. We are applying standard approaches with our recent work on foodwebs and flows in rivers, and from this, can assess the current impacts of in stream methane seeps on riverine biota. We are in a position to describe key drives of any environmental change. The results provides the client with a clear understanding of the environmental status of the Condamine river for their reporting procedures and additionally, the results for our work can underpin and potential activities that may offer management solutions for the river operators.


Our results have been incorporated into reports for the Queensland State Government and presented as part of Origin Energy’s public discussion on their gas activities.

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