The Department of Environment and Science is reviewing North West flood mapping in relation to the population of the endangered Julia Creek Dunnart.
Local environmental authorities have raised concerns with the DES over possible extinction of the small “rat sized” carnivorous marsupial, following the extensive flood across the region.
A DES spokesperson said the extensive flooding covered a significant portion of the known distribution of the endangered Julia Creek Dunnart.
"The Department of Environment and Science is currently reviewing flood mapping to determine both the severity and extent of flooding in relation to know populations of the Julia Creek Dunnart, and to compare the recent flooding to previous historical flooding in those areas," a spokesperson said.
"This review of flood mapping will help determine if any further response by DES, such as inspections and surveys at key sites, is required."
Thirteen centimetres in body length, the Julia Creek Dunnart is known for sheltering in cracking clay soils, or among the low grass and shrubs in a limited number of locations on the Mitchell Grass Downs and north-western Queensland.
"It is likely that recent flooding has impacted populations in some areas where there was significant and extended inundation," the spokesperson said.
"Julia Creek Dunnarts have continued to persist in the southern gulf region following previous large scale floods, including previous record flooding in 1974.
"Therefore it is probable the species has survived this flood as well."
However juvenile Julia Creek Dunnarts could be more at risk according to the DES website.
"Unpredictable climatic events such as heavy, prolonged rainfall could have the potential to cause high mortality of juvenile Julia Creek Dunnarts if the young are not sufficiently mobile to escape rising floodwaters," the website said.
"Similarly, females carrying pouch young may be at risk from drowning because of the increased weight being carried, preventing them from swimming or climbing onto vegetation."
The Julia Creek Dunnart is listed as ‘Endangered’ under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 and the Queensland Nature Conservation Act 1992 and is ranked as a critical priority under the department's Back on Track species prioritisation framework.
READ MORE: Queensland floods decimate native wildlife
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