BAFFLE CREEK: More of a raging river when in flood, the Baffle cut a new mouth after ex-tropical cyclone Oswald swept past.
BAFFLE CREEK: More of a raging river when in flood, the Baffle cut a new mouth after ex-tropical cyclone Oswald swept past. Contributed

Ex-tropical Cyclone Oswald creates new mouth in Baffle Creek

RIVERS in Central Queensland, the Gladstone region and the Wide Bay broke their banks and in some instances smashed new paths to the sea as ex-tropical cyclone Oswald dumped metres of rain as it headed south.

Baffle Creek, in the southern-most parts of the Gladstone Region, rose to unprecedented heights and the huge volume of water pushing towards the ocean carved, or crashed a new mouth to the north of the existing outlet.

"It's not as big as the old river mouth, but it would have to 60-70m wide - and I don't know how deep it is, you couldn't get across it," local Roger Thompson said.

"It will probably silt up again in time; and the old mouth is huge - it was completely scoured out. There's been so much silt and sand carried out."

Mr Thompson has lived right on Rules Beach, not too far from the new river mouth, for more than 20 years and said he had never seen (or heard) of anything like this before.

The Kolan River to the south of Baffle Creek cut two new river mouths during the floods.

Director Environmental Planning, Department of Environment and Heritage Protection John Lane said river mouths were constantly changing as part of a natural progression or cycle.

"Estuaries and sandy river mouths, such as the Kolan River and Baffle Creek, are very dynamic environments and the location of river mouths within these systems can change as a result of floods, large waves or long-term coastal processes," Mr Lane said.

"Coastal erosion, beach building processes and extreme weather events are entirely natural and there is no need to intervene, it is preferable to allow these natural physical coastal processes to occur and for the coastline to stabilise.

"It is the department's policy to maintain a development free buffer in these erosion risk areas.

"EHP would only support intervention to manage coastal erosion where people or buildings and structures that cannot be readily relocated or abandoned are at risk."

Baffle Creek went to a record 22m flood peak, the highest in living memory, flooding many homes and businesses in the small coastal hamlet of the same name, with some only recently getting the power back on and the phones working again.