Steve Irwin the turtle under threat from $670m mega-dam
Late ecowarrior Steve Irwin made an unusual discovery back in 1990 when he was fishing with his dad in the Burdekin River system.
The pair found a turtle unlike anything they had ever seen before, taking a few photographs to document their find before releasing it back into the waters.
It took another three years before scientists determined it was in fact a new species that has lived in the rivers west of Mackay for millions of years.
Greenies now allege that the little critter, commonly known as "Irwin's turtle,'' faces an existential threat from the planned $670m Urannah Dam, which they claim will destroy its natural habitat.
The 1.5 million megalitre dam on the Broken River is the centrepiece of a $2.9bn irrigation and hydro-electric power scheme which has the backing of both the state and federal governments.
Construction is scheduled to kick off next year, with proponents claiming it will deliver water security and provide power for regional agricultural and mining activities.
It's expected to create up to 1200 full-time jobs during construction and another 675 when completed, making it Queensland's second largest dam.
But the Mackay Conservation Group has not given up the fight against the project, which was first proposed in the 1960s and has been the subject of numerous feasibility studies now gathering dust on shelves somewhere.
Group spokesman Peter McCallum told us this week that he and his fellow activists aim to raise $20,000 to keep up the fight and have already received nearly half that amount.
Irwin's son, Robert, is in their camp and has called for the dam to be scrapped "out of respect'' for his father.
Critics, who say plenty of other wildlife will be impacted, also claim the economics don't stack up.
Last year, they retained an independent economist to study the business case for the project and he found it would generate just 26 cents in benefits for every dollar it cost.
Some of the traditional owners have also objected.
Originally published as Steve Irwin the turtle under threat from $670m mega-dam