Biodiversity publications archive

Refugia for biological diversity in arid and semi-arid Australia

Biodiversity Series, Paper No. 4
S.R. Morton, J. Short and R.D. Barker, with an Appendix by G.F. Griffin and G. Pearce
Biodiversity Unit
Department of the Environment, Sport and Territories, 1995

10. Refugia in Western Australia (continued)

10.12. Reference number WA12

Refuge area: Lake Gregory

Biogeographic region: Tanami

Type of refuge: Wetlands

Lat./Long. 20°03’ - 20°17’S / 127°10’ - 127°32’E

Quality of refuge: Significant (2)

Area (km²): <1,000

Chief refuge value

A major breeding area for waterbirds, especially cormorants and terns, a major drought or non-breeding refuge for waterbirds, and a major migration stop-over area for shorebirds at times4.

General description

Large, brackish, inland drainage lake which has regular inflow and is near permanent. The Lake is variously described as "semi-permanent, drying completely every few decades"1, and as retaining some surface water permanently and the only lake in the region and in the deserts further south to do so3. Comprises all basins at the end of the Sturt Creek drainge system.

ANZECC-listed species

None identified.

Regional endemics

None identified.

Relict species

None identified.

Other significant species

The Lake possesses the largest breeding colonies of little black cormorant Phalacrocorax sulcirostris known in Australia, and freckled duck Stictonetta naevosa are present3. Among migrant shore-birds, 16 species have been recorded, particularly oriental plover Charadrius veredus and sharp-tailed sandpiper Calidris acuminata. The largest estimates of birds are 600,000, and there are more than 100,000 on a regular basis. There are 70 species recorded, 21 of them listed under treaties3.

Key threats

Excessive inundation; overgrazing by cattle which prevents tree regeneration3.

Land tenure

Aboriginal lands trust.

Key references

1. Lane and McComb (1988)

2. Storr (1981)

3. Jaensch and Lane (1993)

4. Halse (1990)