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)

10.21. Reference number WA21

Refuge area: De Grey River

Biogeographic region: Pilbara

Type of refuge: Wetlands

Lat./Long. 19°58’ - 20°42’S / 119°10’ - 120°35’E

Quality of refuge: Significant (2)

Area (km²): <1,000

Chief refuge value

Permanent pools provide a significant drought refuge for freshwater fish and waterbirds in the north of the Pilbara.

General description

A length of river (160 km) typically 500 m wide with more than 30 river pools (Coolenar-Triangle Pools, Coogeenariner Pool, Mulyie Pool, Coolcoolinnarriner Pool and Ngumberamuring Pool); also 4,500 ha of tidal wetlands (mudflats, mangroves, coastal flats, and c. 22 km of tidal reaches of river and estuary. Many of the river pools are permanent. Flow occurs in the river every few years, with a major flood every 5-10 years1.

ANZECC-listed species

None identified.

Regional endemics

None identified.

Relict species

None identified.

Other significant species

Permanent pools support 20 species of waterbirds (mostly darters, cormorants, and herons). Includes black-necked stork Xenorhynchus asiaticus, generally uncommon in the the north-west of Western Australia.

Key threats

Overgrazing may lead to silting of river pools1.

Land tenure

Pastoral leases.

Key references

1. Jaensch and Lane (1993)

2. Allen (1982)

3. Storr (1984)