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)

10.23. Reference number WA23

Refuge area: Mandora salt marsh

Biogeographic region: Dampierland

Type of refuge: Wetlands

Lat./Long. 19°40’ - 19°55’S / 121°07’ - 121°08’E

Quality of refuge: Significant (2)

Area (km²): <1,000

Chief refuge value

Habitat for waterbirds in a sub-tropical desert.

General description

A complex of wetlands extending from 80 Mile Beach about 100 km inland into the Great Sandy Desert1. The complex consists of large claypans joined by Salt Creek, and includes Mandora Soak and Eil Eil and Grant Springs. The claypans are up to 23 km long surrounding 10 km wide saline marshes; Mandora Soak is a raised peat bog about 2 m above the plain and surrounded by a moat. The Springs have small lakes or swamps associated with them, each less than 1-2 ha. Springs and creek are permanent; most of the claypans hold water seasonally (they hold shallow water briefly in most years).

ANZECC-listed species

None known.

Regional endemics

None identified.

Relict species

None identified.

Other significant species

A site where freshwater and swamp plants and animals are isolated by a sandy desert environment4. The typical plant species of fresh water swamps – paperbark Melaleuca argentea, dragon trees Sesbania formosa, sedge Schoenoplectus litoralis, bulrush Typha domingensis and fern Acrostichum speciosum – are isolated by an arid environment. The system is a major breeding area for black-winged stilt Himantopus himantopus) and whiskered terns Chlidonias hybrida. Sixteen waterbirds have been recorded, including brolga Grus rubicundus and clamorous reed-warbler Acrocephalus stentoreus4.

Key threats

Cattle grazing has a major impact on vegetation at Springs and at the Creek1, 4.

Land tenure

Pastoral lease and vacant Crown land. Site is within the proposed Mandora Nature Reserve4. It is listed under the Ramsar Convention (with Eighty Mile Beach).

Key references

1. Jaensch and Lane (1993)

2. Storr (1984)

3. Jaensch (1989)

4. Burbidge et al. (1991)