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)

10.25. Reference number WA25

Refuge area: Windjana Gorge

Biogeographic region: Dampierland

Type of refuge: Gorge/wetland

Lat./Long. 17°25’S / 124°57’E

Quality of refuge: Significant (2)

Area (km²): <100

Chief refuge value

Significant dry season refuge for freshwater fish in the west Kimberley.

General description

Three permanent pools on the Lennard River within Windjana Gorge. The pools are 500-800m long and up to 100m wide; the Gorge cliffs rise 30-100m above the dry-season waterlevel. It is part of a 5 km gorge cut by the River through the Napier Range. Fringing forest along the river includes cadjeput Melaleuca leucadendron, river gums Eucalyptus camuldulensis, and the figs Ficus racemosa, F. coronulata, F. hispida, and Nauclea orientalis. White cedar Melia azedarach, boabs Adansonia gregorii, Gyrocarpus americanus and Atalya hemiglauca occur on slopes of the Gorge.

ANZECC-listed species

None identified.

Regional endemics

None identified.

Relict species

None identified.

Other significant species

Of 19 species of waterbirds recorded, three are listed under treaties; there are relatively low numbers1, 2, 3. Freshwater crocodiles Crocodylus johnstoni occur, as well as 14 species of freshwater fish, including bony bream Nematalosa erebi, spangled perch Leiopotherapon unicolor and archerfish Toxotes oligolepsis. See Williams for freshwater fauna of the area4.

Key threats

None current, but possible impact of increased tourism.

Land tenure

Windjana Gorge National Park.

Key references

1. Australian Heritage Commission (1989)

2. Burbidge et al. (1991)

3. Jaensch and Lane (1993)

4. Williams (1979)