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

12. Refugia in the Northern Territory (continued)

12.2. Reference number NT2

Refuge area: Lake Woods

Biogeographic region: Mitchell Grass Downs

Type of refuge: Wetland

Lat./Long. 17°50’S / 133°30’E

Quality of refuge: Significant (2)

Area (km²): <1,000

Chief refuge value

A major wetland providing one of the most important breeding and migratory stop-over locations for waterfowl in the sub-tropical inland of the Northern Territory.

General description

An intermittent wetland of 50,000 ha fed principally by Newcastle Creek. The Creek flows in most years, and many of the waterbodies (such as Longreach Waterhole) are probably permanent. The Lake proper is surrounded by shrubland of lignum Muehlenbeckia cunninghamii, and woodland of river red gum Eucalyptus camaldulensis, coolibah E. microtheca, and gutta-percha Excoecaria parviflora1, 2.

ANZECC-listed species

Bilbies Macrotis lagotis (V) have been recorded at Lake Woods1.

Regional endemics

None identified.

Relict species

None identified.

Other significant species

The Lake supports large numbers (in tens of thousands) of breeding waterbirds, notably magpie geese Anseranas semipalmata, ducks, cormorants, and herons1, 2. It also acts as a major stop-over point for waders on migratory paths between Australia and the northern hemisphere2. Significant waterbirds recorded include freckled duck Stictonetta naevosa and painted snipe Rostratula benghalensis2 .

Key threats

Grazing pressure causing land degradation; recreational boating on waterholes may affect waterbirds.

Land tenure

Pastoral leases.

Key references

1. Fleming et al. (1983)

2. Fleming (1993)12.3. Reference Number NT3