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

14. Refugia in New South Wales (continued)

14.2. Reference number NSW2

Refuge area: Paroo wetlands

Biogeographic region: Mulga Lands

Type of refuge: Wetlands

Lat./Long. 29°10’S / 144°30’E to 31°00’S / 143°30’E

Quality of refuge: Significant (2)

Area (km²): <10,000

Chief refuge value

A massive complex of wetlands providing a wide range of habitats and a major drought refuge for waterbirds.

General description

The Paroo River and Cuttaburra Creek, together with the Warrego River, run south-west from the Queensland border towards Wilcannia, carrying occasional floodwaters through a reticulate system of broad, shallow distributary channels and draining into overflow swamps and terminal playa lakes1, 2, 3, 4. The channels and swamps are densely vegetated with lignum Muehlenbeckia cunninghamii and eucalypts and acacias. Associated with the system are salinas, such as Utah Lake, which experience short-term inundation from local run-off3. Major flooding takes place on average about once every five years; the persistent water supports large populations of breeding and refuging waterbirds3, 5.

ANZECC-listed species

None identified.

Regional endemics

None identified.

Relict species

None identified.

Other significant species

The huge populations of waterbirds that use the wetlands3. The freckled duck Stictonetta naevosa occurs3.

Key threats

Changes to hydrology and vegetation springing from over-grazing on surrounding pastoral land.

Land tenure

Nocoleche Nature Reserve, pastoral leases.

Key references

1. Goodrick (1984)

2. Maher (1991)

3. Maher and Braithwaite (1992)

4. Wettin et al. (1993)

5. Lawler and Briggs (1991)