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)

14.8. Reference number NSW8

Refuge area: Great Cumbung Swamp

Biogeographic region: Murray-Darling Depression

Type of refuge: Wetland

Lat./Long. 34°30’S / 143°45’E

Quality of refuge: Significant (1)

Area (km²): <10,000

Chief refuge value

An extensive complex of wetlands providing a wide range of habitats and a major drought refuge for waterbirds.

General description

The Great Cumbung Swamp and the Lowbidgee Floodplain are wetlands comprising the terminal drainage swamp of the Lachlan River and its surrounding floodplain, together with the contiguous floodplain of the lower Murrumbidgee River near Balranald. Significant natural flooding occurs in about one in five years, and controlled annual flooding occurs as part of agricultural practices. There are areas of reed, woodland of river red gum Eucalyptus camaldulensis and black box E. largiflorens, with some areas of lignum Muehlenbeckia cunninghamii. This area provides drought refuge when wetlands in other parts of the inland are dry. The system supports large numbers of waterbirds, many of which breed in the area1, 2, 3.

ANZECC-listed species

None identified.

Regional endemics

None identified.

Relict species

None identified.

Other significant species

Freckled ducks Stictonetta naevosa occur2.

Key threats

Lakebed cropping.

Land tenure

Freehold and leasehold land.

Key references

1. Kingsford et al. (1990)

2. Maher (1990)

3. Wettin et al. (1993)