Biodiversity

Species Profile and Threats Database

For information to assist in referral, environmental assessment and compliance issues, refer to the Listing Advice and/or Conservation Advice and Recovery Plan. The Listing and/or Conservation Advice define the national ecological community and may include Key Diagnostic Characteristics, Condition Thresholds, Priority Research and Conservation Actions and additional considerations.
In addition, for recovery planning, mitigation and conservation information, refer to the Recovery Plan (where available) or the Conservation Advice.


EPBC Act Listing Status Listed as Endangered
Date Effective 12 May 2005
Listing and Conservation Advices For ecological communities listed from 2013 onwards, there is no separate listing advice. Instead, the advice from the Threatened Species Scientific Committee regarding the listing status of the ecological community and recommendation regarding a recovery plan are contained within the Conservation Advice.
Commonwealth Listing Advice on Temperate Highland Peat Swamps on Sandstone (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2005g) [Listing Advice].
Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Temperate Highland Peat Swamps on Sandstone (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2008zv) [Conservation Advice].
Recovery Plan Decision Recovery Plan not required, included on the Not Commenced List (1/11/2009).
 
Adopted/Made Recovery Plans
Other EPBC Act Plans
Policy Statements and other Information Sheets Information Sheet on Temperate Highland Peat Swamps (Department of the Environment and Heritage (AGDEH), 2005f) [Information Sheet].
Federal Register of Legislative Instruments Inclusion of ecological communities in the list of threatened ecological communities under section 181 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (29/04/2005) (Commonwealth of Australia, 2005s) [Legislative Instrument].
Indicative Distribution Map(s) Map of Temperate Highland Peat Swamps on sandstone (Department of the Environment and Heritage (AGDEH), 2005g) [Indicative Map].
Distribution Map Community Distribution Map

This map has been compiled from datasets with a range of scales and quality. Species or ecological community distributions included in this map are only indicative and not meant for local assessment. Planning or investment decisions at a local scale should seek some form of ground-truthing to confirm the existence of the species or ecological community at locations of interest. Such assessments should refer to the text of the Listing Advice, which is the legal entity protected under the EPBC Act.

For the legal definition of the ecological community please refer to the listing advice and other documents under Legal Status and Documents.

The ecological community is called 'Temperate Highland Peat Swamps on Sandstone'.

For the legal definition of the ecological community please refer to the listing advice and other documents under Legal Status and Documents.

The current conservation status of the Temperate Highland Peat Swamps on Sandstone ecological community, under Australian and State Government legislation, is as follows:

National: The Temperate Highland Peat Swamps on Sandstone ecological community is listed as Endangered under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

NSW: Swamps that are part of the listed Temperate Highland Peat Swamps on Sandstone ecological community also occur in the following three ecological communities listed under the Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995 (NSW) (TSC Act).

  • Blue Mountains Swamps in the Sydney Basin Bioregion ecological community, declared Vulnerable in 2007 (New South Wales Scientific Committee 2007): hanging swamps, and swamps with peat on sandstone above about 650 m above sea level, would be part of the listed Temperate Highland Peat Swamps on Sandstone ecological community.

  • Newnes Plateau Shrub Swamp in the Sydney Basin Bioregion ecological community, declared Endangered in 2005 (New South Wales Scientific Committee 2005a): swamps with peat would be part of the listed Temperate Highland Peat Swamps on Sandstone ecological community.

  • Montane peatlands and swamps of the New England Tableland, NSW North Coast, Sydney Basin, South East Corner, South Eastern Highlands and Australian Alps bioregions, declared Endangered in 2004 (New South Wales Scientific Committee 2004): the citation for this community (New South Wales Scientific Committee 2004) appears to include Wingecarribee Swamp and other swamps that are part of the Southern Tablelands Swamps component (see Distribution) of the listed Temperate Highland Peat Swamps on Sandstone ecological community. This conclusion is based on the inclusion, in the 2004 citation (New South Wales Scientific Committee 2004), of a number of threatened species (Baloskion longipes, Boronia deanei, Eucalyptus aquatica, Gentiana wingecarribiensis, Lysimachia vulgaris var. davurica, Prasophyllum fuscum / Prasophyllum uroglossum, Pultenaea parrisiae and Petalura gigantean) that are all associated with Southern Tablelands Swamps in the listed Temperate Highland Peat Swamps on Sandstone ecological community. This ecological community listed under the TSC Act may also cover Jackson's Bog but it is not clear from the citation of the New South Wales Scientific Committee (2004). Many peat swamps included in the TSC Act ecological community are not part of the listed Temperate Highland Peat Swamps on Sandstone ecological community as they do not occur on sandstone.


Fourteen threatened plant species and five threatened animal species are reported to be associated with Temperate Highland Peat Swamps on Sandstone (see table below). It is not clear whether all the species are associated with the listed Temperate Highland Peat Swamps on Sandstone ecological community.


   Status 
Scientific nameCommon nameNational1NSW2Location
Flora    
Baloskion longipes9 (previously called Restio longipes)Cord-rushVulnerableVulnerableHanging Rock Swamp
Boronia deanei7*,8Deane's BoroniaVulnerableVulnerableNewnes Plateau
Carex klaphakei12* -EndangeredBlue Mountains Swamps
Derwentia blakelyi8 -VulnerableNewnes Plateau
Eucalyptus aquatica6,9Mountain Swamp Gum, Broad-leaved SallyVulnerableVulnerableHanging Rock Swamp; Stingray Swamp
Eucalyptus copulans13* EndangeredEndangeredBlue Mountains Swamps
Gentiana wingecarribiensis3,9Wingecarribee GentianEndangeredEndangeredWingecarribee Swamp; Hanging Rock Swamp
Lepidosperma evansianum12* -VulnerableBlue Mountains Swamps
Lysimachia vulgaris var. davurica9*Yellow Loose Strife-EndangeredWingecarribee Swamp
Prasophyllum fuscum4,5Tawny Leek-orchid, Slaty Leek-orchidVulnerableVulnerableWingecarribee Swamp
Persoonia hindii7* -EndangeredNewnes Plateau
Prasophyllum uroglossum (= P. fuscum)4,5Wingecarribee Leek-orchid, Dark Leek-orchidEndangeredEndangeredWingecarribee Swamp
Pultenaea glabra9*Smooth Bush-pea, Swamp Bush-peaVulnerableVulnerableBlue Mountains Swamps
Pultenaea parrisiae9Bantam Bush-peaVulnerableVulnerableHanging Rock Swamp
Rulingia prostrata9Dwarf KerrawangEndangeredEndangeredHanging Rock Swamp
Fauna    
Petalura gigantea7*,9*,10,11* Giant Dragonfly-EndangeredNewnes Plateau; Blue Mountains Swamps; Wingecarribee Swamp; Hanging Rock Swamp
Eulamprus leuraensis7*,11*Blue Mountains Water SkinkEndangeredEndangeredNewnes Plateau; Blue Mountains Swamps
Botaurus poiciloptilus9Australasian Bittern-VulnerableWingecarribee Swamp
Heleioporus australiacus13*Giant Burrowing FrogVulnerableVulnerableBlue Mountains Swamps
Pseudophryne australis13*Red-crowned Toadlet-VulnerableBlue Mountains Swamps


* It is not clear whether this species occurs in the listed Temperate Highland Peat Swamps on Sandstone ecological community.

Notes:
1. Status under the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Commonwealth) (Department of Environment and Water Resources 2007)
2. Status under the Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995 (NSW) (NSW Scientific Committee 2007)
3. Source: New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service (1999a)
4. Source: New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service (1999b)
5. Prasophyllum uroglossum is now known as Prasophyllum fuscum (see Clements and Jones 2006), although both species are still listed separately, nationally and in NSW, as Endangered.
6. Source: Woodlands Revegetation (2005)
7. Source: New South Wales Scientific Committee (2005a)
8. Source: Department of Environment and Conservation NSW (2006)
9. Source: Environment Australia (2001)
10. Source: Clarke and Spier-Ashcroft (2003)
11. Source: Blue Mountains City Council (undated)
12. Source: Carey (2007)
13. Source: New South Wales Scientific Committee (2007).

At Wingecarribee Swamp, Gentiana wingecarribiensis occurs within 10–15 m of the swamp margin (New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service 1999a) as well as within the swamp (Sainty and Associates 2003), while at Hanging Rock Swamp it occurs in wet grassland of the swamp and on the swamp's drier margins (New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service 1999a). It is generally associated with areas disturbed by kangaroos (kangaroo paths or grasses cropped short) or, at Hanging Rock Swamp, in areas slashed by State Forests (New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service 1999a; Department of Environment and Conservation NSW 2005a).

Several other threatened plant species occur near the margins of Temperate Highland Peat Swamps on Sandstone. They include:

  • Eucalyptus macarthurii (Vulnerable in NSW); Long Swamp (Winning and Brown 1994). The species is also reported to occur in Wingecarribee Swamp (Sydney Catchment Authority 2007a), but appears to be associated with woodland communities (see Department of Environment and Conservation NSW 2005b) rather than the peat swamp community itself.

  • Persoonia hindii (Endangered in NSW); Newnes Plateau swamps (New South Wales Scientific Committee 2005a).

  • Phyllota humifusa (Vulnerable in NSW; Vulnerable under the EPBC Act); Long Swamp (Winning and Brown 1994).

  • Thesium australe (Vulnerable in NSW and under the EPBC Act) is reported to occur in Wingecarribee Swamp (Sydney Catchment Authority 2007a), but appears to be associated with grassland communities (see Department of Environment and Conservation NSW 2005c) rather than the peat swamp community itself.

It is thought possible that the Ground Parrot (Pezoporus wallicus), listed as Vulnerable in NSW, may live around Stockyard Swamp on the Southern Tablelands (Department of Environment and Climate Change NSW 2007).


Wingecarribee Swamp is listed on the NSW State Heritage Register under the Heritage Act 1977 (NSW) (Heritage Office 1999). Controlled activities within the swamp must be approved by the Heritage Council of NSW unless exempt or in accordance with a heritage agreement (Sydney Catchment Authority 2007a). Other NSW laws that apply to the swamp and its catchment are discussed by Sydney Catchment Authority (2007a).

For the legal definition of the ecological community please refer to the listing advice and other documents under Legal Status and Documents.

The Temperate Highland Peat Swamps on Sandstone ecological community is comprised of temporary or permanent swamps with a substrate of peat over sandstone, and vegetation characterised by the presence of sedges, graminoids (grass-like plants) and forbs (herbaceous non-grass or grass-like plants) with or without shrubs (Threatened Species Scientific Committee 2005a; see also Significant Species). The swamps generally occur at altitudes from around 600 m to 1200 m above sea level and are restricted to the South Eastern Highlands and Sydney Basin Interim Biogeographic Regionalisation of Australia (IBRA) (see Environment Australia 2000) regions in New South Wales.


Geomorphology and landforms

In the north of its distribution (Blue Mountains and Newnes Plateau areas; see Distribution), Temperate Highland Peat Swamps on Sandstone generally occurs at altitudes from about 650 m (Whinam and Chilcott 2002) or occasionally lower (Environment Resources Information Network 2008) to 1200 m above sea level (New South Wales Scientific Committee 2007; Environment Resources Information Network 2008) (see also Keith and Benson 1988; Benson and Keith 1990; New South Wales Scientific Committee 2005a; Department of Environment and Conservation 2006).

In central locations (Southern Tablelands areas; see Distribution) the swamps generally occur around 600–700 m above sea level (Stricker and Wall 1994), while in the south near the Victorian/New South Wales border, Jackson's Bog occurs at around 780 m above sea level (Threatened Species Scientific Committee 2005a).

In the Blue Mountains and Newnes Plateau areas the swamps are associated with Triassic sandstone plateaux (Narrabeen Sandstone) (Keith and Benson 1988; Benson and Keith 1990; Department of Environment and Conservation 2006). They occur in shallow, low-sloping, often narrow headwater valleys (Keith and Benson 1988; Benson and Keith 1990), on long gentle open drainage lines in the lowest footslopes, low-lying broad valley floors and alluvial flats (Department of Environment and Conservation 2006), and in gully heads, open depressions on ridgegtops and steep valley sides associated with semi-permanent water seepage (Holland et al. 1992; Blue Mountains City Council 2005; Department of Environment and Conservation 2006).

In the Blue Mountains area, swamps on steep valley sides/hill sides, called hanging swamps, often occur where groundwater seeps along the top of impermeable claystone layers in the sandstone and reaches the surface where the claystone protrudes (Keith and Benson 1988; Holland et al. 1992; Blue Mountains City Council 2005).

Swamps in central and southern areas occur in river headwaters on gently sloping valleys, and overlie Triassic Hawkesbury sandstone or Permian sandstones of the lower Berry Formation on the Southern Tabelands (Stricker and Wall 1994; Winning and Brown 1994; Stricker and Stroinovsky 1995) or Ordovician sediments including sandstones near the Victorian/NSW border (Environment Australia 2001). Wingecarribee Swamp, on the Southern Tablelands, is fed by groundwater springs arising from seepage through the junction of basalt and sandstone strata (see Stricker and Stroinovsky 1995).

Substrate

Temperate Highland Peat Swamps on Sandstone are associated with black to grey coloured acid, peaty soils, have moderate to high organic matter content and generally a sandy or loamy texture, and are poorly drained and hence permanently or periodically/intermittently water logged (Hope and Southern 1983; Keith and Benson 1988; Benson and Keith 1990; Stricker and Brown 1994; Stricker and Wall 1994; Winning and Brown 1994; Stricker and Stroinovsky 1995; Benson and McDougall 1997; Whinam and Chilcott 2002; Department of Environment and Conservation 2006). In the Newnes Plateau and Blue Mountains, the soils have been described as peat, peaty loam, loam, clay loam, humic loam, humic peat, silty clay, peaty sand, sandy peat and organic sand.

Peat depths range from very shallow (about 1 cm) in the Blue Mountains to a median depth of about 40 cm on the Southern Tablelands (Whinam and Chilcott 2002), although depths vary considerably within individual swamps. For example in Wingecarribee Swamp the average peat depth is about 3 m but layers up to 10 m deep have been recorded (Kodela and Hope 1992; Winning and Brown 1994; Stricker and Stroinovsky 1995), while at Jackson's Bog peat depth varies from 2.8 m in the northern end to about 1 m in the southern end (Winning and Brown 1994).

Climate

On the Newnes Plateau and in the Blue Mountains where Temperate Highland Peat Swamps on Sandstone occurs, the average annual rainfall has been reported as 880–1400 mm (Keith and Benson 1988; Benson and Keith 1990; Department of Environment and Conservation NSW 2006), falling to 464–542 mm at lower altitudes (650-900 m) in the Blue Mountains (Whinam and Chilcott 2002). Average temperatures range from minima of around -1–3 oC in July to maxima of around 22–23 oC in January (Keith and Benson 1988; Benson and Keith 1990).

In areas of Temperate Highland Peat Swamps on Sandstone on the Southern Tablelands, reported mean annual rainfall varies from 484–512 mm (Whinam and Chilcott 2002) to around 1000–1600 mm (Kodela and Hope 1992; Benson and McDougall 1997). The reported mean annual temperature range is around 12–13 oC (Whinam and Chilcott 2002), with the mean maximum temperature in summer around 25 oC and mean minimum temperature in winter around 0 oC (Kodela and Hope 1992; Environment Australia 2001).

At Jackson's Bog, the southern-most occurrence of Temperate Highland Peat Swamps on Sandstone, the reported average annual rainfall is 750–1061 mm, with mean daily temperatures ranging from a minimum of -3 oC in winter to maxima of 18–25 oC in summer (Environment Australia 2001).


Ecological Processes

Peat swamps generally occur in poorly drained, relatively infertile sites and are dependent on a regular supply of surface or seepage water (Whinam and Chilcott 2002). The swamps play an important hydrological role, acting as water filters and releasing water slowly to downstream watercourses (Young and Young 1988).

In swamps in the Blue Mountains, Holland and colleagues (1992) found that geomorphology, vegetation and soil characteristics influenced the impedance of drainage in swamps. They noted that ridges of Gymnoschoenus (Button Grass) tussocks and trapped sediment diverted water flow, dispersing the water over a wide area and protecting floors of headwater valleys from erosion. They noted that natural hydrological changes occurred hourly and daily in response to changed weather conditions.

The variation in structure and species composition of Temperate Highland Peat Swamps on Sandstone vegetation relates to factors such as geology, topographic location, depth of the water table, extent and duration of water logging (from occasionally flooded or ephemeral to almost permanently running water), drainage gradients, sedimentation, soil type and fire history (Hope and Southern 1983; Keith and Benson 1988; Benson and Keith 1990; Holland et al. 1992; Environment Australia 2001; Threatened Species Scientific Committee 2005a).

Periodic fires modify both the structure and composition of the vegetation. For example, in swamps on the Newnes Plateau, after all above ground vegetation was killed by a hot burn, sedgeland 0.3–0.5 m tall developed rapidly from regrowth and was gradually overtopped by resprouting shrubs which formed a dense canopy 2–3 m high (Benson and Keith 1990). In swamps in the Blue Mountains, species have been reported to appear after a fire, in areas where they were absent pre-burn, due to the germination of soil-stored seed (Holland et al. 1992).


Regional Variation

The main geographic variation in Temperate Highland Peat Swamps on Sandstone vegetation is summarized below for its three main geographic areas of occurrence (see Distribution). Within each geographic area, the individual species and structural types shown do not all occur at every site.

Blue Mountains and Newnes Plateau swamps

Unless shown otherwise, the following descriptions are based on Keith and Benson (1988), Benson and Keith (1990), Holland and colleagues (1992) and Department of Environment and Conservation NSW (2006).

The structure of the vegetation varies from open shrubland to closed heath or open heath (dominated by shrub species but with a sedge and graminoid understorey and occasionally with scattered low trees) to sedgeland and closed sedgeland. Topographic location, hydrology and soils significantly influence the dominant species composition.

Low slope headwater valley swamps in Blue Mountains and Newnes Plateau

Shrublands and heathlands associated with low slope headwater valleys are generally dominated by the shrubs Baeckia linifolia (Swamp Baeckea), B. utilis (Mountain Baeckia), Boronia deanei (Deane's Boronia), Epacris paludosa (Swamp Heath), E. microphylla (Coral Heath), E. pulchella (Wallum Heath), Grevillea acanthifolia subsp. acanthifolia (Spiny-leaved Grevillea) and Leptospermum grandifolium (Woolly Tea-tree). The understorey is generally dominated by the sedges Empodisma minus (Spreading Rope Rush), Lepidosperma limicola (Razor Sedge), Lepyrodia scariosa (Scale Rush), L. anarthria and Baloskion australe (Cordrush; previously called Restio australis) and graminoids such as Patersonia fragilis (Swamp Iris), P. sericea (Silky Purple-flag) and Xyris ustulata (Yellow-eye, Yellow Flag).

Species of Leptospermum (L. flavescens, L. myrtifolium, L. continentale, L. obovatum) and Callistemon sieberi (River Bottlebrush) are more common in swamps with a higher soil clay content, with ground covers including the sedges Baloskion australe (Cordrush) and Juncus continuus.

Scattered trees up to about 3 m in height may be present above the shrub layer in some swamps, and include the mallee Eucalyptus gregsoniana (Wolgan Snow Gum), Leptospermum juniperunum and Banksia marginata (Silver Banksia) or Eucalyptus pauciflora (White Sally, Snow Gum) and E. dalrympleana (Mountain Gum). Dominant lower shrub species in such areas include Baeckia linifolia (Swamp Baeckea), Hakea spp, Epacris paludosa (Swamp Heath), E. microphylla (Coral Heath), Grevillea acanthifolia subsp. acanthifolia (Spiny-leaved Grevillea) and species of Leptospermum (including L. continentale, L. lanigerum (Woolly Tea-tree), L. parvifolium and L. sphaerocarpum, or Leptospermum obovatum and L. trinervium (Slender Tea-tree)). The ground layer is dominated by sedges such as Empodisma minus (Spreading Rope Rush), Gahnia sieberiana (Red-fruit Saw-sedge), Lepidosperma limicola (Razor Sedge) and L. tortuosum and the ferns Gleichenia dicarpa (Coral Fern) and Sticherus sp. (Umbrella Fern) with graminoids such as Xyris spp also present.

Drainage lines and permanent water channels on low slope headwater valleys support sedgeland dominated by Gleichenia dicarpa (Coral Fern) and Gymnoschoenus sphaerocephalus (Button Grass).

Hanging swamps in Blue Mountains and Newnes Plateau

Hanging swamps on the sides of steep valleys generally support open heath dominated by the shrubs Epacris microphylla (Coral Heath), Epacris obtusifolia (Blunt-leaf Heath), Hakea teretifolia (Dagger Heath), Leptospermum squarrosum (Pink Tea-tree) and Sprengelia incarnata (Pink Swamp Heath) with the slender shrubs/subshrubs Almaleea incurvata (Bush Pea), Dampiera stricta (Blue Dampiera) and Hibbertia cistiflora (Guinea Flower) commonly present. The ground layer is dominated by sedges such as Empodisma minus (Spreading Rope-rush), Leptocarpus tenax (Slender Twine-rush), Lepyrodia scariosa (Scale Rush) and Ptilothrix deusta (Fluke Bogrush).

Valley bottom swamps in Blue Mountains and Newnes Plateau

Swamps in valley bottoms below about 1000 m above sea level generally support closed sedgeland dominated by Empodisma minus (Spreading Rope Rush), Gymnoschoenus sphaerocephalus (Button Grass) and Lepidosperma limicola (Razor Sedge), and the graminoid Xyris ustulata (Yellow-eye). Occasional shrubs of Acacia ptychoclada, Baeckea linifolia (Swamp Baeckea), Leptospermum lanigerum (Woolly Tea-tree) and Pultenaea divaricata may also be present.

Gymnoschoenus sphaerocephalus (Button Grass), Empodisma minus (Spreading Rope Rush) and Baeckea linifolia (Swamp Baeckea) are commonly associated with perennial swamps (i.e. those with a constant water supply). Ephemeral swamps (i.e. those with an irregular water supply) are characterized by the sedges Lepryodia scariosa (Scale Rush) and Schoenus villosus, the grass Tetrarrhena juncea (Wiry Ricegrass), the subshrubs/forbs Dampiera stricta (Blue Dampiera) and Goodenia bellidifolia and shrubs Leptospermum spp.

Southern Highlands swamps

Peat swamps in the Southern Highlands area support vegetation that usually comprises a mosaic of intergrading structures, including Sphagnum cristatum (Peat) mossland, open sedgeland to closed sedgeland, grassland to closed grassland/tussock grassland, heath, shrubland and tall shrubland (Australian Government 1990; Murray and Winning 1993; Stricker and Wall 1994; Winning and Brown 1994; Environment Australia 2001). Woodland to open woodland may be present on swamp margins, and patches of shrubs may be scattered within sedgelands. The spatial distribution of the communities within swamps and their species composition is generally related to hydrological and sedimentalogical processes but is also influenced by fire (Stricker and Wall 1994; Sainty and Associates 2003).

Sedgelands are generally dominated by one or more species of Baloskion australe (formerly known as Restio australis), Baumea (e.g. B. rubiginosa (Soft Twigrush); Stricker and Stroinovsky 1995), Carex (including Carex gaudichaudiana, Tussock Sedge), Eleocharis spp (spikerushes), Juncus spp (rushes) and Lepyrodia anarthria (Australian Government 1990; Winning and Brown 1994; Stricker and Wall 1994; Stricker and Stroinovsky 1995). Grasses and graminoids dominant in grasslands or co-dominant in sedgelands include Phragmites australis (Common Reed), Poa sp., Triglochin procerum and Typha orientalis (Broadleaf Cumbungi). A range of forbs may also be common in the ground stratum, including Galium sp., Leptorhynchos squamatus, Lythrum salicaria (Purple Loosestrife), Persicaria spp, Hydrocotyle peduncularis and Drosera binata (Forked Sundew) (Stricker and Wall 1994).

Shrublands may be dominated just by Leptospermum (e.g. L. obovatum) (Australian Government 1990; Winning and Brown 1994) or contain a mixture of species including Callistemon sieberi (River Bottlebrush), Epacris paludosa (Swamp Heath), Hakea teretifolia (Dagger Hakea), Leptospermum grandifolium (Woolly Tea-tree), L. juniperinum, L. myrtifolium (Grey Tea-tree), L. lanigerum (Woolly Tea-tree), Persoonia linearis (Narrow-leaf Geebung), Platysace linarifolia (Narrow-leaf Platysace) and Dillwynia ramosissima (Eggs and Bacon) (Kodela and Hope 1992; Stricker and Wall 1994).

In swamps with a mixed shrub layer, the ground layer is usually dominated by sedges such as Chorizandra sphaerocephala (Round-headed Bristle-sedge), Gymnoschoenus sphaerocephalus (Button Grass), Lepidosperma sp. (Sword-sedge), Ptilothrix deusta (Fluke Bogrush) and Eurochorda complanata (Flat Cord-rush; previously called Restio complanatus). Dominant forbs/subshrubs include Centella asiatica (Swamp Pennywort), Centrolepis strigosa, Hibbertia acicularis (Prickly Guinea-flower), Pimelea linifolia (Slender Rice Flower) and Xyris operculata (Yellow-eye) (Hope and Southern 1983; Stricker and Wall 1994).

Gleichenia dicarpa (Coral Fern) may be common in wetter areas with dense Leptospermum thickets and the shrubs Melaleuca squarrosa (scented Paper-bark) and Banksia spp also present (Stricker and Wall 1994).

Jackson's Bog

The swamp vegetation includes small areas of Sphagnum cristatum (Peat) mossland with Epacris paludosa (Swamp Heath) shrubs in drier parts of raised peat hummocks, sedgeland dominated by Carex gaudichaudiana (Tussock Sedge) and Scirpus polystachyus (Large-headed Club-rush), and open tussock grassland in areas with a lowered water table (Hope and Southern 1993).


Major studies

Some Temperate Highland Peat Swamps on Sandstone were included in a major review of Sphagnum moss (peat) communities in NSW and the ACT that included an analysis of their floristic composition and environmental relationships (Whinam and Chilcott 2002). Three of the peat communities described by Whinam and Chilcott (2002) include swamps that are part of the listed Temperate Highland Peat Swamps on Sandstone ecological community, viz:

  • Floristic Group 1: Seepage Sphagnum moss beds - Blue Mountains Sandstone
  • Floristic Group 8: Degraded Sphagnum moss beds - Southern Highlands (includes Wingecarribee Swamp, Stingray Swamp and Hanging Rock Swamp)
  • Floristic Group 4: Shrubby herbaceous Sphagnum peatlands (in part: includes Jackson's Swamp/Bog as well as a large number of other swamps that are not associated with sandstone and thus are not part of the listed ecological community).

Blue Mountains and Newnes Plateau swamps

Occurrences of Temperate Highland Peat Swamps on Sandstone in the Blue Mountains and Newnes Plateau region have been described and mapped in a range of studies. Map units that appear to equate (wholly or in part) with the listed Temperate Highland Peat Swamps on Sandstone ecological community are shown below. The studies are listed in chronological order.

  • Keith and Benson (1988) Katoomba 1:100 000 map sheet: Map Unit 20a (Newnes Plateau Shrub Swamps: Leptospermum lanigerum-Baeckia linifolia-Grevillea acanthifolia-Xyris ustulata closed heath); Map Unit 26a (Blue Mountains Sedge Swamps: Gymnoschoenus sphaerocephalus-Lepidosperma limicola-Xyris ustulata-Baeckia linifolia closed sedgeland)
  • Benson and Keith (1990) Wallerawang 1:100 000 map sheet: Map unit 20a (Newnes Plateau Shrub-Swamps, comprised of Leptospermum grandifolium-Baeckia linifolia-Grevillea acanthifolia closed-heath, and Gymnoschoenus sphaerocephalus-Xyris ustulata sedgeland)
  • Benson (1992) Penrith 1:100 000 map sheet: Map Unit 26a (Blue Mountains Sedge Swamps: Gymnoschoenus sphaerocephalus-Lepidosperma limicola-Xyris ustulata-Baeckia linifolia closed sedgeland)
  • Smith and Smith (1998) Blue Mountains: Community 13 (Blue Mountains Swamps) (see New South Wales Scientific Committee 2007)
  • Douglas (2001) Blue Mountains City Council area: Map unit S (Hanging Swamp) (see New South Wales Scientific Committee 2007)
  • New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service (2003) cited in New South Wales Scientific Committee (2007): Map unit 27a (Upland Swamps Tea Tree Thicket); Map unit 27b (Upland Swamps Cyperoid Heath)
  • Tindall et al. (2004) and Tozer et al. (2006): Map unit FRW130 (Blue Mountains - Shoalhaven Hanging Swamps) (see New South Wales Scientific Committee 2007)
  • Department of Environment and Conservation NSW (2006) Vegetation of the Western Blue Mountains: Map unit MU50 (Newnes Plateau Shrub Swamp); Map unit MU51 (Newnes Plateau Hanging Swamp); Map unit MU52 (Newnes Plateau Rush - Sedge Snow Gum Hollow Wooded Heath).

Southern Highlands swamps

Various unpublished botanical lists of Butlers Swamp, Wildes Meadow Swamp and Long Swamp are listed in Murray and Winning (1993) and Winning and Brown (1994).

At Wingecarribee Swamp, studies have been carried out on the vegetation types and vegetation dynamics (Sainty and Associates 2003; Parsons Brinkerhoff 2005), fauna associated with the swamp (Sydney Catchment Authority 2005) and on the geophysical environment (i.e. local lithology and water bearing zones) and hydrology to help understand the groundwater flow systems there (Coffey Geosciences Pty Ltd 2004; Sydney Catchment Authority 2005).

The general hydrological and associated processes of peat swamps in southern NSW are discussed by Hope (2003).

For the legal definition of the ecological community please refer to the listing advice and other documents under Legal Status and Documents.

Vegetation

Unless shown otherwise, the following vegetation summary of Temperate Highland Peat Swamps on Sandstone is derived from vegetation descriptions and species lists provided in Keith and Benson (1988), Australian Government (1990), Benson and Keith (1990), Kodela and Hope (1992), Stricker and Wall (1994), Stricker and Stroinovsky (1995), Benson and McDougall (1997), Environment Australia (2001), Whinam and Chilcott (2002), Sainty and Associates (2003), Department of Environment and Conservation NSW (2006) and Carey (2007).

Both the structure and species composition of swamp vegetation vary from site to site, and the individual species and structural types shown below do not all occur at every site. Within a single swamp area a complex mosaic of vegetation types (structure and species composition) may be present.

The structure of Temperate Highland Peat Swamps on Sandstone vegetation includes sedgeland, closed sedgeland, open-rushland, open-heath, closed-heath, tussock grassland, closed-tussock grassland, tall closed-grassland, open-scrub and tall shrubland. The vegetation is usually less than 3 m in height, although taller shrubs may be present. Emergent trees may occur on swamp margins, and the vegetation here tends to open woodland.

Dominant sedge species include the spikerushes Eleocharis spp. (mainly E. acuta (Common Spikerush), E. gracilis (Spikerush) and E. sphacelata (Tall Spikerush)), Empodisma minus (Spreading Rope Rush), Gahnia sieberiana (Red-fruit Saw-sedge), Gymnoschoenus sphaerocephalus (Button Grass), the rushes Juncus spp (including J. alexandri, J. continuus, J. gregiflorus, J. laeviusculus subsp. illawarrensis, J. planifolius and J. prismatocarpus), Lepidosperma spp (including L. filiforme, L. limicola (Razor Sedge) and L. tortuosum), Lepyrodia spp (including L. anarthria, L. gracilis and L. scariosa (Scale Rush)), Ptilothrix deusta (Fluke Bogrush) and the cord-rushes Baloskion australe and B. longipes (previously called Restio australis and R. longipes respectively) and Eurochorda complanata (previously called Restio complanatus).

Graminoids frequently present include species from the genera Centrolepis, Lomandra, Patersonia, Sowebaea, Stylidium and Xyris as well as ground orchids such as Spiranthes sinensis (Ladies' Tresses). Forbs commonly present include Centella asiatica (Swamp Pennywort), Drosera spp (sundews), Epilobium spp (willow herbs), Geranium neglectum (Crane's Bill), Gonocarpus spp (raspworts), Hydrocotyle spp, Mitrasacme spp, Ranunculus spp (buttercups), Utricularia spp (bladderworts), and Viola spp (native violets).

Grasses may be present, and include Deyeuxia spp (D. gunniana, D. quadriseta), Isachne globosa (Swamp Millet), Lachnogrostis filiformis (previously called Agrostis avenacea), Poa spp (P. labillardierei var. labillardierei, P. sieberiana) and Tetrarrhena turfosa. Ferns are often present, including species such as water ferns Blechnum spp, coral ferns Gleichenia spp (G. dicarpa and G. microphylla), umbrella ferns Sticherus spp and Todea barbara (King Fern).

Live peat moss, usually Sphagnum cristatum but occasionally S. novo-zelandicum (Whinam and Chilcott 2002), may be present in the ground layer.

Shrubs species present are most commonly from the genera Baeckea, Banksia, Callistemon (especially C. sieberi, River Bottlebrush), Epacris (including E. breviflora, E. microphylla (Coral Heath) and E. paludosa (Swamp Heath)), Grevillea, Hakea (especially Hakea teretifolia (Dagger Heath)), Leptospermum (especially L. grandifolium (Woolly Tea-tree), L. juniperinum (Prickly Tea-tree), L. lanigerum (Woolly Tea-tree), L. myrtifolium (Grey Tea-tree) and L. obovatum) and Pultenaea (usually P. divaricata). Eucalyptus spp. low trees may be present in some areas, especially on swamp margins.

A summary of regional variation in the vegetation is described under Description.

Fauna

A wide range of native faunal species are associated with Temperate Highland Peat Swamps on Sandstone. For example, the list of species at Long Swamp is reported to include 19 marsupials (including wallabies, kangaroos, wombats and possums), two monotremes, 13 reptiles, at least 90 bird species (including ducks and wading birds) and eels (information cited in Winning and Brown 1994). Species known or thought to be associated with Wingecarribee Swamp include ten reptiles, 14 frogs, 15 mammals and 39 birds (Stricker and Stroinovsky 1995).

Species reported from two or more of the swamps in the listed ecological community include Eastern Spinebill (Acanthorhynchus tenuirostris), Brown Antechinus (Antechinus stuartii), Dusky Antechinus (Antechinus swainsonii), Common Dunnart (Sminthopsis murina), Swamp Rat (Rattus lutreolus), Blue Mountains Copperhead (Austrelaps ramsayi), Eastern Banjo Frog (Limnodynastes dumerilii), Brown-striped Frog (Limnodynastes peronii), Spotted Grass Frog (Limnodynastes tasmaniensis), Leaf Green Tree Frog (Litoria phyllochroa north of Sydney and Litoria nudidigita south of Sydney), Litoria verreauxii, and Brown Toadlet (Pseudophryne bibronii) (from information cited in Environment Australia 2001 for Jackson's Bog and Blue Mountains swamps; Stricker and Wall (1994) for Blue Mountains swamps; Stricker and Stroinovsky (1995) for Wingecarribee Swamp and Wildes Meadow Swamp).

For the legal definition of the ecological community please refer to the listing advice and other documents under Legal Status and Documents.

Swamps in the Blue Mountains below 1000 m above sea level may grade abruptly into open forest dominated by Eucalyptus sieberi and E. piperata (Blue Mountains Sandstone Plateau Forest) or, over a broad transition zone, into 'dry' open heath (Blue Mountains Heath) dominated by shrub species and lacking the sedge component typical of Temperate Highland Peat Swamps on Sandstone located in the Blue Mountains area (Keith and Benson 1988).

The nationally listed wetland ecological community 'Upland Wetlands of the New England Tablelands (New England Tableland Bioregion) and the Monaro Plateau (South Eastern Highlands Bioregion)' (Threatened Species Scientific Committee 2005a) differs from the listed 'Temperate Highland Peat Swamps on Sandstone' ecological community as follows:

  • it occurs on non-sandstone substrates (i.e. on substrates that are usually derived from basalt, and occasionally from granite or silcrete)
  • it contains no or very little peat
  • its vegetation is dominated by a different suite of species. In particular, sedges from the genera Empodisma, Gahnia, Gymnoschoenus, Lepidosperma and Lepyrodia, that are characteristic of the listed 'Temperate Highland Peat Swamps on Sandstone' ecological community, are not dominant in the listed 'Upland Wetlands of the New England Tablelands (New England Tableland Bioregion) and the Monaro Plateau (South Eastern Highlands Bioregion)' ecological community.

For the legal definition of the ecological community please refer to the listing advice and other documents under Legal Status and Documents.

Temperate Highland Peat Swamps on Sandstone occur west of Sydney, in the Blue Mountains and Newnes Plateau area, in the Southern Highlands in the general Moss Vale area, and south of Bombala. These geographic areas are called 'Blue Mountains and Newnes Plateau Swamps', 'Southern Highlands Swamps' and 'Jackson's Bog' respectively on the distribution map of the listed ecological community (see Department of Environment and Heritage (Commonwealth) 2004).

The swamps are restricted to the South Eastern Highlands and Sydney Basin IBRA regions. Except for Wildes Meadow Swamp, all swamps in the Blue Mountains, Newnes Plateau and Southern Tablelands areas are in the Hawkesbury Nepean Catchment Management Authority (CMA) area. Wildes Meadow Swamp and Jackson's Bog are located in the Southern Rivers CMA area.

The location of the main component swamps included in the listed ecological community (Campbell 2005) or likely to be part of the listed community are shown in the table below (based on Threatened Species Scientific Committee 2005b). The swamps are associated with the upper reaches of creeks and rivers shown in the table.


Name of Swamp/s and associated river system/sLocation and/or nearest town/sLatitude (S)Longitude (E)
Blue Mountains and Newnes Plateau swamps
Swamps in the Blue Mountains (mostly headwaters of tributaries to the Hawkesbury River, such as Grose River & Wentworth Creek, and headwaters of tributaries to Nepean River such as Bedford Creek; headwaters of tributaries to Cox's River1).

Includes major swamps such as Queens Swampc

Blue Mountains National Park; Katoomba, Blackheath, Mount Victoria

 
Near Lawson

Based around 33º 40'

 
33º 42'

Based around 150º 30'

 
150º 27'

 
Swamps on the Newnes Plateau (mostly headwaters of tributaries to Colo River such as Wolgan River, Wollangambie River, Bungleboori Creek, Nine Mile Creek, Nayook Creek; headwaters of tributaries to Cox's River 1).

 
Includes major swamps such as Gooches Swampa

Newnes State Forest area; Lithgow, Wallerawang33º 20' to 33º 23'

 
33º 27'

150º 12' to 150º 16'

 
150º 16'

 
Southern Highlands swamps
Butlers Swamp (upper reaches Nepean River2)North of Robertson34º 31' 30"150º 35' 20"
Gallahers Swampc (upper reaches of Avon River)North of Robertson34º 29.42' 150º 43.38'
Jumping Rock Swampb (Paddys River, a tributary of the Wollondilly River3)Penrose State Forest area34º 38' 150º 14'
North Pole Swampc,d (upper reaches of Dudewaugh Creek, a tributary of Burke River, and Avon River2)North-east of Robertson34º 30'150º 39'
Paddys River Swamps, including Hanging Rock Swamp, Mundego Swamp, Long Swamp and Stingray Swamp (upper reaches of Paddys River, a tributary of the Wollondilly River)Penrose State Forest and adjacent area; Wingello and east-north-east of Tallong34º 36' to 34º 41'150º 07' to 150º 15'
Rock Arch Swampc (upper reaches of ?Avon River)North-east of Robertson34º 30.65' 150º 39.22'
Stockyard Swampc,d (upper reaches of Dudewaugh Creek, a tributary of Burke River2) North-east of Robertson34º 31'150º 39'
Wildes Meadow Swamp (upper reaches of Wildes Meadow Creek, a tributary of the Shoalhaven River3)Fitzroy Falls area34º 37' 30"150º 30' 30"
Wingecarribee Swamp (upper reaches of Wingecarribee River, a tributary of the Wollondilly River4)West-north-west of Robertson34º 34'150º 30
Jackson's Bog
Jackson's Bog, also called Mila Swamp (Jackson's Bog Creek, a tributary of the Snowy River5)Bondi State Forest area, south-west of Bombala37º 07'149º 09'

Notes:
a) Black and Mooney (2006)
b) Winning and Brown (1994)
c) Hope (2008)
d) Wilson (2007a)

1. Benson et al. (1996); Environment Resources Information Network unpublished data (2008)
2. From 1:100 000 Kiama topographic map sheet
3. From 1:100 000 Moss Vale topographic map sheet
4. Kodela and Hope (1992); Stricker and Stroinovsky (1995)
5. From 1:100 000 Craigie topographic map sheet

The total extent (area of occupancy) of the listed Temperate Highland Peat Swamps on Sandstone ecological community in 2005 was considered to be 3000 ha (Threatened Species Scientific Committee 2005b). Details are not available on the listed ecological community's pre-European extent, although changes in the size of some individual component swamps are known. For example, the peat deposit of Wingecarribee Swamp originally covered 691 ha (Stricker and Stroinovsky 1995) but is now about 310 ha (Threatened Species Scientific Committee 2005b; see also Threats and Functionality). Wildes Meadow Swamp originally covered about 330 ha but is now only about 33 ha in extent (Threatened Species Scientific Committee 2005b; see also Threats).


Although details are not available on the listed ecological community's pre-European area of occupancy, it is likely to be well less than 10 000 ha. This is because the ecological community is naturally fragmented (see Functionality) as it is limited to specific localized habitats with particular hydrological characteristics (see Description), component swamps are generally small in area, and the majority of component swamps are located in national parks (see Conservation Advice). From this, it can be deduced that the current overall area of occupancy shown on the distribution map (see Department of Environment and Heritage 2004) is likely to represent an order of magnitude comparable to its pre-European area of occupancy, i.e. well less than 10 000 ha. The ecological community can thus be considered naturally restricted.


The average size of Newnes Plateau swamps has been reported to be less than 6 ha, with the largest covering about 40 ha (New South Wales Scientific Committee 2005a). Swamps in the Blue Mountains are typically 1–2 ha in size, but vary from < 0.1 ha to about 70 ha, with only 160 swamps larger than 5 ha (New South Wales Scientific Committee 2007). Jackson's Bog and peat swamps on sandstone in the Southern Tablelands generally appear to be larger than those in the Blue Mountains - Newnes Plateau area, with the 310 ha Wingecarribee Swamp (see distribution map; Department of Environment and Heritage (Commonwealth) 2004) appearing to be the largest.

For the legal definition of the ecological community please refer to the listing advice and other documents under Legal Status and Documents.

Temperate Highland Peat Swamps on Sandstone has a naturally fragmented distribution pattern (see Department of Environment and Heritage (Commonwealth) (2004) distribution map) because the swamps are restricted to specific topographic locations associated with the headwaters/upper reaches of streams with a regular supply of water that ensures they are permanently or periodically water logged (see Description).


Sphagnum has declined as a result of the impacts of fire, dry summers and trampling by grazing animals (Whinam et al. 2003).


The integrity of swamps in the Southern Tablelands and at Jackson's Bog has been significantly affected by activities with a direct impact on the peat, such as past peat mining (e.g. Wingecarribee Swamp; Long Swamp), construction of water storage impoundments resulting in parts of the swamps being flooded (e.g. Wingecarribee Swamp; Wildes Meadow Swamp) and drainage for agricultural purposes (e.g. Jackson's Bog) (see Threats). Because of their reliance on partial or permanent waterlogging, peat swamps on sandstone are particularly vulnerable to changes in swamp hydrology. In addition to the direct loss of peat through flooding or peat mining, some of the above swamps have experienced additional, secondary loss of peat (described below) which has also adversely affected their integrity.

At Jackson's Bog, up to 20 ha of peat and peaty clays have been eroded away by a stream, the stream incision possibly being caused by fire and stock damage to water courses (Hope 2003).

Wingecarribee Swamp lost about 1.6 million cubic metres of peat on 9 August 1998 after the swamp collapsed upstream of a peat mining pond following heavy rainfall (Hope 2003). Subsequent to this peat loss, dewatering of the remaining peat reduced the size of peat blocks from 6 m to about 2 m (Hope 2003).

Four years after its collapse, Wingecarribee Swamp comprised the following landforms (Sainty and Associates 2003; Sydney Catchment Authority 2007a):

  • a delta area where the peat swamp originally collapsed, but had partially stabilised
  • a channel/stream running the length of the swamp, formed as a result of the collapse, which had affected the hydrology of the whole swamp (channel comprising 9% of swamp area or about 28 ha)
  • a drying unit/areas that had undergone drying and oxidation but fissures in the peat were absent (18% of swamp area or about 56 ha)
  • a fissured unit/areas that were severely disturbed and fragmented due to the swamp collapse and characterised by fissures, slopes, beds, pools and plateaus (53% of swamp area or about 164 ha)
  • an intact unit/areas in which there has been little change in the hydrology and vegetation (20% of swamp area, or about 62 ha in two separate areas).

Significant Salix cinerea (Grey Willow, Pussy Willow) invasion had occurred in delta and channel/stream areas of Wingecarribee Swamp and moderate invasion in its drying unit and fissured unit areas (which also contained blackberries) (Sainty and Associates 2003). The intact areas of the swamp incurred relatively low levels of weed invasion, from pasture grasses, willows and blackberries.

Monitoring sites in the intact unit of Wingecarribee Swamp appeared to be maintaining their original vegetation integrity, and still contained threatened plant species including Prasophyllum uroglossum, Lysimachia vulgaris var. davurica and Gentiana wingecarribiensis (Sainty and Associates 2003).

Sainty and Associates (2003) found some vegetation death in the intact unit sites at Wingecarribee Swamp, although it was unclear whether this had been caused by drought conditions at the time of sampling or the start of a longer-term decline associated with continuous drying conditions. The drying unit exhibited "environmental stress and a major decline in ... floristic health" (measured by a lower cover of living vegetation and a lower plant species diversity) compared with the intact vegetation. Sainty and Associates (2003) concluded the collapse and fragmentation of the peat beds had caused a loss of species, particularly wetland species in drying parts of the peatland. The sedge Baumea rubiginosa also appeared to be adversely affected by lowered water tables and drying peat conditions, with large areas of dead material in parts of the drying unit. Some patches of the shrub Leptopsermum juniperinum and other wetland shrubs had died back in some of the drying unit sites, although in other drying areas the shrubs were growing taller and denser. The latter was assumed to be because of the cessation of burning after the 1998 collapse of the swamp (Sainty and Associates 2003).

The changes reported in Wingecarribee Swamp by Sainty and Associates (2003) following the swamp's collapse highlight the complexity of the swamp vegetation and the variable impacts that hydrological changes can have on the integrity of the community.

Hanging Rock Swamp and Stingray Swamp in the Southern Highlands, and possibly Jackson's Bog, have probably been affected by sedimentation and changes to swamp hydrology arising from forestry operations in adjacent areas (Environment Australia 2001; Whinam and Chilcott 2002). Some swamps in parts of the Blue Mountains have been affected by hydrological changes arising from urban development (Environment Australia 2001).

Whinam and Chilcott (2002) considered that swamps such as Wingecarribee Swamp, Hanging Rock Swamp and Stingray Swamp on the Southern Highlands were "all suffering degradation and weed species were recorded in the moss beds at each of the sites". They noted that the most disturbed sites tended to have neutral ph (6.0) instead of acidic pH commonly associated with Sphagnum bogs. They also noted that in disturbed sites Sphagnum moss may be absent from most of the swamp and only present along drainage margins.

Changes in swamp hydrology have flow-on impacts on the structure and composition of the vegetation, including weed invasion. Further details of these disturbances and their impacts are provided under Threats.

For the legal definition of the ecological community please refer to the listing advice and other documents under Legal Status and Documents.

At Wingecarribee Swamp, Sainty and Associates (2003) quantified the quality of relatively intact and disturbed areas of the peat swamp. The most intact areas were characterized by low levels of weed invasion, and a lack of peat fissuring, drying and oxidation (see also Functionality).

For the legal definition of the ecological community please refer to the listing advice and other documents under Legal Status and Documents.

Of all the swamps that are part of the listed Temperate Highland Peat Swamps on Sandstone ecological community, only Wingecarribee Swamp appears to be subject to an ongoing, formal monitoring program. Management actions in the Wingecarribee Swamp and Special Area Plan of Management (Sydney Catchment Authority 2007a) include:

  • annual monitoring, through the use of permanent monitoring plots, of the distribution and abundance of plant communities, and spatial and temporal differences in species composition, for each of the landforms in the swamp
  • monitoring and assessment of the impacts of weed control measures on native vegetation communities and threatened species in the swamp.

Some swamps may be monitored informally by community groups carrying out restoration activities in the ecological community (see Conservation Advice).

For the legal definition of the ecological community please refer to the listing advice and other documents under Legal Status and Documents.

Past threats

Activities that have threatened peat swamps in the past include peat mining, flooding, and drainage and/or clearing associated with agriculture and forestry.

Flooding

Wildes Meadow Swamp and Wingecarribee Swamp have been partially submerged in water storage reservoirs. In the 1970s the Fitzroy Falls Reservoir partly inundated the southern section of Wildes Meadow Swamp (Winning and Brown 1994; Sydney Catchment Authority undated), while the western half of Wingecarribee Swamp was submerged by Wingecarribee Reservoir (Winning and Brown 1994; Whinam et al. 2003).

Peat mining

Small-scale peat mining, including the use of a wet-mining process, occurred in the eastern part of Wingecarribee Swamp until it was stopped in 1998 following partial collapse of the swamp upstream of the mining pond following heavy rain (Whinam et al. 2003). As a result of the collapse, about 70% of the swamp sank by 3–4 m and became fragmented by a network of deep fissures reaching to the basal clays, and resulting in large areas of exposed peat (Whinam et al. 2003). Parts of Long Swamp were also mined for peat and peaty sediments for about 10 years (Winning and Brown 1994; Stricker and Wall 1994). In addition to possible swamp collapse (see Functionality) and/or lowering of the swamp's water table, peat extraction can cause stream bank erosion and gullying upstream of the mined area as the streams adjust to the new water level (see Winning and Brown 1994).

Agriculture and forestry

Parts of the Wildes Meadow Swamp and Jackson's Bog were drained for agriculture, the former mainly for pasture land and the latter to allow cattle and sheep grazing in central and northern parts of the swamp (Stricker and Wall 1994; Winning and Brown 1994). Hope and colleagues (2006) note that Jackson's Bog has eroded in European times under the influence of grazing, fire and ditching/artificial drains.

Swamps such as Stingray Swamp, Hanging Rock Swamp and other swamps that are part of the Paddys River Swamps on the Southern Tabelands, and Jackson's Bog, are surrounded by or adjacent to pine plantations (Environment Australia 2001; Clarke and Spier-Ashcroft 2003). These swamps may have suffered adverse impacts from the plantations such as Pinus radiata encroachment, loss of natural vegetation fringing (and hence buffering) the swamps, sedimentation, changed hydrology and adverse impacts from roads, silvicultural burning practices and weed control activities, and weed invasion (Stricker and Wall 1994; Environment Australia 2001; Whinam and Chilcott 2002).

Other

In 2001, 500 tonnes of sand slurry entered Hanging Rock Swamp from the Penrose Sand Quarry (Department of Environment and Conservation 2003). The operators were required to clean up the site and undertake a year-long flora study to assess swamp recovery. The Department of Environment and Conservation NSW (2003) reported that the survey indicated the swamp recovered to a "good condition" and that no further remediation work by the quarry operators was considered necessary.

The southern section of Stingray Swamp has been affected by nutrient discharge from sewage treatment works on Paddy's River near Bundanoon (Stricker and Wall 1994).

Wingecarribee Swamp has been subject to periodic cattle grazing in the past (Kodela et al. 1994; Winning and Brown 1994), as well as annual burns (usually in late spring) or several fires in a single year (Kodela et al. 1994) and extensive ditching (Hope 2008).

Current and ongoing threats

Whinam and Chilcott (2002) considered the main general threats to alpine and sub-alpine peat communities in NSW, including at least some Temperate Highland Peat Swamps on Sandstone, were fire, grazing, peat mining, clearing, feral animals and forestry operations.

Drawing on experience with peat communities in the ACT, NSW and Tasmania, Whinam and Chilcott (2002) noted the following impacts:

  • An increase in either fire frequency or fire intensity is likely to favour fire-tolerant rhizomatous sedges at the expense of Sphagnum moss, associated herbs and fire sensitive shrubs. In dry conditions, including those that might arise from changed drainage patterns, fire can burn through peat moss hummocks into the underlying peat.
  • Fire, grazing and logging can lead to increased sedimentation, particularly for peatlands in valley bottoms and topographic depressions. Increased sedimentation can affect substrate organic content and make Sphagnum re-establishment less likely.
  • Preferential grazing of palatable herbs and grasses plus grazing of new shrub growth in peat vegetation can lead to increased dominance by unpalatable species.

The specific threats to Temperate Highland Peat Swamps on Sandstone vary between geographic regions, from swamp to swamp within regions, and with the proximity of swamps to urban, forestry or agricultural land.

The main threats to Temperate Highland Peat Swamps on Sandstone (Whinam and Chilcott 2002; Carey 2007; New South Wales Scientific Committee 2005a, 2007; Blue Mountains City Council undated) include:

  • changed hydrology, weed invasion, erosion and sedimentation (e.g. arising from roadworks, changed hydrology), fire and recreational activities (swamps in all regions)
  • clearing for, and impacts of, residential development and urban infrastructure (swamps in the Blue Mountains region)
  • impacts arising from agriculture (mainly swamps on the Southern Tabelands)
  • impacts arising from introduced animals (mainly Jackson's Bog and swamps on the Southern Tablelands)
  • impacts arising from forestry (Jackson's Bog and some swamps on the Southern Tabelands and on the Newnes Plateau)
  • impacts arising from quarrying and mining (mainly Newnes Plateau swamps).

Threats reported for specific swamps on the Southern Tablelands are listed in the table below.


SwampMain threatsSource
Hanging Rock Swamp
 
Weeds, especially Pinus radiata (Radiata Pine)Whinam and Chilcott (2002)
Stingray Swamp Weeds: Rubus fruticosus (Blackberry); Pinus radiata (Radiata Pine)Environment Australia (2001)
Wildes Meadow Swamp Agriculture/Weeds
Changed water flow
Healthy Rivers Commission (1999)
Wingecarribee Swamp Fire
Weed invasion, especially Salix cinerea (Grey Willow, Pussy Willow)
Sainty and Associates (2003); Whinam and Chilcott (2002);
Whinam and colleagues (2003); Clift (2007)


Changed fire regimes, weed invasion, cattle grazing and changed hydrological conditions may also adversely affect threatened plant species, such as Gentiana wingecarribiensis and Prasophyllum uroglossum, that are associated with some peat swamps in the Southern Tablelands (New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service 1999a, 1999b; Department of Environment and Conservation NSW 2005a).

Changed hydrology

Temperate Highland Peat Swamps on Sandstone are dependent on water and highly susceptible to changes in water flow, level of the water table and structural damage (Threatened Species Scientific Committee 2005b; see also Functionality). Such changes can affect the condition of the peat substrate, as well as the structure and floristic composition of the swamp vegetation.

Changed hydrology may be caused by a wide range of activities within or below the swamps themselves, or in their catchment areas. They include water extraction from aquifers or surface water, damming of swamp water courses, road construction, drainage works, increased hard surfaces in urban areas, clearing and mining (e.g. see Stricker and Wall 1994; New South Wales Scientific Committee 2004, 2005a, 2007).

Fire

Bushfires may sometimes consume the peaty substrate in localised areas of peat swamps in the Blue Mountains (Keith 1996) and destroy part or all of the underlying peat that supports the swamp vegetation (Stricker and Wall 1994). Keith (1996) noted that where the peat substrate is burnt, seed banks and subsoil rhizomes of living plants may also be destroyed. Regular burning may favour graminoid species able to resprout quickly after fire, especially at the expense of shrub species only able to regenerate through seed germination (Stricker and Wall 1994).

Exposure of burnt soils in swamps to heavy post-fire rainfall may result in significant erosion, and be exacerbated by physical disturbance of the soil from machinery and vehicles both during bushfires and during activities to manage bushfire hazard, such as construction of access tracks and fuel breaks, slashing, mowing and frequent hazard reduction burning (Keith 1996).

At Wingecarribee Swamp, fire is considered a major threat to the stranded, drying blocks of peat resulting from the swamp's collapse in 1998 (see Functionality) (Whinam et al. 2003).

Weed invasion

Woody and herbaceous weeds threaten peat swamps on sandstone, although not all swamps are threatened by all the species outlined below.

Woody weeds include species of Salix (willows), Pinus radiata (Radiata Pine), Rubus spp (Blackberry) and Ulex europaeus (Gorse).

Salix cinerea (Grey Willow, Pussy Willow) can be an extremely agressive invasive species in peat swamps. For example, after the collapse of a large section of Wingecarribee Swamp in 1998, the exposed peat beds were "invaded by over 100 000 Salix cinerea seedlings in 1998 and a further million in 1999", the seeds originating from a few hundred mature willow trees present in the swamp (Clift 2007). Four years after the collapse, the level of weed invasion was very high in the most disturbed parts of the peat beds (delta and channel/stream areas), moderate in less disturbed drying unit and fissured unit areas, and lowest in the relatively intact areas (Sainty and Associates 2003), see Functionality). Salix cinerea was more of a problem at Wingecarribee than S. fragilis (Crack Willow) and S. fragilis X babylonica (Sainty and Associates 2003).

Other shrubby weed species such as Rubus discolour (Blackberry) were present at Wingecarribee Swamp and, like Salix cinerea, able to establish in intact sedgeland vegetation as well as disturbed areas (Sainty and Associates 2003). Pinus radiata (Radiata Pine) may encroach swamps that are located in pine plantation areas, such as Jackson's Bog, Stingray Swamp, Hanging Rock Swamp and other Paddys River Swamps (e.g. Environment Australia 2001; Clarke and Spier-Ashcroft 2003) and some swamps on the Newnes Plateau (Stricker and Wall 1994; New South Wales Scientific Committee 2005a).

Problematic woody weed species in swamps in the Blue Mountains (New South Wales Scientific Committee 2007) include the shrubs Cytisus scoparia (Scotch Broom), Erica lusitanica (Spanish Heath), Ligustrum sinense (Small-leaved Privet), Rubus spp (Blackberry) and Salix spp (willows) and the twiner Lonicera japonica (Honeysuckle). Peat swamps in the Blue Mountains between Katoomba and Blackheath have also been infested by Ulex europaeus (Gorse) (National Gorse Taskforce 2006).

Herbaceous weeds may also be a problem in some swamps. For example, at Wingecarribee Swamp pasture weeds such as the grasses Holcus lanatus (Yorkshire Fog) and Anthoxanthum odoratum (Sweet Venal Grass), the daisies Cirsium vulgare (Spear Thistle), Conyza sumatrensis (Tall Fleabane), Hypochaeris radicata (Catsear) and Taraxacum officinale (Dandelion), the buttercup Ranunculus repens (Creeping Buttercup) and the pea Lotus uliginosus (Birds-foot Trefoil) were common in both intact and drying areas of the swamp (see Functionality) four years after its collapse, and were considered likely to continue to increase in abundance, especially in disturbed areas (Sainty and Associates 2003). Four years after the collapse, drying areas had more bare ground (often colonized by pasture weeds) than intact areas.

The herbs Ageratina adenophora (Crofton Weed), Anagalis arvensis (Scarlet Pimpernel) and Ranunculus repens (Creeping Buttercup) are reported to be a problem in peat swamps in the Blue Mountains (New South Wales Scientific Committee 2007).

Urbanisation

Many peat swamps on sandstone in the Blue Mountains are located in, near to or downstream of urban areas. Increased impervious surfaces (such as roads) from urban areas, the delivery of their stormwater and changes they cause to swamp hydrology reduce the recharge to aquifers that support groundwater dependent swamps and reduce their sub-surface flows (Carey 2007).

Increased overland flow of water from urban areas in the Blue Mountains can also result in nutrient enrichment and cause erosion, gullying and the formation of channels within swamps, and deliver sediments and weed seeds/propagules into them, thus facilitating weed invasion (Blue Mountains City Council undated; Carey 2007). Stricker and Wall (1994) also noted that impervious sandstone layers can carry effluent from septic absorption trenches to swamps before the wastes are purified, with the resulting nutrient enrichment in the swamps encouraging weed invasion.

Water extraction (bores, tapping natural springs and building dams), clearing for residential development and urban infrastructure, mowing and grazing also pose threats to peat swamps in the Blue Mountains (Blue Mountains City Council undated; New South Wales Scientific Committee 2007).

Impacts from continuing urbanization can adversely affect the hydrological integrity and ecological function of peat swamps both outside and within national parks in the Blue Mountains (Stricker and Wall 1994; New South Wales Scientific Committee 2007). The impacts of erosion are likely to be amplified where swamps occur on steep terrain (New South Wales Scientific Committee 2007).

Mining

On the Newnes Plateau, some peat swamps lie above extractable coal seams that are being mined or are proposed for mining (New South Wales Scientific Committee 2005a). The Scientific Committee notes that the longwall mining activities used to extract the coal can cause the land surface to subside and the bedrock to fracture, which can affect the hydrology of the swamps and/or their catchments and facilitate severe and rapid erosion.

'Alteration of habitat following subsidence due to longwall mining' has been listed as a key threatening process by the New South Wales Scientific Committee (2005b), in part because of the threat the activity poses to swamps in the Blue Mountains and Newnes Plateau area, which include swamps that are part of the listed Temperate Highland Peat Swamps on Sandstone ecological community. The Scientific Committee noted that the water balance in swamps in these areas may be significantly affected by the conversion of perched water table flows into subsurface flows through voids resulting from mining-induced subsistence. While the Scientific Committee acknowledged that the scale of the impact was not known at the time of listing, it concluded from scientific reports that the time-frame for vegetation changes may be long-term, and occur years to decades after subsidence becomes evident. The Scientific Committee also noted that fire regimes may be altered as peaty soils dry out after subsistence and become oxidised and potentially flammable.

Non government organizations (e.g. see Wilson 2007b) have expressed concern that longwall coal mining in the Woronora Plateau may adversely impact Stockyard Swamp and North Pole Swamp (part of the Southern Highlands swamps; see Distribution) through impacts on the underlying Kangaloon Aquifer leading to the possibility of subsidence and subsequent cracking of bedrock below the swamps, which would result in them drying out.

Non government organizations (e.g. Marshall 2006) have also expressed concern about the potential adverse impacts of sand/kaolin mining at Newnes Junction on Newnes Plateau swamps there which might be part of the listed Temperate Highland Peat Swamps on Sandstone ecological community.

Other

Swamps located in pine plantation areas (e.g. Jacksons Bog, some swamps in the Southern Tablelands and some swamps on the Newnes Plateau) may be adversely impacted by roads, silvicultural harvesting and burning practices and weed control activities (Stricker and Wall 1994; Environment Australia 2001; New South Wales Scientific Committee 2005a). The impacts may include changed hydrological conditions, erosion, sedimentation and weed invasion.

Outdoor recreational activities in the Blue Mountains, such as over-use of walking trails and unauthorised use of tracks and roads by off-road vehicles including trail bikes, result in the compaction of swamp soils, physical damage to vegetation and localised concentration of surface water flows that may result in erosion and sedimentation (New South Wales Scientific Committee 2007). Keith (1996) also noted that physical disturbance of soil by walkers or hooved animals may exacerbate erosion impacts on swamps arising from other causes.

Introduced animals including cattle, horses, rabbits, foxes, pigs, cats and dogs can cause physical disturbance in peat swamps, trample the peat and vegetation, and/or facilitate weed invasion by introducing weed seeds and disturbing the substrate (Threatened Species Scientific Committee 2005a).

Potential threats

Water extraction

The New South Wales Scientific Committee (2007) noted recent proposals to utilise swamps in the Blue Mountains for the production of bottled spring water. The Committee also noted that proposals to extract groundwater for domestic, industrial or rural use are likely to increase as demand exceeds supply from existing water storages in the area.

Non government organisations (e.g. see Hall 2007) have expressed concern that a proposal by the Sydney Catchment Authority to use a ground water bore to extract water from the Kangaloon Aquifer may adversely affect Butlers Swamp (part of the Southern Highlands swamps). The Australian Government Minister for Environment and Water Resources deemed the proposal a controlled action under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 because of the potential for significant impacts on the listed Temperate Highland Peat Swamps on Sandstone ecological community (Turnbull 2007). An independent assessment of a bore field trial at Butlers Swamp concluded the data were inconclusive about whether water extraction from the aquifer would have an adverse impact on the swamp because of the short time-frame over which the trial occurred (Evans 2007).

Peat mining

Peat mining has a significant adverse impact on peat swamps on sandstone, both through the removal of the peat substrate and through changes to the water relations (e.g. see Functionality). Although no peat mining was occurring in NSW in 2003 (Whinam et al. 2003), the activity could pose a threat to the listed ecological community if proposals arise in the future.

Climate change

Temperate Highland Peat Swamps on Sandstone may be predisposed to impacts associated with anthropogenic climate change resulting from reduced rainfall and an increased frequency of extreme weather that is likely to increase the chance of summer drought, peat fires and severe erosion events (see New South Wales Scientific Committee 2004, 2007).


Bushfires in alpine areas of south-eastern Australia in 2003 during drought conditions had a significant impact on Sphagnum vegetation, with many peat hummocks killed and the underlying peat burnt. Consequent impacts have included hummocks becoming crusted and hydrophobic, increased acidity, peat-beds drying out and collapsing, and erosion (Good 2004; Hope et al. 2005). Temperate Highland Peat Swamps on Sandstone might be similarly affected by extensive, hot bushfires during drought conditions.

For the legal definition of the ecological community please refer to the listing advice and other documents under Legal Status and Documents.

The Hawkesbury Nepean River Health Strategy area (Hawkesbury Nepean Catchment Management Authority 2007a) appears to cover all swamps in Temperate Highland Peat Swamps on Sandstone except Jackson's Bog and Wildes Meadow Swamp. Targets in the strategy relevant to these swamps include:

  • by 2016, develop and progressively implement action plans for wetlands of National Significance outside of National Parks
  • by 2016, increase the area of important wetlands protected or appropriately managed through arrangements that prevent damaging access and/or disturbance.

The Strategy also outlines, on a river-reach basis, management recommendations to achieve these targets (Hawkesbury Nepean Catchment Management Authority 2007b).

The Hawkesbury Nepean Catchment Management Authority (2007c, d) has commissioned a Plan of Management for the Paddys River Wetlands (covering Mundego, Hanging Rock, Stingray and Long swamps) aimed at covering relevant threatening processes and on-ground works to address them. The scheduled completion date for the document is February 2008.

The Sydney Catchment Authority has prepared a management plan that includes Wingecarribee Swamp (Sydney Catchment Authority 2007a). The plan includes the following management targets:

  • protect and enhance the ecological integrity and natural values of Wingecarribee Swamp and Special Area
  • identify impacts of pest and weeds on water quality, peat stability and ecological integrity, and establish plans to mitigate priority threats
  • continue to exclude fire from the Wingecarribee Swamp and Special Area
  • control access to the Wingecarribee Swamp and Special Area to protect water quality and ecological integrity.

Other peat swamps on sandstone are, or may be, located in Special Areas managed under the Sydney Catchment Authority's Special Areas Strategic Plan of Management 2007 (Sydney Catchment Authority 2007b). The swamps include Wildes Meadow Swamp (within the Fitzroy Falls Special Area); Butlers Swamp, Gallahers Swamp, North Pole Swamp, Rock Arch Swamp and Stockyard Swamp (within the Metropolitan Special Area); and swamps in the Blue Mountains area located in the Blackheath, Katoomba and Woodford Special Areas (deduced from Sydney Catchment Authority 2004). Management targets in the Special Areas Strategic Plan of Management 2007 (Sydney Catchment Authority 2007b) include:

  • maintain current high level of ecological integrity and have programs in place to address priority threats
  • control access to the Special Areas to protect water quality and ecological integrity
  • ensure fire management within Special Areas maximises protection of water quality and ecosystem integrity
  • implement measures to control impacts of priority pest and weed species on water quality and ecological integrity.

Swamps in the Blue Mountains, including swamps that are part of the listed Temperate Highlands Peat Swamps on Sandstone ecological community, are listed as a significant vegetation community in the Blue Mountains Environmental Plan 2005 (Blue Mountains City Council 2005).


The Threatened Species Scientific Committee (2005a) lists the following as the priority recovery and threat abatement actions required for the listed Temperate Highlands Peat Swamps on Sandstone ecological community:

  • develop conservation agreements or covenants with landholders who have the swamps on their properties
  • fence important remnants to control the impacts of certain introduced animals
  • identify seasonal and long-term fluctuations in the water flows and water quality regimes within the swamps
  • minimise impacts from changes to water flow and water quality
  • manage weeds within and immediately adjacent to existing remnants
  • rehabilitate degraded remnants with local species, which are known to occur in these specific environments.

The Hawkesbury Nepean Catchment Management Authority (2007b) recommends general management actions for river reaches in its area. For those reaches on which at least some Temperate Highlands Peat Swamps on Sandstone are present, proposed management actions include:

  • revegetation with indigenous riparian vegetation
  • management of stock impacts on waterways
  • encouraging the adoption of sustainable land management practices in riparian lands
  • aquatic habitat condition and connectivity improvement
  • water quality / flow management
  • riparian wetland management
  • water quantity / nutrient management
  • maintaining existing community-based environment activity
  • increasing community capacity for environmental restoration.

Blue Mountains swamps

So-called 'soft engineering' techniques have been used to restore natural hydrological processes to swamps in the Blue Mountains (Carey 2007). Movement of water through the swamps is slowed by creating dams, chains of ponds and packing channels (using coir logs, sterilised straw/hay bails and jute matting) to create enough pressure to force water laterally through the swamp substrates.

Other threat abatement and recovery actions implemented on swamps near urban areas (Carey 2007) include:

  • the development of a sediment and weed seed source control program for residents adjacent to swamp communities
  • treatment of weed plumes below stormwater outlets to remove swamp-invading species (such as Tutsan (Hypericum androsaemum), Himalayan Honeysuckle (Lonicera sp.), Broom (Cytisus sp.), Erica (Erica sp.) and Blackberry (Rubus spp.).

Newnes Plateau swamps

Some peat swamps on sandstone on the Newnes Plateau were considered to be at potential risk from subsidence arising from underground coal extraction, as part of the Angus Place Coal Project (Department of Planning NSW 2006). The Director General recommended that, prior to commencing mining operations that might affect the swamps, the proponent be required to develop a Newnes Plateau Shrub Swamp Management Plan that would detail a strategy for monitoring any impacts of mining on the swamps, and a plan to investigate, notify and mitigate any identified impacts (Department of Planning NSW 2006).

Wingecarribee Swamp

Management actions proposed in the management plan for Wingecarribee Swamp (Sydney Catchment Authority 2007a) include:

  • collating baseline information on ecological condition and regular monitoring of vegetation condition
  • research and modelling to better understand the ground water dynamics of the swamp
  • development of options and strategies to rehabilitate the swamp
  • strategic weed management for current species such as Grey Willow (Salix cinerea) and Blackberry ( Rubus spp.) as well as emerging weeds such as Reed Sweet Grass ( Glyceria maxima).

Over the three years ending 2002/03, Sydney Catchment Authority (2005) contracted services to control Grey Willow and Blackberry over 84 ha of Wingecarribee Swamp. Sainty and Associates (2003) noted that these weed control programs had significantly reduced the living biomass of Grey Willow and Blackberry. Programs had focussed on cutting and painting mature willows with herbicide to limit seed production and spraying Blackberry with herbicide. Numerous patches of willow saplings and seedlings remained in 2003. Sainty and Associates (2003) also noted willows outside the swamp remained a source of propagules.

Ongoing activities aimed at controlling Salix infestations in Wingecarribee Swamp include aerial mapping of Grey Willow in the Wingecarribee catchment, revising the Wingecarribee Swamp Pest and Weed Management Plan, and developing a detailed business plan designed to achieve sustainable management of Grey Willow across the entire swamp (Sydney Catchment Authority 2005).

The Wingecarribee Bush Fire Management Committee (2001) note that fire should be excluded from Wingecarribee Swamp and other upland swamps (e.g. Long Swamp) in the Wingecarribee fire district.

Other

Hope (2003) noted that it should be possible to regenerate disturbed (including drained) upland peatlands in southern NSW, which included some of the listed Temperate Highlands Peat Swamps on Sandstone ecological community, because the peat communities are adapted to change and colonisation. However, Hope noted that the causes of disturbance must be removed, by fencing the swamp perimeter if necessary. Hope also indicated that for drained swamps, the main aim must be to return the water table and flow regime to their pre-drainage conditions, and discussed various ways of doing this.

Methods used to assist the recovery of alpine peat swamps after the 2003 bushfires in south-eastern Australia (Good 2004; Hope et al. 2005) may also be relevant to Temperate Highlands Peat Swamps on Sandstone that have been severely burnt.

Keith and colleagues (2006) monitored change in swamps in Sydney's water catchment (O'Hares Creek) and made recommendations on future upland swamp management.


Populations in reserve

Approximately 43% of the listed Temperate Highlands Peat Swamps on Sandstone ecological community is located in Blue Mountains National Park (Threatened Species Scientific Committee 2005a). Some peat swamps on sandstone on the Newnes Plateau are also located in Wollemi National Park (Stricker and Wall 1994; New South Wales Scientific Committee 2005a).

Stingray Swamp, one of the Southern Tablelands swamps (see Distribution), is located within Stingray Swamp Flora Reserve (Stricker and Wall 1994).


Community groups

The Blue Mountains City Council has established a Swampcare program as part of its Bushcare program (Blue Mountains City Council undated). Swampcare includes educational workshops to increase community awareness and understanding of Blue Mountains Swamps and the threatened species that rely on them; workshops to provide community volunteers with the specialized skills needed to work in fragile swamp environments and to rehabilitate degraded swamps; and on-ground work days designed to channel community energy into on-ground rehabilitation of Blue Mountains Swamp systems. Carey (2007) describes some achievements of the program.

The Blue Mountains City Council and NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service have used volunteers to help control Gorse (Ulex europaeus) infestations that affect peat swamps on sandstone in the Blue Mountains through an annual "Great Gorse Walk" (National Gorse Taskforce 2006).

The Mila Landcare Group carried of restoration activities in Jackson's Bog in 1998–99 and 2002 under the Natural Heritage Trust (Snowy River Landcare undated).

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This database is designed to provide statutory, biological and ecological information on species and ecological communities, migratory species, marine species, and species and species products subject to international trade and commercial use protected under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (the EPBC Act). It has been compiled from a range of sources including listing advice, recovery plans, published literature and individual experts. While reasonable efforts have been made to ensure the accuracy of the information, no guarantee is given, nor responsibility taken, by the Commonwealth for its accuracy, currency or completeness. The Commonwealth does not accept any responsibility for any loss or damage that may be occasioned directly or indirectly through the use of, or reliance on, the information contained in this database. The information contained in this database does not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth. This database is not intended to be a complete source of information on the matters it deals with. Individuals and organisations should consider all the available information, including that available from other sources, in deciding whether there is a need to make a referral or apply for a permit or exemption under the EPBC Act.

Citation: Department of the Environment (2014). Temperate Highland Peat Swamps on Sandstone in Community and Species Profile and Threats Database, Department of the Environment, Canberra. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/sprat. Accessed 2014-08-02T18:45:18EST.