Australian Wetlands Database

Ramsar wetlands

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Lake Gore


Key facts and figures:

Date of listing:

05 January 2001

Lake Gore is a near-permanent saline lake, sometimes drying completely in autumn, Photo: Gareth Watkins DEC

Australian Ramsar site number:



4, 5, 6


Western Australia



Drainage Division or IMCRA  region:

South-West Coast

Wetland type: 

  • R - Seasonal/intermittent saline/brackish/alkaline lakes and flats
  • Ss - Seasonal/intermittent saline/brackish/alkaline marshes/pools

Key features of the site:

The Lake Gore Ramsar site is located 34 kilometres west of the town of Esperance, in Western Australia's south-west. The Ramsar site comprises of the near-permanent saline Lake Gore, and part of a downstream system of inter-connected lakes and swamps of various sizes which are intermittently inundated.

The Ramsar site contains open-woodland of Saltwater Paperbark, sedge understory, and low shrublands of samphire and grasses. Surrounding areas are either cleared or support open-scrub or open-heathland.

Lake Gore is the single most important wetland for the Hooded Plover, and almost one third of the world population of Hooded Plover occurs regularly at the Ramsar site. The site is also important for moulting by thousands of Australian Shelduck, and extensive use by Australian Shelducks and Banded Stilts indicates that Lake Gore is one of the most important drought refuges for waterbirds in the bioregion. Forty-eight waterbird species have been recorded at Lake Gore, and the Ramsar site supports threatened species such as the Fairy Tern and Freckled Duck.

Lake Gore and the Dalyup and West Dalyup Rivers have been used historically by the traditional owners in the Esperance region and they are still regarded as significant areas for food gathering and fishing. Current land use is primarily nature conservation, with some low-level passive recreational use.

Justification of the listing criteria:

The Lake Gore Ramsar site meets three of the nine criteria:

Criterion 4: Lake Gore regularly supports moulting by thousands of Australian Shelducks, making it one of the most important moulting sites for the species in south-western Australia. The lake is also used as a drought refuge by large numbers of waterbirds.

Criterion 5: More than 29,000 waterbirds have been recorded at Lake Gore, while annual data on water depth suggest conditions are suitable for use by 20,000 waterbirds at least several times within a 25 year period. This is considered sufficient evidence of regular use by 20,000 waterbirds in the context of wetland availability in Western Australia.

Criterion 6: Lake Gore supports up to 1600 Hooded Plovers, which constitutes almost one third of the global population, making it the single most important wetland for this species. Almost 10% of the global population of the Banded Stilt have also been recorded at the site.

Please see the More Information page for additional information on this Ramsar site and access to the Ramsar Information sheets and other associated site documents.