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Directory of Important Wetlands

Directory of Important Wetlands in Australia - Information sheet

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Koondrook and Perricoota Forests - NSW046

Level of importance: National - Directory
Location: Murray Riverine Plains at 35 degrees 32' S to 35 degrees 58' S, 144 degrees 08' E to 144 degrees 30' E. Located along the Murray River from approximately 40 km downstream of Moama to Barham.
Biogeographic region: Riverina.
Shire:
Area: 31 150 ha.
Elevation: 80 m ASL.
Other listed wetlands in same aggregation: Not given
Wetland type: B1, B2, B14, B10, B4
Criteria for inclusion: 1, 2,
Site description:
Physical features:
The climate of the area is marginally semi-arid with an annual average rainfall between 356 and 410mm. The average daily temperature ranges from 3 degrees C in the winter months to 32 degrees C in the summer months (Forestry Commission of NSW, 1985). Soils of the area vary from coarse to very fine alluvia. Soils are often silty and hard when dry in areas that receive regular flooding.
Hydrological features:
This wetland system occurs on the floodplain of the central Murray River. The area is well watered by regular winter and spring flooding of the river due to precipitation and snow melt in the high country headwater catchment. The flow of water through the Koondrook Forest is dominated by the Burrumburry-Barber Creek system. This is sourced from the Murray at a large oxbow formation known as Swan Lake. Several deep, well-defined channels known as the Burrumburry Creeks form the first 15km of this system. These channels break down into a myriad of smaller, interlinked runners (Wyatt, 1992). The Murray is a regulated stream and has suffered some reduction in the frequency of this flooding, particularly of small flows in winter. The Koondrook forests, which are flooded mainly by effluents and some overbank flow, require the Goulburn River to be in at least a moderate flood before effluents start running. The extent of flooding is dependant on how quickly the flood waters drain away (Lyons, 1989).
Ecological features:
The higher areas of the floodplain are forested with River Red Gum (Eucalyptus camaldulensis), while the low-lying marshes are typically dominated by Giant Spike Rush, with a dense emergent growth of Water Milfoil, Spike Rush and Mud Grass (Forestry Commission of NSW 1985). Black Box (Eucalyptus largiflorens) and Grey Box (Eucalyptus woolisana) are concentrated in the Koondrook Forests. Reed beds also occur in the Koondrook forests and include species such as Cumbungi (Typha domingensis) with a ground cover of grasses and water plants. Fauna species which have been recorded within the area include the Red-bellied Black Snake (Pseudechis porphyriacus), Grey Teal (Anas gracilis), Pacific Black Duck (Anas superciliosa), Australian Wood Duck (Chenonetta jubata), the Little Pied Cormorant (Phalacrocorax melanoleucos), Australian Pelican (Pelecanus conspicillatus), White-necked Heron (Ardea pacifica), White-faced Heron (Egretta novaehollandiae), Straw-necked Ibis (Threskiornis spinicollis), Black Kite (Milvus migrans), Masked Lapwing (Vanellus miles), Peaceful Dove (Geopelia striata), Crested Pigeon (Ocyphaps lophotes), Sulphur-crested Cockatoo (Cacatua galerita), Galah (Cacatua roseicapilla), Yellow Rosella (Platycercus elegans race flaveolus), Red-rumped Parrot (Psephotus haematonotus), Laughing Kookaburra (Dacelo novaeguineae), Sacred Kingfisher (Todiramphus sanctus), Dollarbird (Eurystomus orientalis), Brown Treecreeper (Climacteris picumnus), White-throated Treecreeper (Cormobates leucophaeus), Superb Fairy-Wren (Malurus cyaneus), Striated Pardalote (Pardalotus striatus), Weebill (Smicornis brevirostris), White-plumed Honeyeater (Lichenostomus penicillatus), and the Noisy Miner (Lichenostomus melanocephala) (NPWS, 1998b).
Significance:
Notable flora:
These forests remain a good example of the River Red Gum (Eucalyptus camaldulensis) floodplain forests of inland NSW. The Koondrook and Pericoota forests represent a substantial proportion of the River Red Gum forest in NSW, approximately 250 km2 (Forestry Commission 1985).
Notable fauna:
Species which have been listed as endangered at a state level (Se) include the Bush Stone-curlew (Burhinus grallarius) (NPWS, 1998b). Species which are listed as vulnerable at a state level (Sv) which have been recorded within Koondrook and Perricoota Forests include the Magpie Goose (Anseranas semipalmata) (NPWS, 1998b). Species which are listed on JAMBA and / or CAMBA which have been recorded within the area include the Great Egret (Ardea alba), and the Glossy Ibis (Plegadis falcinellus) (NPWS, 1998b). When flooded, forests also support large numbers of waterbirds.
Other Fauna:
Social and Cultural values:
Evidence of Aboriginal occupation of the area includes middens, burial sites and canoe trees. The earliest dating of Aboriginal occupation of the area (13,000 years) within close proximity of the Koondrook and Perricoota Forests is at Kow Swamp. Areas of importance include rivers and their margins, wetlands including swamps, billabongs, streams and anabranches (Forestry Commission of NSW, 1985). Aboriginal populations in the area appear to have been more or less sedentary due to the resource rich nature of their environment (Lyons, 1989). The forests have high educational value regarding traditional Aboriginal land use in the forests of the area. The discovery of the Murray River by Hume and Hovell in 1824 marks the commencement of European history of the area. By the mid 1800?s large grazing leases had been taken up in the area (Forestry Commission of NSW, 1985).
Land tenure:
On site: State Forest. Surrounding area: State Forest, freehold, Wildlife Refuge.
Current land use:
On site: Forestry, including sawlogs, firewood, beekeeping, grazing, charcoal production, irrigation, and recreation. Surrounding area: Grazing, cropping, forestry, nature conservation.
Disturbance or threat:
Past/present: Regulation of Murray River, irrigation, feral animals including European Carp (Cyprinus carpio), Foxes (Vulpes vulpes), Pigs (Sus srofa), Rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) and Hares (Lepus capensis).

Potential: No information
Conservation measures taken:
Preliminary Water Management Strategy prepared. Sustainable forestry program. Recreation overseen by rangers.
Management authority and jurisdiction:
State Forests of NSW.
References:
Forestry Commission of New South Wales (1985); Lyons, K. (1989); National Parks & Wildlife Service, (1998b); NSW Water Resources Commission (1984); Wyatt, S. (1992). See NSW Reference List
Compiler & date:
Geoffrey Winning & Michael Murray, Shortland Wetlands Centre, December 1992. Revised, P. Bacon, Woodlots & Wetlands, 1995. Revised, Tania Laity, National Parks & Wildlife Service, 1998.
Drainage:  
AWRC Division: Murray-Darling
AWRC Region:
AWRC Basin:
Catchment:
Sub-catchment: