Directory of Important Wetlands

Directory of Important Wetlands in Australia - Information sheet

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Banrock Swamp Wetland Complex - SA039

Level of importance: National - Directory
Location: 34 degrees 11' S, 140 degrees 20' E; River Murray region, located on the River Murray floodplain, opposite the township of Overland Corner, 26 km north west of Berri. This site includes Banrock Creek 34 10' S, 140 20' E; Banrock Swamp 34 12' S, 140 20' E; Banrock Inlets 34 12' S, 140 21' E; and Wigley Reach 34 11' S, 1 40 18' E.
Biogeographic region: Murray-Darling Depression.
Area: 1220 ha.
Elevation: 5-10 m ASL.
Other listed wetlands in same aggregation: None.
Wetland type: B1, B6, B5, B4
Criteria for inclusion: 1, 2, 3,
Site description:
A complex of connected permanent and ephemeral wetlands that lie on wide and narrow sections of the floodplain.
Physical features:
Landform: The wetlands exist as discrete depositional basins and active channels on an incised ancestral floodplain. Geology: A sequence of horizontally bedded Tertiary limestones and sandstones covered by a layer of recently deposited Pleistocene calcrete and alluvium. Climate: Average annual rainfall is 250 mm; average annual evaporation is 2400 mm. Soils: Deep, grey, self mulching, cracking clays occur in the low lying floodplain and river terrace sections, the higher plain areas are underlain by red calcareous earths (Laut et al. 1977; Pressey 1986; Wetlands Working Party 1989).
Hydrological features:
Water supply: Both ends of Banrock Creek are directly connected to the river; the Wigley Reach wetlands are fed by River Murray floodwaters; Banrock Swamp and the Banrock Inlets are supplied by River Murray floodwaters, which can be impounded for longer periods with water control structures. Inundation: Banrock Creek is the only permanent wetland; the other areas are intermittent/seasonal. Water depth: 20 cm-1.1 m. Water salinity: 900 EC, November 1994 (Thompson 1986, Harper 1992, Olsen 1995).
Ecological features:
Ecological role: The Banrock Swamp Complex is a refuge area for waterbirds and other aquatic fauna, and a roosting site for waterbirds. Plant structural formations: Ribbonweed and Water Primrose aquatic herblands, reedbeds, River Red Gum woodlands, River Box woodlands, lignum shrublands and sedgelands.
An area that is managed to enhance both agricultural and wildlife productivity; it is also an important roosting site for four species of cormorant.
Notable flora:
Threatened species: None identified. Composition: Aquatic vegetation in areas of open water includes Vallisneria spiralis, Paspalum distichum and Ludwigia peploides; shallow water and wetland fringes supports dense stands of Typha domingensis, Phragmites australis or Schoenoplectus pungens; open margins between waterbodies support Eucalyptus camaldulensis, Muehlenbeckia florulenta, Schoenoplectus validus and Acacia stenophylla; raised areas around depressions support Eucalyptus largiflorens and Halosarcia sp.; Eucalyptus camaldulensis seedlings are present in the complex (Lloyd & Balla 1986; Thompson 1986; Harper 1992).
Notable fauna:
Threatened species: Freckled Duck Stictonetta naevosa (Sv) and Little Egret Egretta garzetta (Sv). Composition: 29 waterbirds recorded; three listed under treaties. Waterbirds include the Australian Pelican Pelecanus conspicillatus, Little Black Cormorant Phalacrocorax sulcirostris, Pacific Black Duck Anas superciliosa, Purple Swamphen Porphyrio porphyrio and Yellow-billed Spoonbill Platalea flavipes. Resident waterbirds listed under treaties include the Great Egret Ardea alba and Caspian Tern Sterna caspia. Breeding: Colonies of Darter Anhinga melanogasterster (>10 nests) and Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo (>200 nests). Migration stop- over: The Red-necked Stint Calidris ruficollis has been recorded. Numbers: Records include 250 White-faced Heron Ardea novaehollandiae, 2000 Grey Teal Anas gracilis, 200 Australian Wood Duck Chenonetta jubata and 800 Black-tailed Native-hen Gallinula ventralis (Lloyd & Balla 1986; Harper 1992; Schramm pers. comm.).
Other Fauna:
Aquatic invertebrate fauna: Decapoda, Paratya australiensis, Macrobrachium sp.; Copepoda, Calanoidea sp.; Cladocera, Moina sp.; Gastropoda, Ferrissia sp.; Diptera, Chironomidae. Fishes: Three species including European Carp Cyprinus carpio, Mitchellian Hardyhead Craterocephalus stercusmuscarum and Eastern Gambusia Gambusia holbrooki. Reptiles: Include the Murray Tortoise Emydura macquarii and Eastern Snake- necked Tortoise Chelodina longicollis. Mammals: The Water Rat Hydromys chrysogaster has been recorded (Thompson 1986; Harper 1992).
Social and Cultural values:
Economic: The Banrock Swamp floodplain has a long history of grazing and is also used as a crop irrigation area. The current management plan aims to combine productive agricultural activity with the preservation of wetlands for wildlife. Research/Education: Students from Glossop High School have been analysing water samples and will help with transplantation of aquatic plants. Ducks Unlimited Australia is conducting research into physio-chemical features of the water, and its plant, zooplankton and animal communities
Land tenure:
Crown land with perpetual lease. Crown land (Game Reserve), miscellaneous lease Crown land.
Current land use:
Nature conservation, camping, yabbying, irrigation water supply and grape growing on the upland rises. Nature conservation, camping, stock grazing, fruit growing and irrigation water supply.
Disturbance or threat:
Past/present: Presence of the Eastern Gambusia and Carp; presence of rabbits and foxes; weed infestation; water is pumped from the swamp to vineyard on property above floodplain.

Potential: Recreational overuse.
Conservation measures taken:
Management plan for Banrock Swamp prepared in 1992; carp barriers to be installed.
Management authority and jurisdiction:
The area is managed by the lessee in cooperation with Ducks Unlimited Australia.
See SA Reference List
Compiler & date:
M.C. de Jong, S.A. Department of Environment and Natural Resources, 1995.
AWRC Division: Murray-Darling
AWRC Region:
AWRC Basin: