Directory of Important Wetlands

Directory of Important Wetlands in Australia - Information sheet

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Pike-Mundic Wetland Complex - SA047

Level of importance: National - Directory
Location: 34 degrees 14' S, 140 degrees 47' E; River Murray region, located on the eastern floodplain of the River Murray, south of Loch 5, and the townships of Renmark and Paringa township. The site includes upper Pike River 34 degrees 13' S, 140 degrees 48' E; Snake Creek 34 degrees 14' S, 140 degrees 48' E; Mundic Creek 34 degrees 12' S, 140 degrees 47' E; Tanyaca Creek 34 degrees 14' S, 140 degrees 46' E; Rumpagunyah Creek 34 degrees 15' S, 140 degrees 45' E; and lower Pike River 34 degrees 16' S, 140 degrees 43' E.
Biogeographic region: Murray-Darling Depression.
Area: 410 ha of permanent water bodies in a 6700 ha section of the floodplain.
Elevation: 15 m ASL.
Other listed wetlands in same aggregation: None.
Wetland type: B1, B5, B4
Criteria for inclusion: 1, 3, 6,
Site description:
The wetland area is a complex system of creeks, backwaters and lagoons. Between the waterbodies are extensive areas of low-lying land which are flooded during high rivers and retain water temporarily.
Physical features:
Landform: Mundic Creek is a broad former river channel and has permanent deep waters; Pike Lagoon and Tanyaca Creek are oxbow lakes; Pike River is also a broad channel and many much narrower creeks form a network across the floodplain. Geology: A series of sedimentary formations ranging from Permian sandstones to Tertiary limestones, over which lies Pliocene Parilla Sands and Modern Quaternary Sands. Soils: On the floodplain soils are alluvial, predominantly clay (grey plastic clays); soils on the mallee surface and valley face are mainly aeolian sands (sandy clay loams over calcrete). Climate: Mean annual rainfall is approximately 270 mm, mostly falling in May-October; average annual evaporation is 1750 mm (Bond 1983).
Hydrological features:
Water supply: The major waterbodies (except upper Pike River and Snake Creek) are connected to the River Murray by small creeks. The upper Pike River and Snake Creek are fed by overflow from Mundic Creek. River Murray floodwaters also supply the complex. Water salinity: Major concentration of salt occurs at the junction of Pike River and Rumpagunyah Creek, and downstream of the Simarloo pumping station; Mundic Creek: 352-567 EC; Pike Lagoon: 579 EC, Sep. 1991; Pike River: 315-720 EC; Snake Creek: 3760, Sep. 1991; Tanyaca Creek: 558, March 1992 (Suter et al. 1993). pH: Mundic Creek: 8.5-8.9; Pike Lagoon: 9.0, Sep. 1991; Pike River: 7.8-9.2; Tanyaca Creek: 8.6, March 1992 (Suter et al. 1993).
Ecological features:
Ecological role: The Pike River region provides a breeding habitat for fish and waterbirds during and after floods, as well as permanent refuge habitat for these species during drought. The complex network of small creeks and pools limits accessibility to some small islands, allowing waterbirds to breed there undisturbed. Small groups of Brolga Grus rubicundus, which are rarely sighted along the River Murray, and Freckled Duck Stictonetta naevosa occasionally visit the Pike River region. Plant structural formations: River Red Gum and River Box woodlands, sedgelands, low shrublands and lignum shrublands.
Mundic Creek supports a River Red Gum Eucalyptus camaldulensis forest that is rare on the River Murray in South Australia.
Notable flora:
Threatened species: None identified. Composition: Eucalyptus camaldulensis woodlands occur along edges of permanent water and on low areas of the floodplain; Eucalyptus largiflorens woodlands and Acacia stenophylla with Atriplex sp. and Eremophila divaricata occupy the highest areas of the floodplain; Muehlenbeckia florulenta occurs as an understorey species in both communities or grows as dense stands in low lying areas; shallow water and wetland margins support Typha sp. Schoenoplectus sp., Phragmites australis, and sedges including Cyperus gymnocaulos; Mundic Creek contains aquatic vegetation of Vallisneria spiralis, Ludwigia peploides, Spirogyra sp., Myriophyllum sp., Paspalum sp. and Azolla filiculoides; permanent water in the Tanyaca Creek supports large beds of Vallisneria spiralis, Ludwigia peploides, Potamogeton tricarinatus, P. crispus, Myriophyllum sp., Spirogyra sp. and Paspalum sp.; high drier areas of the floodplain comprise a shrubland of Atriplex vesicaria and the surrounding high lands supports mallee open woodland (Ohlmeyer 1992 unpub.).
Notable fauna:
Threatened species: Freckled Duck (Sv), Brolga (Sv), White-bellied Sea-Eagle (Sv), Australasian Shoveler Anas rhynchotis (Sr) and Intermediate Egret Ardea intermedia (Sr). Composition: 43 waterbird species recorded; four listed under treaties. Waterbirds include cormorants, spoonbills, herons, Pacific Black Duck Anas superciliosa, Grey Teal A. gracilis, Pink-eared Duck Malacorhynchus membranaceus, Purple Swamphen Porphyrio porphyrio, Dusky Moorhen Gallinula tenebrosa, Australian Crake Porzana fluminea and Red-necked Avocet Recurvirostra novaehollandiae. The Caspian Tern Sterna caspia is the only resident waterbird listed under treaties. Migration stop-over: Migratory wader include the Common Greenshank Tringa nebularia, Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos and Sharp-tailed Sandpiper Calidris acuminata. Numbers: Six Brolgas visited the area in November 1981 and two were observed during November-December 1982 (Bond 1983).
Other Fauna:
Aquatic invertebrate fauna: Decapoda, Yabby Cherax destructor, Prawns Paratya australiensis and Macrobrachium sp.; Copepoda, Calanoidea sp.; Cladocera, Daphnia carinata and Moina sp.; Diptera, Chironomidae; Gastropoda, Physastra gibbosa and Ferrissia sp. Fishes: Five species including European Carp Cyprinus carpio, Goldfish Carassius auratus, Australian Smelt Retropinna semoni, Mitchellian Hardyhead Craterocephalus stercusmuscarum and Eastern Gambusia Gambusia holbrooki. Amphibians: Three species including the Long-thumbed Frog Limnodynastes fletcheri, Marbled Frog L. tasmaniensis and Peron's Tree Frog Litoria peronii. Reptiles: Two species including the Eastern Snake-necked Tortoise Chelodina longicollis and Eastern Water Skink Spenomorphus quoyii. Mammals: Water Rat Hydromys chrysogaster (Bond 1983; Lloyd & Balla 1986; Thompson 1986).
Social and Cultural values:
Cultural: The Pike River region was important to local Aboriginal groups. The site provided a permanent water supply and rich hunting grounds which enabled a numerous population to live in the surrounding mallee areas in large numbers. Today, evidence of Aboriginal occupation sites such as middens, burial sites and quarries still remain. Interesting finds include a spherical granite stone which has been identified as possibly being a magic stone used in Aboriginal ceremonies, and ancient mining tools which could have been made by Tasmanoid people between 8000 and 30 000 years ago. The Pike-Mundic region was also a major area for river trade during the 1850s-1950s; commercial boats navigated the River Murray to transport wood. Wood stacks were located at Rook Rook Rang and Cowan's Landing. A monorail ran from Taldra to Rook Rook Rang to ship wool and wheat to markets downstream.
Land tenure:
Part of Mundic creek is a Forest Reserve (115 ha); part of the upper Pike River is a Conservation Park (228 ha). Crown land with miscellaneous lease and freehold.
Current land use:
Nature conservation, forestry, recreation (boating, canoeing, fishing, swimming, camping duck hunting), primary production (stock grazing, cropping, horticulture, vegetable growing, commercial fishing and mining of Loxton sands), residential (rural living and shacks) and irrigation (pumps and pipelines). Stock grazing, fruit growing and cereal cropping.
Disturbance or threat:
Past/present: Groundwater seepage due to highland irrigation is causing salinity problems in the region, weed invasion and introduced animal species (house mouse, rabbits), some areas have been degraded by stock grazing and much of the Mundic Forest Reserve is degraded by recreation use.

Potential: None identified.
Conservation measures taken:
Draft land management report for the Pike River prepared in 1983. The Pike River Basin is listed on the Register of the National Estate.
Management authority and jurisdiction:
The Pike River Conservation Park is managed by DENR. District office located at Berri. Mundic Forest Reserve is managed by the Department of Primary Industries, South Australia Forestry. The remaining areas are managed by landholders or lessees.
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: