Biodiversity publications archive

Refugia for biological diversity in arid and semi-arid Australia

Biodiversity Series, Paper No. 4
S.R. Morton, J. Short and R.D. Barker, with an Appendix by G.F. Griffin and G. Pearce
Biodiversity Unit
Department of the Environment, Sport and Territories, 1995

10. Refugia in Western Australia (continued)

10.19. Reference number WA19

Refuge area: Roebuck Plains

Biogeographic region: Dampierland

Type of refuge: Wetlands

Lat./Long. 17°50’ - 18°07’S / 122°21’ - 122°43’E

Quality of refuge: Significant (2)

Area (km²): <1,000

Chief refuge value

Major migration stop-over area for shore birds.

General description

Freshwater floodplain inland of the usual high tide mark at Roebuck Bay; includes creeks, claypans and lakes. Lakes include Lake Eda, Lake Campion, Taylors Lagoon, and Ungani Lakes. The area includes seasonally flooded grassland, permanent freshwater lakes, and seasonal/intermittent freshwater lakes and marshes (the latter from artesian bore drains). Lake Eda is permanent or near-permanent; other lakes are probably seasonal. The whole floodplain is inundated every 5-10 years1.

ANZECC-listed species

None identified.

Regional endemics

None identified.

Relict species

None identified.

Other significant species

Of 64 waterbird species recorded, 22 are listed under treaties; more than 100,000 shorebirds use the site at times1. The site is regionally significant for yellow chats Ephthianura crocea. Rare species include freckled duck Stictonetta naevosa and painted snipe Rostratula benghalensis, and the area is particularly important for migratory little curlew Numenius minutus and oriental pratincole Glareola maldivarum. Lake Edna forms a drought refuge for waterbirds in the south-west of the Kimberley Region.

Key threats

Cattle grazing may be damaging the margins and vegetation of some parts of the site1. Lake Eda has been fenced to exclude cattle.

Land Tenure

Pastoral leases.

Key references

1. Jaensch and Lane (1993)

2. Blakers et al. (1984)

3. McKenzie (1983)