Directory of Important Wetlands

Directory of Important Wetlands in Australia - Information sheet

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Brixton Street Swamps - WA074

Level of importance: National - Directory
Location: 32 degrees 02' S, 115 degrees 58' E; 7 km north north-east of Kenwick (railway station); 13.5 km south-east of Perth G.P.O.
Biogeographic region: Swan
Shire: City of Gosnells.
Area: 30 ha; including swamps c. 5 ha.
Elevation: 15 m.
Other listed wetlands in same aggregation: None.
Wetland type: B13
Criteria for inclusion: 1, 5, 6,
Site description:
The site comprises seasonal swamps south-west of Brixton Street, Kenwick, and north-east of Bickley Road, Kenwick. Nearby wetlands: Swan-Canning Estuary (WA091) is 6 km west; Forrestdale Lake (WA077) is 14 km south south-west.
Physical features:
Landform: Several microscale irregular-round sumplands set in an elongate palusplain. Geological setting: Situated in the Perth Basin, in white clay of the Pinjarra Plain formation; surrounding land is relatively flat. Climate: Median and mean annual rainfall at Perth are 854 mm and 870 mm respectively, mostly falling in May- August; annual evaporation is 1900 mm.
Hydrological features:
Water Supply: Mostly from direct precipitation but groundwater may enter some ponds; some interconnection of ponds. Inundation: Seasonal, usually dry in summer-autumn. Water depth: Generally less than 0.5 m, exceptionally to 1 m. Water salinity: Fresh, probably stasohaline. Water pH: Probably neutral or slightly acidic. Water colour: Initially milky, becoming clear once settled.
Ecological features:
Plant structural formations: Open-heathland and sedgeland in maculiform arrangement; surrounding areas support open-heathland, low open-woodland or are cleared (urban area).
A good example of shrub swamp of the Swan Coastal Plain (on clay soil) and one of the few significant remaining areas within the Perth Metropolitan Area. Identified as meeting one Ramsar Criterion for listing as a Wetland of International Importance (Jaensch and Watkins 1999).
Notable flora:
Threatened Species: Eleocharis keigheryi (Nv). Species listed as "Priority Flora" under State legislation include Aponogeton hexatepalus, Hydrocotyle lemnoides, Calandrinia sp. aff. Composita, Schoenus capillifolius, and others; few other wetlands in WA are known to support as many rare/priority plant species (G. Keighery, pers. comm., 2000). Composition: 307 native fern/fern allies and flowering plants have been recorded in this small area; many occur in the palusplain or sumplands. Sixteen species are endemic to the eastern side of the Swan Coastal Plain. The heathland is dominated by Melaleuca lateritia; other heath shrubs include Hakea and Astartea spp. Low sedges (e.g. Leptocarpus coangustatus) occur as understorey. Common aquatics include Triglochin procera and Isoetes drummondii; Myriophyllum crispatum and Villarsia submersa occur in the deepest wetland. Special Communities: The aquatic plant community as found at this site has all but disappeared from the Swan Coastal Plain (DCE 1983; WADCALM rare flora files; Keighery & Keighery 1991; Keighery and Keighery 1995; G. Keighery pers. comm.).
Notable fauna:
Threatened Species: None. Composition: No data available, but unlikely to be used by many species or large numbers of waterbirds.
Other Fauna:
Social and Cultural values:
Education: Part of the site is used for tertiary-level education on botany. Research: Both parts of the site have been subject to intensive surveys and research on plants, including wetland-inhabiting species and declared rare flora.
Land tenure:
Freehold land, part of which held by the WA government, part held by the University of WA. Surrounding area: Mainly freehold.
Current land use:
Research and education. Surrounding area: Urban area (residential, recreational) and semi-rural smallholdings, and high human population. Some swamps are surrounded by more than 100 m of native vegetation.
Disturbance or threat:
Past/present: Invasion of exotic plants, groundwater extraction. A severe wildfire burnt about half of the reserve in January 1995.

Potential: Water pollution, too frequent wildfire and drainage.
Conservation measures taken:
The university's part is reserved for special uses under the Metropolitan Region Scheme and is used for botanical research and teaching. Vegetation of the site has been identified as regionally significant bushland and recommended for protection (Western Australian Planning Commission, 1998). The 'Friends of the Brixton Street Wetlands' have produced a management plan for the site.
Management authority and jurisdiction:
WA government, University of WA.
See Western Australia Reference List
Compiler & date:
Roger P. Jaensch in 1992. Minor revision by Romeny J. Lynch and WADCALM staff in 1995 and Sue Elscot in 2000.
AWRC Division: South-West Coast
AWRC Region:
AWRC Basin: