Description and literature review of the flora and vertebrate fauna of Magela Creek, Alligator Rivers Region, northern Australia
Supervising Scientist Report 169
Gardner S, Finlayson CM & Pidgeon RAJ (Editors)
Supervising Scientist, 2002
ISBN 0 642 24375 1
- SSR169 - Description and literature review of the flora and vertebrate fauna of Magela Creek, Alligator Rivers Region, northern Australia (PDF - 1,000 KB)
About the report
The Magela Creek and floodplain is located in the Alligator Rivers Region, which includes Kakadu National Park, some 200 km east of Darwin, Northern Australia. Management strategies in the catchment of Magela Creek have largely been directed towards the environmental effects of uranium mining and milling at the Ranger minesite and, more recently, at the site of the proposed Jabiluka mine (see figure 1 for map of all locations). Recent environmental assessments have been summarised by Johnston and Prendergast (1999) and Johnston and Needham (1999). Further assessment has been anticipated with renewed emphasis on the biodiversity of the floodplain habitats.
The floodplain downstream of the Ranger uranium mine and the Jabiluka lease area is of particular interest, as the biota of this region are considered the most susceptible to any pollutants in waste-waters released from mining operations. In support of such assessment we present a description of the Magela floodplain, and a review of information on the flora and vertebrate fauna. The literature on the invertebrate fauna has been summarised in a separate report (Humphrey & Bouckaert, in press). Literature containing baseline data on species composition, abundance, distribution and biomass were reviewed to determine what flora and fauna occur in the Magela catchment, identify any species of conservation importance and highlight areas requiring further work.
A description of the floodplain habitats and the flora and vertebrate fauna is presented. This is in summary form and presented under the following headings: vegetation, algae, fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, mammals, and alien species. This is followed by an annotated review of individual articles, presented under similar headings, including an additional section of general studies that encompass a range of organisms. The emphasis for this paper was on studies of aquatic and wetland flora and fauna. Studies on the terrestrial fauna, such as birds, reptiles and mammals that potentially utilise the Magela Creek as a source of water and the surrounding vegetation as habitat, were also included. The studies reviewed ranged from having a narrow focus, such as those that sampled one section of the creek, to studies that incorporated the whole of the Alligator Rivers Region. Wider studies without survey sites in the vicinity of Magela Creek, such as The Kakadu Fauna Survey (Braithwaite 1985) and the Alligator Rivers Region fact-finding study (Adams et al 1973, CSIRO 1973, Story 1973), were not included.
Given recent debate about the World Heritage values of Kakadu National Park in relation to uranium mining proposed for the Jabiluka minesite (Johnston & Needham 1999) special attention is given to assessing the relevance of this information to Ngarradj (Swift Creek) that flows past the minesite and into the Magela (figure 1). The Ngarradj catchment, including the backwater floodplain confluence with the Magela and the upper catchment covers an area of 66 km². Relevance was based on the proximity of a study’s sampling sites to Ngarradj, as well as the extent of site-specific data provided in a report.