Natural heritage values of the lake eyre basin in south australia

NATURAL HERITAGE VALUES OF THE LAKE EYRE BASIN IN SOUTH AUSTRALIA:

WORLD HERITAGE ASSESSMENT

Consultancy Report Prepared for the

World Heritage Unit

Department of the Environment, Sport and Territories

S.R. Morton, M.D. Doherty and R.D. Barker

September 1995

CSIRO Division of Wildlife and Ecology, Canberra

DISCLAIMER: This study was commissioned in 1995 to investigate the natural heritage values of the Lake Eyre Basin in South Australia.

At that time the possibility of pursuing World Heritage Listing for the Lake Eyre region was being considered, but this did not proceed. There are no current plans to progress a WH nomination for the Lake Eyre region.

The views and opinions expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Lake Eyre Basin Ministerial Forum and its sub committees; the Australian Government; or the Queensland, South Australia and Northern Territory governments.

While reasonable efforts have been made to ensure that the contents of this publication are factually correct, the above parties do not accept responsibility for any errors, accuracy or completeness of the contents, and shall not be liable for any loss or damage that may be occasioned directly or indirectly through the use of, or reliance on, the contents of this publication.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

CHAPTER Page

1.0

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

1

2.0

TERMS OF REFERENCE

3

2.1

Scope

3

2.2

Study Area

3

2.3

Requirements

3

3.0

METHODOLOGY

5

3.1 Approach

5

3.2 Data Types

6

4.0

SUMMARY DESCRIPTION OF THE NATURAL FEATURES

7

OF THE LAKE EYRE BASIN IN SOUTH AUSTRALIA

4.1 Climate

7

4.2 Broad-scale Hydrology

7

4.3 Geology

7

4.4 Broad-scale Geomorphology

8

4.5 Palaeontology

10

4.5.1 Cretaceous

10

4.5.2 Middle Tertiary

10

4.5.3 Pliocene and Pleistocene

11

4.6 Soils

11

4.7 Terrestrial Vegetation Types

12

4.7.1 Detailed Account of the Vegetation

13

4.7.2 Occurrence and Conservation of Terrestrial

Plant Communities

16

4.7.3 Terrestrial Flora

16

4.8 Fauna

17

4.8.1 Mammals

17

4.8.2 Terrestrial birds

18

4.8.3 Waterbirds

19

4.8.4 Reptiles

19

4.8.5 Frogs

20

4.8.6 Fishes

20

4.8.7 Terrestrial Invertebrates

23

4.8.8 Aquatic Invertebrates

23

4.9 Riverine Wetlands 23

4.9.1 Warburton/Diamantina River System, Especially

Goyder Lagoon 23

4.9.2 Cooper Creek System 27

4.9.3 Coongie Lakes 30

4.9.4 Lake Blanche 39

4.9.5 Strzelecki Creek 41

4.9.6 Lakes Gregory, Callabonna and Frome 41

4.9.7 Lakes Hope, Killalpaninna and Kopperamanna 42

4.9.8 Western Lake Eyre Basin Rivers 42

4.10 Lake Eyre 43

4.10.1 Hydrology 43

4.10.2 Geomorphology 44

4.10.3 Limnology 45

4.10.4 Biology, Adaptations, Life-histories 45

4.10.5 Productivity 52

4.11 Mound Springs and Other Artesian Springs 52

4.11.1 Hydrology and Geomorphology 52

4.11.2 Biological Significance 55

4.12 Rare or Threatened Flora and Fauna 61

4.12.1 Flora 62

4.12.2 Fauna 63

4.13 Aesthetics and Natural Beauty 64

4.14 Conclusion 65

5.0 ASSESSMENT OF NATURAL HERITAGE VALUES AGAINSTYLE="66

WORLD HERITAGE CRITERIA AND CONDITIONS OF INTEGRITY

5.1 Biogeographic Considerations 66

5.1.1 Within Australia 66

5.1.2 Outside Australia 67

5.2 Comparison of Surface Aquatic Systems 68

5.2.1 Within Australia 68

5.2.2 Outside Australia 70

5.3 Comparison of Artesian Springs 73

5.3.1 Within Australia 73

5.3.2 Outside Australia 73

5.4 Criteria for Natural Property and Relevant Conditions of Integrity 75

5.4.1 Assessment Against the Criteria 75

5.4.2 Conclusion 79

6.0 GAPS IN KNOWLEDGE 81

6.1 South Australian Section of the Lake Eyre Basin

81

6.1.1 Surface Aquatic Systems

81

6.1.2 Mound Springs

81

6.2 Lake Eyre Basin Outside South Australia

81

6.2.1 Surface Aquatic Systems

82

6.2.2 Mound Springs 82

7.0

OPTIMAL AND MINIMAL BOUNDARIES ENCOMPASSING

83

WORLD HERITAGE VALUES

8.0

APPROPRIATE MANAGEMENT STRATEGIES FOR

85

EXISTING MANAGEMENT PRACTICES

8.1 National Parks and Conservation Parks

85

8.1.1 Witjira National Park

86

8.1.2 Simpson Desert Conservation Park

87

8.1.3 Gammon Ranges National Park

88

8.1.4 Flinders Ranges National Park

89

8.2 Regional Reserves

90

8.2.1 Innamincka Regional Reserve

90

8.3 Fossil Reserves

94

8.4 National Estate Register

94

8.5 Pastoral Leases

94

8.5.1 Pastoral Land Management and Conservation Act, 1989

94

8.5.2 Soil Conservation and Land Care Act, 1989

96

8.5.3 Pastoral Management Plans

98

8.6 Other Acts

98

8.6.1 Native Vegetation Management Act, 1991

98

8.6.2 Petroleum Act, 1940 and Mining Act, 1971

98

8.6.3 Water Resources Act, 1990

99

8.6.4 Catchment Water Management Act, 1995

99

8.7 Conclusion

99

9.0 MANAGEMENT ISSUES RELATING TO POTENTIAL 100

WORLD HERITAGE AREA VALUES

9.1 Aquatic Systems

100

9.2 The Wider Basin

100

10.0

CONCLUSIONS

102

11.0

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

103

12.0

LITERATURE CITED

104

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