Nature conservation

Biodiversity Reform

Riverina - conservation status analysis

This page shows the conservation status of the bioregion, based on protection of landscapes within formal conservation management mechanisms.

Landscape-scale conservation

The Riverina Bioregion is composed of 40 landscapes (Mitchell in prep), 3 of which, the Oaklands Hills and Footslopes (occupying 9,234.25 hectares or 0.13 per cent of the bioregion), the Riverina Dunefields (occupying 9.83 hectares or 0.00014 per cent of the bioregion) and the very small Riverina Sandplains (occupying 0.83 hectares or 0.00001 per cent of the bioregion), are endemic to the bioregion.

The size of landscapes in the bioregion ranges from the endemic Riverina Sandplains landscape to the Murrumbidgee Scalded Plains landscape, which occupies the largest area at almost 15.54 per cent (1,100,612 ha) of the bioregion. However, over 88 per cent of the bioregion is dominated by just 8 of the 40 landscapes, with the majority of the remainder each occupying less than 1 per cent of the bioregion. The 8 dominant landscapes are the:

  • Murrumbidgee Depression Plains occupying 624,851.61 hectares or 8.83 per cent of the bioregional area;
  • Lachlan Depression Plains occupying 649,270.31 hectares or 9.17 per cent of the bioregional area;
  • Lachlan Channels and Floodplains occupying 666,183.82 hectares or 9.41 per cent of the bioregional area;
  • Murray Scalded Plains occupying 710,927.06 hectares or 10.04 per cent of the bioregional area;
  • Murray Channels and Floodplains occupying 758,375.83 hectares or 10.71 per cent of the bioregional area;
  • Murrumbidgee Channels and floodplains occupying 863,306.64 hectares or 12.19 per cent of the bioregional area;
  • Lachlan Scalded Plains occupying 883,331.56 hectares or 12.48 per cent of the bioregional area; and
  • Murrumbidgee Scalded Plains occupying 1,100,612.30 hectares or 15.54 per cent of the bioregional area.

Landscapes in the bioregion are not comprehensively reserved or managed under conservation-oriented management regimes. Nine of the 40 landscapes are represented in reserves but only a small percentage of each is included. Less than half (18) of the landscapes are protected within the conservation mechanisms surveyed. The greatest proportion of any landscape represented in conservation tenures is 5.2 per cent of the Murrumbidgee Scalded Plain landscape (which occurs within reserves, the historic site, the voluntary conservation agreement, wildlife refuges and property agreements).

National parks and nature reserves

As already noted, 9 of the 40 landscapes are represented in national parks and nature reserves. The Lachlan Depression Plains landscape has the greatest area and proportion of the bioregional area of its landscape reserved, with almost 14,366.95 hectares or 2.21 per cent of its bioregional area reserved. Five of the 8 dominant landscapes have some representation, but none of the landscapes endemic to the bioregion is represented within reserves.

Historic sites

One landscape, the Murrumbidgee Scalded Plains, is represented in the historic site, with just 21.48 hectares and 0.002 per cent of its area included. About 0.01 per cent of this landscape also occurs in national parks and nature reserves.

Voluntary conservation agreement

The only landscape represented in the one voluntary conservation agreement in the bioregion is the Murrumbidgee Scalded Plains landscape at 17.90 hectares.

Wildlife refuges

Thirteen landscapes occur in wildlife refuges in the bioregion, 8 of which are not included in national parks and nature reserves. They are:

  • Murrumbidgee Source-bordering Dunes landscape with 1035.77 hectares or 3.62 per cent of its bioregional area;
  • Murrumbidgee Channels and Floodplains landscape with 1,1016.90 hectares or 1.28 per cent of its bioregional area;
  • Murrumbidgee Depression Plains landscape 5811.85 hectares or 0.93 per cent of its bioregional area;
  • Murray Depression Plains landscape 680.75 hectares or 0.55 per cent of its bioregional area;
  • Albury-Oaklands Hills and Footslopes landscape 67.27 hectares or 0.40 per cent of its bioregional area;
  • Murray Scalded Plains landscape with 638.93 hectares or 0.09 per cent of its bioregional area;
  • Mallee Cliffs Sandplains landscape with 24.79 hectares or 0.04 per cent of its bioregional area; and
  • Murray Source-bordering Dunes landscape with 4.31 hectares or 0.01 per cent of its bioregional area.

One of these landscapes, the Albury Oaklands Hills and Footslopes landscape (which is 97.26 per cent cleared), is not included in any other conservation tenure and has only a small representation of 67.27 hectares or 0.40 per cent of its bioregional area included in a wildlife refuge.

Flora reserve

Five landscapes are represented in the 9 flora reserves in the bioregion. These are also all represented in other conservation tenures although 4 are not represented in national parks and nature reserves. These are:

  • Murrumbidgee Source-bordering Dunes landscape with 0.02 hectares or <0.01 per cent of its bioregional area;
  • Murray Scalded Plains landscape with 0.70 hectares or <0.01 per cent of its bioregional area;
  • Murray Source-bordering Dunes landscape with 11.28 hectares or 0.03 per cent of its bioregional area; and
  • Murray Lakes, Swamps and Lunettes landscape with 924.05 hectares or 1.42 per cent of its bioregional area.

Property agreements

Ten landscapes are represented in property agreements in the bioregion. Eight are not represented in national parks or nature reserves. These are:

  • Murrumbidgee Depression Plains landscape with 30.13 hectares or <0.01 per cent of its bioregional area;
  • Murrumbidgee Channels and Floodplain landscape with 63.57 hectares or 0.01 per cent of its bioregional area;
  • Murray Scalded Plains landscape with 221.24 hectares or 0.03 per cent of its bioregional area;
  • Murray Lakes, Swamps and Lunettes landscape with 37.48 hectares or 0.06 per cent of its bioregional area;
  • Murray Depression Plains landscape with 132.19 hectares or 0.11 per cent of its bioregional area;
  • Billabong Creek Alluvial Plains landscape with 27.57 hectares or 0.36 per cent of its bioregional area;
  • Oaklands Hills and Footslopes landscape with 37.13 hectares or 0.40 per cent of its bioregional area. Importantly, this is endemic to the bioregion; and
  • Murray Source-bordering Dunes landscape with 176.04 hectares or 0.47 per cent of its bioregional area.

Two landscapes (Oaklands Hills and Footslopes, 95.30 per cent cleared, Billabong Creek Alluvial Plain, 95.18 per cent cleared) not represented in other conservation tenures occur in property agreements.

Conservation and clearing

About 1,994,194 hectares or 28.17 per cent of the Riverina Bioregion has been cleared of its native canopy vegetation. Three-quarters of the landscapes have experienced this type of clearing with just under half of the landscapes having more than 30 per cent of their bioregional area cleared. The relatively small (94 ha) Cocoparra Basalt Hills landscape has been totally cleared.

A further 9 landscapes are extremely cleared, with between 70 and 100 per cent of their bioregional area cleared. They are the Murray Source-bordering Dunes, Murrumbidgee Sandplains, Murray Sandplains, Cocoparra Ranges and Footslopes, Murray Depression Plains, Murray Scalded Plains, Billabong Creek Alluvial Plain, Oaklands Hills and Footslopes and Albury-Oaklands Hills and Footslopes.

Four landscapes are highly cleared with between 50 and 70 per cent of their bioregional area cleared. These are the Murray Lakes, Swamps and Lunettes, Mallee Cliffs Linear Dunes, Buckingong Gravels and the Mallee Cliffs Sandplains landscapes. Four landscapes have more than 30 per cent of their area cleared. They are the Murrumbidgee Source-bordering Dunes, the Murrumbidgee Lakes, Swamps and Lunettes, the Ivanhoe-Nangara Sandplains and the Murray Channels and Floodplains landscapes.

Many of the highly to extremely cleared landscapes have some representation in conservation tenures in the bioregion. Four (Murrumbidgee Lakes, Swamps and Lunettes, Ivanhoe-Nangara Sandplains, Murray Channels and Floodplains and Buckingong Gravels) are represented in national parks and nature reserves. Three (the Murray Channels and Floodplains, Murray Lakes, Swamps and Lunettes and Murray Source-bordering Dunes landscapes) are represented in flora reserves.

The wildlife refuge program includes the largest range (7) of these landscapes (Murrumbidgee Source-bordering Dunes, Murrumbidgee Lakes, Swamps and Lunettes, Ivanhoe-Nangara Sandplains, Murray Channels and Floodplains, Mallee Cliffs Sandplains, Murray Depression Plains, and Albury-Oaklands Hills and Footslopes). Four of the high to extremely cleared landscapes (Murray Source-bordering Dunes, Murray Depression Plains, Murray Scalded Plains, Billabong Creek Alluvial Plain and Oaklands Hills and Footslopes) are represented in the conservation zone of property agreements.

Page last updated: 26 April 2016