The shorebird community occurring on the relict tidal delta sands at Taren Point - endangered ecological community listing

NSW Scientific Committee - final determination

The Scientific Committee, established by the Threatened Species Conservation Act, has made a final determination to list the Shorebird Community occurring on the relict tidal delta sands at Taren Point as an ENDANGERED ECOLOGICAL COMMUNITY on Part 3 of Schedule 1 of the Act. Listing of Endangered Ecological Communities is provided for by Part 2 of the Act.

The Ecological Community proposed for listing is:

1. The Taren Point Shorebird Community is the community of shorebirds (also known as waders) that uniquely occurs on the relict marginal shoal of the Georges River that occurs between Taren Point and Shell Point in Botany Bay.

2. The bird community is part of the highly diverse shorebird assemblages characteristic of rich coastal mudflats of eastern Australia that are dominated by species from the Order Charadriiformes.

3. The characteristic assemblage of shorebird species in the community is:

  • Latham's Snipe - Gallinago hardwickii (Gray, 1831)
  • Bar-tailed Godwit - Limosa lapponica (Linnaeus, 1758)
  • Whimbrel - Numenius phaeopus (Linnaeus, 1758)
  • Eastern Curlew - Numenius madagascariensis (Linnaeus, 1766)
  • Marsh Sandpiper - Tringa stagnatilis (Bechstein, 1803)
  • Common Greenshank - Tringa nebularia (Gunnerus, 1767)
  • Terek Sandpiper - Xenus cinereus (Guldenstädt, 1775)
  • Common Sandpiper - Actitis hypoleucos (Linnaeus, 1758)
  • Grey-tailed Tattler - Heteroscelus brevipes (Vieillot, 1816)
  • Ruddy Turnstone - Arenaria interpres (Linnaeus, 1758)
  • Great Knot - Calidris tenuirostris (Horsfield, 1821)
  • Red Knot - Calidris canutus (Linnaeus, 1758)
  • Red-necked Stint - Calidris ruficollis (Pallas, 1776)
  • Sharp-tailed Sandpiper - Calidris acuminata (Horsfield, 1821)
  • Curlew Sandpiper - Calidris ferruginea (Pontoppidan, 1763)
  • Pied Oystercatcher - Haematopus longirostris (Vieillot, 1817)
  • Sooty Oystercatcher - Haematopus fuliginosus (Gould, 1845)
  • Pacific Golden Plover - Pluvialis fulva (Gmelin, 1789)
  • Grey Plover - Pluvialis squatarola (Linnaeus, 1758)
  • Masked Lapwing - Vanellus miles (Boddaert, 1783)
4. The features that distinguish the Taren Point Shorebird Community from other assemblages in Botany Bay is the unique occurrence of the vulnerable species Terek Sandpiper Xenus cinereus; a greater abundance of the small mudflat feeding shorebirds such as Red-necked Stint Calidris ruficollis, Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres, Red Knot Calidris canutus, Curlew Sandpiper Calidris ferruginea, Pacific Golden Plover Pluvialis fulva and Grey-tailed Tattler Heteroscelus brevipes; and the general absence of sand plovers which occur elsewhere in Botany Bay.

5. The Taren Point Shorebird Community occupies an area that is defined by the distinct geological feature which is a relict muddy sand marginal shoal of the Georges River that was formed during the Holocene. The shoal's northern boundary is a small spit on the eastern side of the Captain Cook Bridge and the southern boundary is the terminal lobe of Shell Point. This geological feature is described in Roy, P.S. and Crawford, E.A. 1979, Holocene geological evolution of the southern Botany Bay-Kurnell Region, Central New South Wales Coast, Records of the New South Wales Geological Survey 20:159-250.

The Scientific Committee has found that:

6. The Community, as defined by the proposal, satisfies the definition of an ecological community under the Act; i.e., an assemblage of species occupying a particular area.

7. Threats to the survival of the community include intensification or alteration of uses of the area utilised by the community, and changes to the extent and distribution of the fringing mangrove community.

8. Although Towra Point Reserve is adjacent to the area occupied by this shorebird community it is of different geomorphological origin and does not provide alternative habitat for the Taren Point Shorebird Community. In view of the ongoing alteration to the natural marine and geomorphological processes within Botany Bay, the Scientific Committee is of the opinion that the Taren Point Shorebird Community is likely to become extinct in nature in New South Wales unless the factors threatening its survival cease to operate.

9. In view of 6, 7 and 8, the Scientific Committee is of the opinion that the community is likely to become extinct in nature in New South Wales unless the circumstances and factors threatening its survival cease to operate. Accordingly the Committee has made a Final Determination to list the Taren Point Shorebird Community on Part 3 of Schedule 1 of the Act.

Proposed gazettal date:29/09/98

Exhibition period: 29/09/98 to 6/11/98


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Page last updated: 28 February 2011