Lake Pinaroo (Fort Grey Basin) Ramsar site

Lake Pinaroo is located in Sturt National Park near Tibooburra in the north-west corner of NSW, and is within the Lake Eyre drainage division.

map of the Lake Pinaroo Ramsar site in NSW

Lake Pinaroo Ramsar site map

Why was this wetland listed as a Ramsar site?

Lake Pinaroo was listed under the Ramsar Convention in 1996 because it meets the following Ramsar nomination criteria:

Criterion 1 - Representative or unique wetlands

Lake Pinaroo, the largest terminal basin within the NSW part of the Simpson–Strzelecki Dunefields bioregion, is an ephemeral wetland which is subject to erratic flooding and extended dry periods. Once full, it can take up to six years to dry out. Lake Pinaroo remains dry for long periods of time.

Criterion 2 - Threatened species or ecological communities

Lake Pinaroo (Fort Grey Basin) Ramsar site supports threatened species including the eastern long-eared bat (Nyctophilus corbeni previously N. timoriensis), listed as vulnerable under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act),  and freckled duck (Stictonetta naevosa), blue-billed duck (Oxyura australis) and interior blind snake (Ramphotyphlops endoterus) which are listed under the NSW Threatened Species Conservation Act.

Criterion 3 - Populations of plants and/or animals important for maintaining biodiversity of a particular bioregion

Lake Pinaroo is regionally important for supporting plants and animals in the arid zone of NSW. It holds water much longer than any other wetland within the region, providing breeding habitat for up to 61 species of waterbird. It also provides an important non-breeding refuge for birds that may have bred on other wetlands, particularly interdune swamps that only hold water for relatively short periods (up to six months).

Criterion 4 - Supports species at a critical stage of their life cycle or provides refuge in adverse conditions

Lake Pinaroo provides a refuge for plants and animals in the surrounding areas during drought as it retains water for long periods. It is also an important ‘stop-over’ site for migratory wading birds listed under international agreements, such as the black-tailed godwit (Limosa limosa), common greenshank (Tringa nebularia), marsh sandpiper (Tringa stagnatilis) and red-necked stint (Calidris ruficollis).

More information

The key document for Lake Pinaroo (Fort Grey Basin) Ramsar site is the Ramsar information sheet. It outlines the criteria met by the site, special features and management practices within the site and its catchment.

The Ramsar Convention requires Contracting Parties to maintain the ecological character of their Ramsar listed wetlands. Australia has developed a framework for describing ecological character in detail. The ecological character description for Lake Pinaroo Ramsar site provides a comprehensive description of the site’s critical values (components, processes and services) at its time of listing.

When full, Lake Pinaroo is attractive to visitors as it is a contrast to the arid landscapes in the rest of Sturt National Park, and provides opportunities to see many species of waterbirds and large flocks of unique desert birds such as budgerigars (Melopsittacus undulatus).

Lake Pinaroo is managed under the plan of management (PDF) for Sturt National Park, adopted in 1996.

While most of the Ramsar site is protected as part of Sturt National Park, there are several threats to its values, which are addressed in the plan of management. Principal threats include introduced plants such as athel pine (Tamarix aphylla) and noogoora burr (Xanthium occidentale), introduced animals such as rabbits and goats, and impacts of climate change such as reduced rainfall and higher temperatures.

The Ramsar Managers Network provides a forum for Ramsar site managers in NSW.

Page last updated: 26 October 2012