Narran Lake Nature Reserve Ramsar site
Narran Lake Nature Reserve Ramsar site is located about 50 km east of Brewarrina in north-west NSW and covers an area of 8447 hectares. It is part of the terminal wetland system of the Narran River, in the Condamine-Balonne catchment of the Murray–Darling Basin. It is internationally important because of its rarity and naturalness; its significance for waterbirds, supporting large colonial waterbird breeding events of ibis, spoonbills and cormorants; and its importance as a drought refuge for waterbirds.
Narran Lake Nature Reserve Ramsar site map
Why was this wetland listed as a Ramsar site?
Narran Lake Nature Reserve was listed under the Ramsar Convention in 1999 because it meets the following Ramsar nomination criteria:
Criterion 1 - Representative or unique wetlands
Narran Lake Nature Reserve is a particularly good representative example of a natural or near-natural wetland that is characteristic of the Murray-Darling Basin. It contains a considerable diversity of habitats, including some of the largest expanses of lignum (Muehlenbeckia cunninghamii) in NSW.
Criterion 2 - Threatened species or ecological communities
Narran Lake Nature Reserve Ramsar site supports three wetland dependent threatened species listed under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) or on the IUCN Red List: the Australasian bittern (Botaurus poiciloptilus), Murray cod (Maccullochella peelii peelii) and winged peppercress (Lepidium monoplocoides).
Criterion 4 - Supports species at a critical stage of their life cycle or provides refuge in adverse conditions
Narran Lake Nature Reserve supports 40 migratory bird species, including 19 listed under international agreements. The site also supports substantial breeding of waterbirds, including colonial nesting species, such as ibises and egrets. It also provides drought refuge for waterbirds, as it retains water for long periods following floods.
The key document for Narran Lake Nature Reserve 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. The ecological character description for Narran Lake Nature Reserve Ramsar site will provide a comprehensive description of the site’s critical values (components, processes and services) at the time of listing. It is currently being finalised.
A plan of management was adopted for Narran Lake Nature Reserve in 2000. Actions in the plan for managing the site include controlling pigs and foxes, remote sensing of colonial waterbird breeding events, and monitoring of water flows into the lake. The principal threat to the site’s values is upstream water extraction, particularly the loss of small to medium sized floods required to maintain critical water bird breeding habitat, such as lignum shrublands.
The Ramsar site is significant to Aboriginal people because of the widespread evidence of Aboriginal people’s existence in the area: the lakes are a traditional meeting place for Aboriginal tribes in the region, several Dreaming paths culminate at the lakes, and there are many relatively undisturbed Aboriginal objects in the area. An Aboriginal Co-Management Committee is being established to facilitate Aboriginal involvement in the management of Narran Lake Nature Reserve.
The Ramsar Managers Network provides a forum for Ramsar site managers in NSW.
Page last updated: 27 April 2012