This IBA includes Lake Corangamite and associated lakes extending as far west as Murdeduke, in western Victoria. This IBA includes all the lakes in the Western District Lakes Ramsar site: Lake Beeac (662 ha, hypersaline), Lake Bookar 500 ha, Lake Colongulac (saline), Lake Corangamite (23,300 ha, hypersaline), Lake Cundare (395 ha, hypersaline), Lake Gnarpurt (2350 ha, saline), Lake Milangil (125 ha, saline), Lake Murdeduke (1550 ha, saline, a distinctly formed playa to the east of the other wetlands) and Lake Terangpom (208 ha, fresh), but also includes the following additional neighbouring lakes that have supported high numbers of waterbirds: Cundare Pool/Lake Martin (3730 ha, saline) and Lough Calvert (=Upper, Middle and Lower Lough Calvert and Lake Thurrumbong). Additional lakes could be added (such as Lake Rosine, Cemetery Lake, Lake Koreetnung and Lake on Elwood Road, which have had single high counts of birds) but no others appear to regularly support large numbers of waterbirds. The lakes vary widely in depth and salinity, depending upon their method of formation, their catchment area, their outlet and rainfall, so at any time the various lakes range from fresh to hypersaline. Most are terminal lakes but with some freshwater inflow and flow between the lakes. There has been some hydrological modification eg Cundare Pool was formed by the damming the Woady Yaloak River - the large wetland formed also flooded the saline Lake Martin; the outlet from Lake Gnarpurt to Lake Corangamite is much lower than the natural floodway; and Lake Corangamite is used as a basin for drainage of agricultural land. They are set in basaltic grassland landscape. Mean annual rainfall at Beeac is 617 mm.
A single high count of Double-banded Plovers has been recorded: 3700 at Lough Calvert; the next highest count may be 420 at Lake Corangamite (DEWHA 2008). Other high counts of waterbirds are mostly from the 1980s and 1990s, and include 3000 Red-necked Avocet at Lake Martin in 1999 (Geelong Bird Report 1999); 19,670 Eurasian Coot on Lake Murdeduke; 10,900 Eurasian Coot at Lake Bookar; 7413 Eurasian Coot, 2000 Great Crested Grebe at Lake Colongulac; 1400 Great Crested Grebe, 1167 Australian Pelican, 5000 Great Cormorant, 1500 Little Pied Cormorant, 1289 Musk Duck, 10,015 Eurasian Coot, 420 Double-banded Plover at Lake Corangamite; 3000 Grey Teal and 1000 Whiskered Terns at Lake Terangpom; 400 Great Crested Grebe at Lake Bookar; 2000 Red-necked Avocets at Lake Beeac; 6550 Grey Teal, 2000 Hardhead, 24,500 Eurasian Coot, 2500 Red-necked Stints, 1300 Whiskered Tern at Cundare Pool/Lake Martin (NRE 1995a; DEWHA 2008); 3200 Red-necked Stint in 1983 at Lake Murdeduke (AWSG database). Depending on water levels, islands on Lake Corangamite e.g. Wool Wool and Vaughan Island have held breeding colonies of pelicans and Straw-necked Ibis.
Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
The water management plans for the region must allow adequate freshwater inflow into these lakes. Dumping of saline water must not impact freshwater and mildly brackish lakes.
Numerous - see separate section.
Most managed by Parks Victoria. Lakes Beeac, Bookaar, Cundare, Milangil, Murdeduke and Terangpom are State Wildlife Reserves. Lakes Colongulac, Corangamite and Gnarpurt are Lake Reserves. Lake Thurrumbong is a State Game Reserve. Cundare Pool/Lake Martin and Lough Calvert are public land managed by Southern Rural Water.
BirdLife International (2020) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Lake Corangamite Complex. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 06/08/2020.