The IBA is comprised of a series of lakes called the Menidee Lakes in south-western New South Wales: Nettlegoe Lake, Kangaroo Lake, Stir Tank Lake, New Lake, Lake Cawndilla, Lake Menindee, Lake Pamamaroo, Lake Wetherell, Tandure Lake, Lake Bijijie, Balaka Lake and Malta Lake. Lake Cawndilla and Lake Menindee are located within Kinchega National Park. Lake Cawndilla, Lake Menindee, Lake Pamamaroo, Lake Wetherell, Tandure Lake, Lake Bijijie and Balaka Lake are part of the Menindee Lakes Water Storage Scheme, which provides water for domestic use, livestock and irrigation supply. Lake Tandou is managed as irrigated cropland by a private consortium and is excluded from the IBA as flooding is no longer possible. The Menindee Lakes are situated in the semi-arid zone on grey clays, texture-contrast soils and siliceous and calcareous sands. Dead Black Box trees stand in shallow waters at the margins and Blue Rod and Sandhill Canegrass are the dominant plant species on the shores of the overflow lakes. The Menindee Lakes system was among the four most important wetland systems for waterbirds in annual aerial surveys across south-east Australia in 1988, 1993, 1995 and 1996, out of 18 years of surveys (1988-2005), with estimated numbers in 1983-1994 of 86,000 waterbirds at Lake Tandou, 77,000 at Lake Cawndilla, 58,000 at Lake Menindee and 35,000 at Stir Tank Lake, and a maximum of 221,781 waterbirds including about 40,000 small shorebirds in 1996. Waterbird numbers have been much lower in recent years because the lakes have held less water and there has been less natural variation in water levels. As a result, the lakes only just continue to meet IBA status.
The Menindee Lakes have supported large numbers of waterbirds including counts of 139,769 and 77,100 waterbirds at Lake Cawndilla (Birds Australia Murray-Darling Basin waterbird database; Kingsford et al. 1997), 86,000 waterbirds at Lake Tandou, 58,300 waterbirds at Lake Menindee, 35,000 waterbirds at Stir Tank Lake and 10,000 waterbirds at Nettlegoe Lake (Kingsford et al. 1997). One count of Australasian Shoveler over the 1% threshold: 11,200 at Lake Tandou in 1985, where 1316 in 1983; and one count of Australian Shelduck over the 1% threshold: 11,000 at Stir Tank Lake in 1985 (Kingsford & Porter 2006). Species recorded in moderate but sub-threshold numbers include the Freckled Duck (203 in 2002), Grey Teal (9200 in 1993), Pink-eared Duck (3757 in 1993), Pied Cormorant (2500 in 1993 and 3104 in 2002), Yellow-billed Spoonbill (460 in 1995), Eurasian Coot (9900 in 1993) and Black-winged Stilt (1600 in 1995) (Kingsford et al. 1994, 1997, 2003), and Pied Cormorant (3100 at Lake Cawndilla in 2002; Kingsford & Porter 2006). Terrestrial species recorded in the IBA include Australian Bustard, Black Honeyeater, Chirruping Wedgebill, Grey Falcon and Pied Honeyeater (Atlas of Australian Birds database).
Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
Manage the Menindee Lakes Water Storage Scheme in a manner that optimises waterbird habitats. Specifically, ensure adequate freshwater inflow and natural flooding cycles. Minimise human disturbance.
The IBA includes part of the Kinchega National Park.
State government (New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service, Department of Water and Energy) and private.
Richard Kingsford provided data and comments.
BirdLife International (2022) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Menindee Lakes. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 06/12/2022.