Lake Bathurst This is an IBA in danger! 


Country/territory: Australia

IBA Criteria met: A1, A4i (2009)
For more information about IBA criteria please click here

Area: 1,902 ha

Protection status:

BirdLife Australia
Most recent IBA monitoring assessment
Year of assessment Threat score (pressure) Condition score (state) Action score (response)
2017 very high very unfavourable negligible
For more information about IBA monitoring please click here


Site description
The IBA includes the main body Lake Bathurst and an adjacent separate body of water known as the Morass, located between Canberra and Sydney. Lake Bathurst is a large, shallow permanent lake occurring near Tarago on the Southern Tablelands of New South Wales, at the southernmost extremity of the Nepean-Hawkesbury catchment, approximately 1km east of Mulwaree River. With a maximum depth of 7m, it is relatively shallow and lies in a basin of internal drainage. The location, size, hydrology and biological diversity of Lake Bathurst and nearby Lake George are unique to the Southern Tablelands; the nearest large natural lake is Lake Cowal, 300km to the north-west. Unlike Lake George, Lake Bathurst has sandier sediments, relatively clear water and low salinity. Rushes (Juncus spp.) grow in the boggiest parts of the lake and pasture species and weeds dominate much of the lake margins. Submerged aquatic vegetation includes Ribbonweed (Vallisneria gigantea) in the deeper sections of the lake, and Sea Tassel (Ruppia megacarpa) and Pondweed (Potamogeton sp.) when the lake is inundated. When dry the lake predominantly supports the herb Selliera radicans and Devils Twine (Cassytha sp.) (Stricker & Wall 1994). The lake is an important waterbird habitat through its availability as a refuge when distant wetlands are dry and it provides habitat for significant breeding activity for some species of waterbirds. The lake is about 20 km east of Lake George, a larger wetland which has been inundated too irregularly and has supported significant numbers of waterbirds too infrequently over the past 25 years to qualify as an IBA (e.g. Freckled Duck, Australasian Shoveler and Australasian Bittern numbers have exceeded thresholds in only two seasons over this time span).

Key biodiversity
Other species which have once met IBA thresholds include Freckled Duck (486 in 1985/86), Black Swan (11,115 in 1995/96), Chestnut Teal (1165 in 1996/97) and Sharp-tailed Sandpiper (4477 in 1995/96). Other species with maximum numbers recorded include Musk Duck (295), Australian Shelduck (1456), Pink-eared Duck (3255), Hardhead (600), Hoary-headed Grebe (3643), Eurasian Coot (15,800), 28 wader species including Red-necked Stint (935), Curlew Sandpiper (450), Black-winged Stilt (859), Banded Lapwing (67) and up to 3500 breeding Silver Gulls. The lake has supported more than 20,000 waterbirds in 10 seasons between 1980-2005. Non-waterbird species recorded in the IBA include the near threatened Flame Robin and Diamond Firetail, both of which are uncommon (Atlas of Australian Birds database).


Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2018) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Lake Bathurst. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 17/12/2018.