The IBA is almost identical to Lake McLarty Nature Reserve, which is situated in the Peel-Yalgorup wetlands on the Swan coastal plain, south of Perth. The boundary of the reserve, and the IBA, extends to 40 m beyond the high water level of Lake McLarty. Lake McLarty is a small, shallow, gently-sloping freshwater lake with a silty substrate. The IBA also overlaps a small unnamed reserve. The IBA is separated from nearby Harvey Estuary by a 600 m dune ridge. Grazing by cattle in recent decades has replaced the original Typha and sedge fringes by open water and mud, to the advantage of most wader species. Melaleuca woodland extends along 80-90% of the margin. There is some inflow from a drainage ditch to the south, and there is a small outflow channel to the estuary. The lake dries out for up to three months in the summer/autumn most years. Adjacent bushland in the McLarty and Kooljerrenup Nature Reserves is valuable habitat for various birds but does not meet the IBA criteria. Otherwise much of the surrounds are cattle-grazed farmland and some cattle wander freely through the IBA. The IBA is part of the Peel-Yalgorup Ramsar site.
High counts of other waterbirds include: Australian Shelduck (max 9432 in 1997, 5766 in 1996 and 4500 in 1992), Grey Teal (max 18,400 in 2002 and 15,400 in 1998), Australian Shoveler (max 810 in 1998 and 796 in 2005), Pacific Black Duck (852-8034 in 2006), Australasian Shoveler (338-810 in 1998), Hoary-headed Grebe (352-3386 in 1998), Eurasian Coot (223-10000 in 1995), Curlew Sandpiper (173-3000 in 1989), Long-toed Stint (max 96 in 1992), Wood Sandpiper (max 112 in 1993), Banded Stilt (max 5500 in 2004 and 2005), Red-kneed Dotterel (max 90 in 1986), Black-fronted Dotterel (max 100 in 1993); totaling 39,000 waterbirds in 2002 and 34,000 in 1997 and 30,000 in 1998.
Levels of ground-water abstraction must be regulated to allow regular natural flooding. Active management, such as cattle grazing, should be investigated to maintain suitable habitat for shorebirds.
Conservation responses/actions for key biodiversity
Long-term waterbird monitoring undertaken by Birds Australia Western Australia Group. Riparian restoration plantings undertaken by Department of Environment and Conservation and Peel Preservation Group.
The IBA overlaps much of the Lake McLarty Nature Reserve. There is also a small overlap with the Unnamed Reserve (No. 44978).
West Australian Government with management the responsibility of Department of Environment and Conservation.
Thanks to Michael Craig for preparing the nomination and to Bill Russell and Jim Darnell for their assistance.
BirdLife International (2022) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Lake McLarty. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 28/11/2022.