Ross River Dam

Country/territory: Australia

IBA Criteria met: -
For more information about IBA criteria please click here

Area: 37,492 ha

Protection status:

BirdLife Australia

Site description
This IBA is defined as the low-lying land, with suitable habitat for Black-throated Finch, around the Ross River Dam about 20 km south of Townsville. The boundary includes the reservoir, extending to about 2 km north of the dam, then east across the edge of the hills of Mount Stuart Training Area to 1 km south of Brookhill, then around the south of Mount Jack and north-east to Rocky Springs Station, south to include all of the flat land west of the Sisters Mountains and Mount Elliot Range, as far south as the wetlands west of Barringha and Woodstock, north again to include the Ross River Dam catchment south of the reservoir, and south-west up the Central Creek as far as Springs Yard, Beyonda and Granite Vale Stations. The reservoir is a large shallow freshwater lake created by the damming of Ross River for flood mitigation and water storage for Townsville, and has a variable water level. The IBA is mostly low-lying savanna grasslands and woodlands, much of which is periodically inundated in the wet season monsoon. The area has benefited from the low intensity use of the water catchment, especially the water reserve, but is now bisected by the A6 Flinders Highway and includes the residential development areas of Barringha, Woodstock and Oak Valley (including the small Oak Valley reserve).

Key biodiversity
The dam has held regionally significant numbers of waterbird including up to 2000 Cotton Pygmy-geese, 5000-10,000 Hardhead, 50 Great Crested Grebes, 5000-10,000 Eurasian Coot and small numbers of Black-necked Stork. Savanna-restricted birds that occur rarely include Banded Honeyeater and White-browed Robin. This is one of few IBAs to support Squatter Pigeons. Other notable species recorded in the IBA are Macleay's Honeyeater, Pale-yellow Robin and Yellow-spotted Honeyeater (Atlas of Australian Birds database).

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2020) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Ross River Dam. Downloaded from on 05/07/2020.