NATIONAL WILDERNESS RED INDEX

Published by the Colong Foundation for Wilderness Ltd. 30/09/94
Level 2, 332 Pitt Street, Sydney, NSW, 2000.
Ph (02) 9261 2400; Fax (02) 9261 2144.

Name:

STRZELECKI DESERT

Nominated by:

Not recorded

Location:

This area, an extensive dunefield stretching from just within the NSW border to its north-eastern boundary at Cooper Creek, contains three wilderness areas centred on Lake Hope, Lake Callabonna and Lake Frome.


Size
For size and tenure information contact the Colong Foundation.

DESCRIPTION

The Strzelecki desert is an extensive dunefield stretching from just within the
New South Wales border to ites north-eastern boundary at Cooper Creek. Its
southern edge is marked by a chain of interconnected salt lakes terminating in
Lake Frome. The desert is bisected in a roughly north-south direction by the
Strzelecki Creek along which the Strzelecki Track runs. Within the dunefields
are numerous small claypans.

Within the Strezelecki desert are three wilderness areas centered on Lake Hope,
Lake Callabonna and Lake Frome. [1]

The dunes of this region carry a mixture of tall shrublands of Sandhill Wattle
(Acacia ligulata), needlebush (Hakea spp.) and Whitewood (Atalaya hemiglauca).
Hummock grasslands of Sandhill Canegrass (Zygochloa paradoxa) and hard spinifex
(Triodia basedowii) are also present. The short-lived tufted kerosene grasses
(Aristida contorta and A. browniana) are characteristic understorey species,
along with herbs and undershrubs. The clay pans carry a wide range of vegetation
communities which vary according to soil type, salinity and frequency of
flooding.

Lake Frome is a playa salt lake occupying a tectonic depression. Gypsum dunes
occur along the eastern lake margins which are vegetated by tall open shrubland
of Sanhill Wattle (Acacia ligulata), mulga (Acacia aneura) and needlebush (Hakea
spp.) with an understorey of ephemeral herbs, saltbush and bluebush.

Into the north-eastern section of the desert extends a finger of woodland
vegetation from Cooper Creek to Lake Hope. This is a low open woodland
association of Coolibah (Eucalyptus microtheca) and Lignum (Muehlenbeckia
cunninghamii). [2]

Little information is available on the fauna of the area.

STATE FORESTS

ENDANGERED SPECIES

LAND USE HISTORY

CONSERVATION HISTORY

THREATS

FERAL ANIMALS
Foraging by feral animals has damaged the vegetation of the area. [3]

GRAZING
Much of the region is used for extensive livestock grazing which has contributed
to the degradation of the vegetation cover. [4]

ROADING
The Strzelecki Track was used essentially for station access, however the
discovery of oil and gas fields and the establishment of Moomba in the region
has led to more traffic. The "Track" is now a graded, unsealed road which,
together with the seismic tracks constructed as part of petroleum exploration
activities, has increased public access. [5]

CONTACTS

No contacts are recorded from that area.
ENDNOTES
1
Prineas, P., Lembit, R., Fisher, N., 1986, "Australia's Wilderness An
Inventory".

2
Prineas, 1986.

3
Prineas, 1986.

4
Prineas, 1986.

5
Prineas, 1986.

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