Rangeland inventory and condition survey of the lower Murchison River area, Western Australia

Page last updated: Friday, 27 July 2018 - 9:05am

The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development surveyed the lower Murchison River area between 2002 and 2003. This survey report provides land managers, advisors and administrators with a baseline record of the natural resources of the region’s pastoral leasehold land to assist with planning and implementing land management practices.

The department has surveyed and reported on 14 rangeland areas since 1972.

How to use this survey

Inventory and condition surveys provide the pastoral industry with the baseline information needed to plan sustainable use of natural resources and the protection of areas suffering from degradation or at risk of degradation.

Survey reports identify and describe the condition of soils, landforms, vegetation, habitat, ecosystems, and declared plants and animals. They also report on the impact of pastoralism and make land management recommendations, including estimated carrying capacities for each pastoral lease.

The department has surveyed and reported on 14 rangeland areas since 1972. Most of the rangeland pastoral leases have been surveyed, except for leases in the Southern Goldfields region and to the north-east of Wiluna-Meekatharra. The 15th rangeland survey — in the Southern Goldfields region, covering the area known as the Great Western Woodlands — is in progress and will be published in 2018.

Survey area and inventory summary

This survey report presents findings from a survey of about 13 000 square kilometres of rangeland country around the lower reaches of the Murchison River (and surrounds) and has been designated the ‘Lower Murchison River area’. The survey was undertaken by P Hennig between 2002 and 2003. It was published as Technical bulletin no. 96 An inventory and condition survey of the lower Murchison River area, Western Australia.

The western boundary of the survey area coincides with the rugged, almost continuous Zuytdorp Cliffs at the Indian Ocean. The eastern boundary borders the lower part of the Murchison River rangeland survey. The northern boundary adjoins the southern extremities of the Carnarvon Basin rangeland survey and the southern boundary links to agricultural cropping and grazing land, north of Geraldton.

The survey identifies 25 soil types throughout the survey area. By far the most dominant are the red and yellow sandplain soils. These soils range from shallow near the coast to deep further inland. The soils associated with the Murchison River range from deep loams to shallow loams and sand.

Twenty-seven vegetation types are identified. These are further summarised into 11 broad vegetation groups. The most common vegetation is acacia and eucalypt shrubland/woodland and heath communities on sandplain.

Condition summary

The survey report provides condition statements for the whole survey area and for each land system. Pasture and soil condition was assessed at a number of points throughout the survey area. Findings include:

  • about 82% of the pastoral area was in very good, good or fair rangeland condition
  • of the non-pastoral land, all was in very good, good or fair rangeland condition.

Contact information

Matthew Fletcher
+61 (0)8 9166 4019