Rangeland inventory and condition survey of the north-eastern Goldfields, Western Australia

Page last updated: Wednesday, 25 July 2018 - 10:00am

The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development surveyed the north-eastern Goldfields between 1988 and 1990. The report provides land managers, advisors and administrators with a baseline inventory 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 can assist people in the pastoral industry to plan the sustainable use of natural resources and the protection of those areas suffering from degradation or at risk of degradation.

The north-eastern Goldfields survey was undertaken between 1988 and 1990 by H Pringle, S Gilligan and AME Van Vreeswyk. The survey was published in 1994 as Technical bulletin 87 An inventory and condition survey of rangelands in the north-eastern Goldfields, Western Australia.

The survey report identifies and describes the condition of soils, landforms, vegetation, habitat, ecosystems, and declared plants and animals. It also assesses the impact of pastoralism and makes land management recommendations, including recommended carrying capacities for each pastoral lease.

The department has surveyed and reported on 14 rangeland areas since 1972. Most of Western Australia’s rangeland pastoral leases have been surveyed, except for pastoral 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

The area surveyed covers about 100 570 square kilometres and encompasses most or all of the following salt lake systems: Lake Ballard, Lake Rebecca, Lake Marmion, Lake Raeside, Lake Darlot and Lake Carey. There are no major river catchments in the area.

Pastoralism is the most extensive land use in the survey area, covering about 83 322 square kilometres (83%). The principal soil types of the survey area are deep earthy red sands on sandplains and shallow red earths overlying hardpan on level to gently inclined plains.   

The major vegetation communities are spinifex hummock grasslands, wanderrie tussock grasslands, usually with an overstorey of mulga (Acacia aneura)), mulga tall shrublands/woodlands, chenopod low/mid shrublands and eucalypt/Casuarina cristata (black oak) woodlands. The most common and abundant genera include Acacia, Atriplex, Cassia, Eremophila, Eucalyptus, Maireana and Triodia. 

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 more than 12 000 points throughout the survey area. Findings include:

  • 39% of these points were in good rangeland condition
  • 33% were in fair rangeland condition
  • 28% were in poor rangeland condition.

Contact information

Matthew Fletcher
+61 (0)8 9166 4019

Rangeland inventory and condition survey of the north-eastern Goldfields, Western Australia