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Plants and Animals of the Georges River

Vegetation

The Georges River flows through a very varied landscape from the almost fully urbanised lower coastal reaches through to the steep sided heavily wooded upper reaches near Appin.  Vegetation communities in the catchment are primarily influenced by the distribution of shale (Cumberland Plain) and sandstone (Woronora Plateau) geologies.  Many of these communities have been listed under the NSW Threatened Species Conservation Act (1995), particularly those communities located on the Cumberland Plain.

The vegetation of the Georges River catchment can be grouped into the following categories based on their underlying soils:Angophora Costata on rock Georges River National Park

  • Shale communities - Frequently dominated by Eucalyptus moluccana, Eucalyptus tereticornis, Eucalyptus saligna, Eucalyptus pilularis and Eucalyptus crebra.  A good example of a shale community can be found at Lansdowne.
  • Shale/sandstone transitional communities - dominated by Eucalyptus punctata, Eucalyptus fibrosa, Eucalyptus paniculata, Angophora bakeri and Melaleuca nodosa.  Some examples of shale/sandstone transition communities can be seen at Ingleburn and Minto Heights in the upper reaches of the Georges River Catchment.
  • Communities on Tertiary Alluvium - dominated by Eucalyptus moluccana, Eucalyptus fibrosa, Eucalyptus longifolia, Eucalyptus eugenioides and Melaleuca nodosa.
  • Riparian communities - dominated by Casuarina glauca, Angophora floribunda, Eucalyptus amplifolia, Eucalyptus botryoides, and various Melaleuca spp.  A good example of a riparian community can be found at Deepwater Park.
  • Sandstone communities - dominated by Angophora costata, Eucalyptus piperita,  Corymbia gummifera, and Eucalyptus sclerophylla, and Banksia serrataA good example of a sandstone community can be found in the Georges River National Park. 
  • Estuarine communities - These include mangrove and Salt Marsh communities.  Dominated by Avicennia marina, and Sarcocornia quinqueflora.  Excellent mangrove and slat marsh ecosystems can be found right along the lower reaches of the river to Botany Bay.
  • Freshwater Communities - Melaleuca linariifolia, Melaleuca. styphelioides and Casuarina glauca, and ground species including Juncus usitatus and Persicaria spp are dominant in occasionally inundated areas, with Eleocharis sphacelata and Ludwigia peploides in permanent wetlands.  Some good examples can be found around Voyager Point and Hammondville.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Fauna

These different vegetation associations provide a wide range of habitats for native animals.  There are 352 species of fauna (both aquatic and terrestrial) recorded within the Georges River Catchment, many of which have been listed under the NSW Threatened Species Conservation Act (1995).  The diversity and richness of fauna varies considerably from the coastal areas, to the urban fringes, to the relative wilderness of some of the upstream areas of the catchment.

Some species of note that have been found in surveys include Koala, Green and Golden Bell Frog, Turquoise Parrot, Squirrel Glider, Eastern Horseshoe-bat, and the Glossy Black-Cockatoo.

For more information on the terrestrial and aquatic biodiversity of the Georges River visit NSW Department of Planning.  The NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service also have an online Atlas of NSW Wildlife that contains recorded sightings of plants, mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and endangered invertebrates in New South Wales.

Threatened Flora and Fauna of the Georges River Catchment

Within NSW there are two pieces of legislation governing the listing of species' as endangered.  The Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, and the NSW Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995. Additionally, the NSW Fisheries Act 1994 provides for the protection of aquatic habitats which includes Mangroves.

Flora

There are approximately 135 threatened plant species found in the Georges River catchment including the native Rice Flower (Pimelea spicata), a Geebung (Persoonia nutans), White Cynanchum (Cynanchum elegans), and the Sydney Plains Greenhood Orchid (Pterostylis saxicola).

Endangered Ecological Communities

Several Endangered Ecological Communities (EEC's) are found in the Georges River Catchment.

  • Agnes Banks Woodland
  • Blue Gum High Forest
  • Castlereagh Swamp Woodland
  • Coastal Salt MarshMangrove
  • Cumberland Plain Woodland
  • Mangroves
  • Moist Shale Woodland in the Sydney Basin Bioregion
  • O’Hares Creek Shale Forest
  • Sandstone Transition Forest
  • Shale Gravel Transition Forest
  • Shale/Sandstone Transition Forest
  • Southern Sydney sheltered Forest
  • Swamp Oak Floodplain Forest
  • Swamp sclerophyll Forest
  • Sydney Coastal River Flat Forest
  • Sydney Freshwater wetlands
  • Sydney Turpentine–Ironbark Forest

Fauna

A large number of endangered animals can also be found within the Georges River Catchment.  Below is a list of most of the threatened fauna.

 

Bat

Common Bent-wing Bat

Miniopterus schreibersii

Bat

Eastern Freetail-bat

Mormopterus norfolkensis

Bat

Eastern False Pipistrelle

Falsistrellus tasmaniensis

Bat

Greater Broad-nosed Bat

Scoteanax rueppellii

Bat

Grey-headed Flying Fox

Pteropus poliocephalus

Bat

Large-eared Pied Bat

Chalinolobus dwyeri

Bat

Large-footed Myotis

Myotis macropus

Bat

Yellow-bellied Sheath-tail-bat

Saccolaimus flaviventris

Bird

Australasian Bittern

Botaurus poiciloptilus

Bird

Barking Owl

Ninox connivens

Bird

Beach Stone-curlew

Esacus neglectus

Bird

Black-tailed Godwit

Limosa limosa

Bird

Broad-billed Sandpiper

Limicola falcinellus

Bird

Bush Stone-curlew

Burhinus grallarius

Bird

Glossy Black-Cockatoo

Calyptorhynchus lathami

Bird

Great Knot

Calidris tenuirostris

Bird

Greater Sand Plover

Charadrius leschenaultii

Bird

Little Tern

Sterna albifrons

Bird

Masked Owl

Tyto novaehollandiae

Bird

Pied Oystercatcher

Haematopus longirostris

Bird

Powerful owl

Ninox strenua

Bird

Regent Honeyeater

Xanthomyza phrygia

Bird

Sooty Owl

Tyto tenebricosa

Bird

Sooty Oystercatcher

Haematopus fuliginosus

Bird

Striated Field Wren

Calamanthus fuliginosus

Bird

Swift Parrot

Lathamus discolor

Bird

Turquoise Parrot

Neophema pulchella

Frog

Giant Burrowing Frog

Heleioporus australiacus

Frog

Green & Golden Bell Frog

Litoria aurea

Frog

Heath Frog

Litoria Littlejohni

Frog

Red-crowned Toadlet

Pseudophryne australis

Mammal

Eastern Pygmy Possum

Cercartetus nanus

Mammal

Koala

Phascolarctos cinereus

Mammal

Squirrel Glider

Petaurus norfolcensis

Mammal

Spotted-tailed Quoll

Dasyurus maculatus

Mammal

Yellow-bellied Glider

Petaurus australis

Reptile

Broad-headed Snake

Hoplocephalus bungaroides

Reptile

Rosenberg's Goanna

Varanus rosenbergi

  

Tawny Frogmouth