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Shoalwater and Corio Bays Area Ramsar internationally important wetland

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Overview

In 1996, the international importance of the Shoalwater and Corio Bays wetlands was recognised with the designation of a Ramsar site over the area. The site is one of the largest and most ecologically rich coastal wetland sites in Queensland. This near pristine area covers over 200,000 hectares and stretches along 330 kilometres of coastline between Rockhampton and Mackay on the central Queensland coast. The wetlands are especially rich in wildlife because tropical and subtropical species overlap on Queensland’s central coast. Many wetland types are found in the Shoalwater and Corio Bays Area:

These include:

  • fringing coral reefs
  • shallow open water with seagrass beds
  • rocky shores, beaches and sandbars
  • intertidal mudflats and sandflats
  • mangrove forests and melaleuca woodland
  • freshwater lagoons, swamps and streams on elevated sandplains.

Further information about the wetland values and management of the site can be found in the documents below:

The Shoalwater and Corio Bays Area Ramsar Information Sheet (2017) (RIS) describes the legal boundary of the site and outlines justification for the listing. The RIS also describes the ecological character, threats, conservation measures and use of the site.

The Shoalwater and Corio Bays Area Ecological Character Description (2010) (ECD) describes the ecological character of the wetland at the time it was listed. The ECD is a fundamental management tool for site managers, forming the basis of management planning and action as well as including guidance on monitoring to detect changes in the ecological character of the site.

The Shoalwater and Corio Bays Area: A wetland of international importance factsheet provides a summary of the importance of the site.

The Fitzroy Basin Association (FBA) facilitates a Ramsar Management Advisory Group (RMAG) to bring together key stakeholders for site management. FBA has also developed a portal to increase awareness of the site’s significance. The portal contains educational information to highlight condition and threats and is seen as a way of providing tools to improve collaborative efforts in site management.Management is currently addressed in various plans and strategies. Much of the site is included within the Shoal Water Bay Training Area (SWBTA). The SWBTA section is managed by the Australian Government in accordance with a national Environmental Management System (EMS) for defence lands. The Ramsar listing for parts of the training area is recognised as a key aspect of site management.

Queensland manages the Corio Bay part of the site through the Byfield National Park Management Plan.

The marine and estuarine waters of the site are jointly managed by the Australian and Queensland Government. Areas below mean low water (MLW) are within the Australian Government’s Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. These areas are managed by agreement between the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) and QPWS in accordance with the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Zoning Plan 2003. The marine and estuarine waters are also within the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area (GBRWHA) which was listed as a World Heritage Area in 1981.

An Inventory of Instream Structures Impacting on Ramsar Wetlands shows the location and impacts of structures on the Ramsar site and has a Response Action Plan that nominates specific actions to protect wetland values in Shoalwater and Corio Bay.

Additional resources can be found at the following links:

Wetlands International provides a useful tool for preparing reports on specific aspects of the site.

Catchment stories info

Wetland extents info metadata

Based on wetland mapping version 4.0

Shoalwater and Corio Bays Area Ramsar internationally important wetland wetland area by system 2013
System Area (km²) % wetlands area % total area
Total 283.6 100.0% 14.0%
Estuarine 241.0 85.0% 11.9%
Palustrine 29.9 10.5% 1.5%
Riverine 12.7 4.5% 0.6%

There are approximately 202 lacustrine/palustrine wetlands in this region.

Shoalwater and Corio Bays Area Ramsar internationally important wetland wetland area by habitat 2013
Habitat Area (km²) % wetlands area % total area
Total 283.6 100.0% 14.0%
Estuarine - mangroves and related tree communities 214.7 75.7% 10.6%
Estuarine - salt flats and saltmarshes 26.3 9.3% 1.3%
Coastal and sub-coastal saline swamp 2.0 0.7% 0.1%
Coastal and sub-coastal non-floodplain tree swamp—Melaleuca spp. and Eucalypus spp. 15.4 5.4% 0.8%
Coastal and sub-coastal non-floodplain wet heath swamp 8.7 3.1% 0.4%
Coastal and sub-coastal non-floodplain grass sedge and herb swamp 1.1 0.4% 0.1%
Coastal and sub-coastal floodplain tree swamp—Melaleuca spp. and Eucalypus spp. 2.6 0.9% 0.1%
Riverine 12.7 4.5% 0.6%

Disclaimer

Areas do not include marine or estuarine waters but do include estuarine wetland vegetation
(e.g. mangroves and tidal flats).

Areas are approximate and calculated using the GDA94 / Australian Albers projection.

Areas may change over time as mapping approaches improve.

Totals may not match the sum of individually displayed figures due to the rounding of displayed figures.

Wetland extent changes

Shoalwater and Corio Bays Area Ramsar internationally important wetland wetland extent change by system
System 2013 area
(km²)
2009 area
(km²)
2005 area
(km²)
2001 area
(km²)
2013/pre-clear
percentage
Total 283.6 283.6 283.6 283.7 100.0%
Estuarine 241.0 241.0 241.0 241.0 100.0%
Palustrine 29.9 29.9 29.9 29.9 100.0%
Riverine 12.7 12.7 12.7 12.7 99.9%
Shoalwater and Corio Bays Area Ramsar internationally important wetland wetland extent change by habitat
Habitat 2013 area
(km²)
2009 area
(km²)
2005 area
(km²)
2001 area
(km²)
Total 283.6 283.6 283.6 283.7
Estuarine - mangroves and related tree communities 214.7 214.7 214.7 214.7
Estuarine - salt flats and saltmarshes 26.3 26.3 26.3 26.3
Coastal and sub-coastal saline swamp 2.0 2.0 2.0 2.0
Coastal and sub-coastal non-floodplain tree swamp—Melaleuca spp. and Eucalypus spp. 15.4 15.4 15.4 15.4
Coastal and sub-coastal non-floodplain wet heath swamp 8.7 8.7 8.7 8.7
Coastal and sub-coastal non-floodplain grass sedge and herb swamp 1.1 1.1 1.1 1.1
Coastal and sub-coastal floodplain tree swamp—Melaleuca spp. and Eucalypus spp. 2.6 2.6 2.6 2.6
Riverine 12.7 12.7 12.7 12.7

Disclaimer

Areas do not include marine or estuarine waters but do include estuarine wetland vegetation
(e.g. mangroves and tidal flats).

Areas are approximate and calculated using the GDA94 / Australian Albers projection.

Areas may change over time as mapping approaches improve.

Totals may not match the sum of individually displayed figures due to the rounding of displayed figures.

Wildlife

Kingdom
Class
Native Introduced Wetland
indicator
species
Rare or
threatened
species
All
TOTAL 2112 190 293 49 2302
Animals 546 13 125 34 559
Mammals 60 8 4 9 68
Birds 312 3 74 19 315
Reptiles 85 1 6 4 86
Amphibians 23 1 11 1 24
Ray-finned fishes 29 0 29 1 29
Lampreys 1 0 1 0 1
Insects 36 0 0 0 36
Fungi 60 0 0 0 60
Plants 1504 177 168 15 1681
Protists 2 0 0 0 2

Note: Wildlife statistics are based on information that has been submitted to the DES WildNet database and converted to a 10km² grid. The grid information has been intersected with the mapping polygons to determine the species lists. Click here to view the species grid metadata.

Information from WildNet can also be accessed via Wildlife Online and WetlandMaps.

Rare or threatened includes species listed as extinct, extinct in the wild, critically endangered, endangered, vulnerable or conservation dependent under either the Nature Conservation Act or Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act

Disclaimer: While every care is taken to ensure the accuracy of this product, the Queensland Government and Australian Government make no representations or warranties about its accuracy, reliability, completeness or suitability for any particular purpose and disclaim all responsibility and all liability (including without limitation, liability in negligence) for all expenses, losses, damages (including indirect or consequential damage) and costs which might be incurred as a consequence of reliance on the product, or as a result of the product being inaccurate or incomplete in any way and for any reason.

AreaType-ramsar-wetland

This page should be cited as:

Shoalwater and Corio Bays Area Ramsar internationally important wetland — facts and maps, WetlandInfo, Department of Environment and Science, Queensland, viewed 14 December 2018, <https://wetlandinfo.des.qld.gov.au/wetlands/facts-maps/ramsar-wetland-shoalwater-and-corio-bays-area/>.

Queensland Government
WetlandInfo   —   Department of Environment and Science