Thomsons Lake

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Thomsons Lake
Location Perth , Western Australia
Coordinates 32°09′00″S115°49′45″E / 32.15000°S 115.82917°E / -32.15000; 115.82917 Coordinates: 32°09′00″S115°49′45″E / 32.15000°S 115.82917°E / -32.15000; 115.82917
Type Brackish seasonal groundwater
Primary outflows groundwater; evaporation
Basin  countriesAustralia
DesignationThomsons Lake Nature Reserve;
Forrestdale and Thomsons Lakes Ramsar Site
Max. length1.6 km (0.99 mi)
Max. width1.3 km (0.81 mi)
Surface area5.38 km2 (2.08 sq mi)
Surface elevation12 m (39 ft)

Thomsons Lake Nature Reserve is a lake nature reserve around Thomsons Lake in the City of Cockburn, Western Australia, approximately 25 kilometres (16 mi) south of the central business district of Perth, the state capital, and on the southern fringes of the Perth metropolitan area. It is in the suburb of Beeliar, 7 kilometres (4.3 mi) south-west of Jandakot Airport. It is a still largely natural wetland, with adjoining native vegetation, surrounded by land developed for housing and agriculture, that regularly supports large numbers of shorebirds and other waterbirds. [1]

Lake A body of relatively still water, in a basin surrounded by land

A lake is an area filled with water, localized in a basin, surrounded by land, apart from any river or other outlet that serves to feed or drain the lake. Lakes lie on land and are not part of the ocean, and therefore are distinct from lagoons, and are also larger and deeper than ponds, though there are no official or scientific definitions. Lakes can be contrasted with rivers or streams, which are usually flowing. Most lakes are fed and drained by rivers and streams.

Nature reserve Protected area for flora, fauna or features of geological interest

A nature reserve may also be known as a natural reserve, wildlife refuge or sanctuary, biosphere reserve (bioreserve), natural or nature preserve, or nature conservation area. It is a protected area of importance for flora, fauna, or features of geological or other special interest, which is reserved and managed for purposes of conservation and to provide special opportunities for study or research. Nature reserves may be designated by government institutions in some countries, or by private landowners, such as charities, and research institutions. Nature reserves fall into different IUCN categories depending on the level of protection afforded by local laws. Normally it is more strictly protected than a nature park. Various jurisdictions may use other terminology, such as ecological protection area or private protected area in legislation and in reserves' official names.

City of Cockburn Local government area in Western Australia

The City of Cockburn is a local government area in the southern suburbs of the Western Australian capital city of Perth about 8 kilometres (5 mi) south of Fremantle and about 24 kilometres (15 mi) south of Perth's central business district. The City covers an area of 167.5 square kilometres (64.7 sq mi) and had a population of over 104,000 as at the 2016 Census.



The lake is listed on the Register of the National Estate. With the similar Forrestdale Lake 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) to the east, it forms the Forrestdale and Thomsons Lakes Ramsar Site, designated under the Ramsar Convention on 7 June 1990 and recognising it as a wetland of international importance. [2] The lake and its surrounds are registered as Nature Reserve 15556, vested in the Conservation Commission of Western Australia and managed by the Department of Conservation and Land Management. The reserve is also part of the Beeliar Regional Park. [1]

The Register of the National Estate was a heritage register that listed natural and cultural heritage places in Australia that was closed in 2007. It has been replaced by the Australian National Heritage List and the Commonwealth Heritage List and various state and territory heritage registers.

Forrestdale Lake Nature Reserve is a lake nature reserve around Forrestdale Lake in the City of Armadale, Western Australia, approximately 25 kilometres (16 mi) south of the central business district of Perth, the state capital, and on the southern fringes of the Perth metropolitan area. It lies immediately south of the suburb of Forrestdale, and 8 kilometres (5.0 mi) south-east of Jandakot Airport. It is a still largely natural wetland, with some adjoining native vegetation, surrounded by land developed for housing and agriculture, that regularly supports large numbers of shorebirds and other waterbirds.

The Forrestdale and Thomsons Lakes Ramsar Site comprises two separate nature reserves, totalling 754 ha in area, protecting two shallow fresh to brackish, seasonal lakes in a suburban and agricultural landscape in south-western Western Australia. It lies in the Swan Coastal Plain bioregion and is used mainly for birdwatching and walking. The site is recognised as being of international importance under the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, under which it was designated Ramsar Site 481 on 7 June 1990.


Grey stinkwood Jacksonia furcellata.jpg
Grey stinkwood
Australasian bittern Bitterngould.jpg
Australasian bittern
Baillon's crake Baillon's crake.jpg
Baillon's crake

Thomsons Lake Nature Reserve, including the lake and adjacent woodland, has an area of 538 hectares (1,330 acres). The lake is a shallow, brackish, seasonal lake with a large area of open water when full. It has extensive fringing sedgeland typical of the Swan Coastal Plain, and is a major breeding site, migration stop-over and semi-permanent drought refuge area for waterbirds. It usually dries out during the summer, though occasionally retaining some water through the year. It is fenced to exclude feral predators. It is mainly used for birdwatching, nature walks, and general recreation by surrounding residents. Within the reserve there is a network of fire-breaks and management access tracks used for bushwalking, while horse riding is only allowed on a perimeter track outside the vermin-proof fence. [1]

Swan Coastal Plain

The Swan Coastal Plain in Western Australia is the geographic feature which contains the Swan River as it travels west to the Indian Ocean. The coastal plain continues well beyond the boundaries of the Swan River and its tributaries, as a geological and biological zone, one of Western Australia's Interim Biogeographic Regionalisation for Australia (IBRA) regions. It is also one of the distinct physiographic provinces of the larger West Australian Shield division.

A drought refuge is a site that provides permanent fresh water or moist conditions for plants and animals, acting as a refuge habitat when surrounding areas are affected by drought and allowing ecosystems and core species populations to survive until the drought breaks. Drought refuges are important for conserving ecosystems in places where the effects of climatic variability are exacerbated by human activities.

Firebreak natural or man-made gap in vegetation that acts as a barrier against wildfires

A firebreak is a gap in vegetation or other combustible material that acts as a barrier to slow or stop the progress of a bushfire or wildfire. A firebreak may occur naturally where there is a lack of vegetation or "fuel", such as a river, lake or canyon. Firebreaks may also be man-made, and many of these also serve as roads, such as a logging road, four-wheel drive trail, secondary road, or a highway.

Geology and hydrology

The lake occupies a depression between two dune systems – the Bassendean System to the east, and the younger Spearwood System to the west. These dunes are the result of the accumulation and subsequent distribution of beach sands along successive shorelines from a series of marine incursions combined with the prevailing westerly winds. Palaeobotanical studies show that the lake sediments are 30-40,000 years old, making them the oldest found in Western Australia. [1] The lake lies on the Jandakot Groundwater Mound - a region of elevated groundwater beneath the Swan Coastal Plain. [1]

Paleobotany branch of botany

Paleobotany, also spelled as palaeobotany, is the branch of botany dealing with the recovery and identification of plant remains from geological contexts, and their use for the biological reconstruction of past environments (paleogeography), and the evolutionary history of plants, with a bearing upon the evolution of life in general. A synonym is paleophytology. It is a component of paleontology and paleobiology. The prefix palaeo- means "ancient, old", and is derived from the Greek adjective παλαιός, palaios. Paleobotany includes the study of terrestrial plant fossils, as well as the study of prehistoric marine photoautotrophs, such as photosynthetic algae, seaweeds or kelp. A closely related field is palynology, which is the study of fossilized and extant spores and pollen.

The Jandakot Mound, or Jandakot Groundwater Mound, is an unconfined aquifer in south-western Western Australia. It is the smaller of the two main shallow aquifers near Perth that together supply about 40% of Perth's drinking water. Its highest point lies about 18 km south of Perth’s central business district. It stretches from the Swan River in the north to the Serpentine River in the south, and from the Indian Ocean in the west to the Darling Scarp and Southern River in the east, covering an area of about 760 km2.

Flora and fauna

Water milfoil grows abundantly in the lake. The fringing zone around the edge is characterised by the introduced bulrush Typha orientalis and the sedge Baumea articulata . When water levels drop, the club-rush Bolboschoenus caldwellii becomes established on the exposed mudflats within the fringing zone, while behind it is a belt of Baumea juncea and Baumea articulata with emergent native broom and shrubs of orange wattle. Behind these is a belt of the trees flooded gum and stout paperbark, and the shrub grey stinkwood. On higher ground these are replaced by open forest or woodland dominated by jarrah, firewood banksia and candlestick banksia. Some 476 vascular plants (including 133 introduced weeds) from 81 families have been recorded in the reserve. [1]

<i>Myriophyllum</i> genus of plants

Myriophyllum (watermilfoil) is a genus of about 69 species of freshwater aquatic plants, with a cosmopolitan distribution. The center of diversity for Myriophyllum is Australia with 43 recognized species.

Introduced species species introduced either deliberately or accidentally through human activity

An introduced species, alien species, exotic species, foreign species, non-indigenous species, or non-native species is a species living outside its native distributional range, but which has arrived there by human activity, either deliberate or accidental. Non-native species can have various effects on the local ecosystem. Introduced species that become established and spread beyond the place of introduction are called invasive species. The process of human-caused introduction is distinguished from biological colonization, in which species spread to new areas through "natural" (non-human) means such as storms and rafting.

<i>Typha</i> genus of plants

Typha is a genus of about 30 species of monocotyledonous flowering plants in the family Typhaceae. These plants have a variety of common names, in British English as bulrush or reedmace, in American English as reed, cattail,, or punks, in Australia as cumbungi or bulrush, in Canada as bulrush or cattail, and in New Zealand as raupō. Other taxa of plants may be known as bulrush, including some sedges in Scirpus and related genera.

The lake is one of the last refuges for the endangered Australasian bittern on the Swan Coastal Plain; it is the only wetland in the Perth metropolitan area where the marsh harrier still breeds, and one of few known breeding sites for Baillon's crake. It regularly supports more than 1% of the national population of four shorebirds: red-capped plover (with up to 1,000 counted), black-winged stilt (3,000), red-necked avocet (3,000), and curlew sandpiper (2,500). The lake often holds more than 10,000 waterbirds, with the highest number counted over 20,000. The most numerous are Australian shelduck (with up to 1,600 counted), Pacific black duck (4,500), grey teal (6,000), Australasian shoveler (2,000), and Eurasian coot (7,000). The reserve contains a population of western grey kangaroos. The long-necked tortoise is present. Six frog species and up to 80 aquatic invertebrate taxa have been recorded. [1] [2]

Australasian bittern species of bird

The Australasian bittern, also known as the brown bittern or matuku hūrepo, is a large bird in the heron family Ardeidae. A secretive bird with a distinctive booming call, it is more often heard than seen. Australasian bitterns are endangered in both Australia and New Zealand.

Marsh harrier

The marsh harriers are birds of prey of the harrier subfamily. They are medium-sized raptors and the largest and broadest-winged harriers. Most of them are associated with marshland and dense reedbeds. They are found almost worldwide, excluding only the Americas.

Baillons crake species of bird

The Baillon's crake, or Marsh crake is a very small waterbird of the family Rallidae.

See also

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  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 "Information Sheet on Ramsar Wetlands: Forrestdale and Thomsons Lakes". Department of Conservation and Land Management, Western Australia. November 2003. Archived from the original on 13 March 2011. Retrieved 26 April 2010.
  2. 1 2 "The Annotated Ramsar List: Australia". The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands. 4 January 2000. Retrieved 11 May 2010.