Mallee Cliffs

Mallee Cliffs

Overview

Mallee Cliffs National Park is managed under a historic partnership between the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service and AWC. The agreement provides a new, ground breaking model for collaboration between the public and private (non-profit) sector. A feature of the partnership will be the establishment of a large (8,000 ha) feral predator-free project area within the national park and the reintroduction of at least ten mammal species that have been extinct in Mallee Cliffs for more than a century. This program forms part of the NSW Government’s Saving the Species program.

Established as a National Park in 1977, Mallee Cliffs holds significant conservation value. It contains an array of different habitats, from rolling red sandy plains and golden spinifex-covered dunes through to pockets of thick, old-growth Mallee woodlands. This habitat protects a diverse range of threatened and declining species including the Western Pygmy Possum, Southern Ningaui and Malleefowl.

Key vitals

Size/area:
57,969 hectares
Mammals:
18
Bioregion:
Murray Darling Depression
Birds:
123
Ecosystems:
TBD
Reptiles:
69
Plants:
>270
Amphibians:
5
Threatened plants:
TBD
Threatened wildlife:
28

Wildlife

Mallee Cliffs is a hotspot for bird watching where threatened birds such as Major Mitchell’s Cockatoo and the Hooded Robin can be spotted, and the songs of the Gilbert’s Whistler and Varied Sittella can be heard through the Mallee. Mallee Cliffs also contains important habitat for the endangered Malleefowl.

Since European settlement, the impact of feral predators, habitat loss and feral herbivores on the mammal fauna of the Murray Darling basin has been significant.  In Western NSW, almost half of all mammal species (excluding bats) have disappeared.  At Mallee Cliffs, the surviving mammal species include Southern Ningaui and the Western Pygmy Possum, as well as large macropods such as the Red Kangaroo and Eastern and Western Grey Kangaroo.

Mallee Cliffs has lost almost its entire suite of small to medium-sized mammals, primarily as a result of predation by feral cats and foxes.  AWC plans to reintroduce at least ten species of threatened mammals to a large feral predator-free fenced area in Mallee Cliffs, including the Western Barred Bandicoot, Bilby, Brush-tailed Bettong, Bridled Nailtail Wallaby, Numbat and Burrowing Bettong.  Most of these species have not been found in NSW national parks for over a century. These species will help restore a number of important ecological processes, dispersing seeds and spores, and helping retain nutrients and water.

Click below to view the list of wildlife species at Mallee Cliffs:
Mammals List  |  Birds List  |  Reptiles List  |  Amphibians List  |  Threatened List

 

 

Measures of success: Ecological Health

Mallee Cliffs landscape
Mallee Cliffs landscape

AWC is the only conservation organisation to measure in a robust scientific manner the ecological health of a network of sanctuaries.  AWC field ecologists will measure the ecological health of Mallee Cliffs over time. In particular, we will measure:

  • The populations of reintroduced mammals such as Bilbies, Numbats and Bridled Nailtail Wallabies - we estimate that this project will deliver substantial increases in the remaining populations of at least 10 nationally threatened species (including doubling the population of two species).
  • A range of other ecological health indicators including threat metrics (e.g. density/activity of feral animals) and biodiversity indicators (e.g. the population of important species like Malleefowl).

Field programs

AWC is the only conservation organisation to measure in a robust scientific manner the ecological health of a network of sanctuaries. AWC field ecologists will measure the ecological health of Mallee Cliffs over time. In particular, we will measure:

  • The populations of reintroduced mammals such as Bilbies, Numbats and Bridled Nailtail Wallabies - we estimate that this project will deliver substantial increases in the remaining populations of at least 10 nationally threatened species (including doubling the population of two species).
  • A range of other ecological health indicators including threat metrics (eg, density/activity of feral animals) and biodiversity indicators (eg, the population of important species like Barking Owls and Malleefowl).

 

General description

Mallee Cliffs covers 57 969 ha and is located approximately 30 km from Mildura in the south-west of NSW. It comprises extensive areas of flat to undulating red sandy plains and sand dunes, and protects two primary vegetation communities typical of the region, Mallee woodlands and Belah-Rosewood woodland. 

Most of Mallee Cliffs National Park was burnt by wildfire in 1974/75, and another fire burnt the western portion of the Park in 1977. Since then, there has been no fires outside of some small-area prescribed burns.

Mallee Cliffs occurs in a semi-arid zone, where the annual rainfall is highly variable, ranging from 115-705 mm. There are no permanent streams or natural water bodies within the national park. The region experiences hot summers (December-March) with mean daily maximum temperatures exceeding 30°C and a maximum recorded temperature of 50.7°C.

Ecosystems and plants

Mallee Cliffs contains around 240 species of native plants. The majority of the vegetation (60%) is dominated by a mixture of three Mallee tree species; Yorrell, White Mallee and Red Mallee. A lesser proportion of this woodland (16%) is characterised by the dominant occurrence of Spinifex in the understorey. A smaller section of the park (13%) is comprised of Belah-Rosewood woodland and 10% is herb-land that has been impacted by previous grazing.

 

Staff