Maroota Sands Swamp Forest

 Maroota Sands Swamp Forest
Image: Steve Douglas
© Steve Douglas

A Near Pristine Spring-Fed Catchment

The following information has been adapted from Marianne Muir's paper "Protecting the Cleanest Waterway in Sydney – A Community’s Story" (http://www.riversymposium.com/index.php?element=Muir).

From Maroota, three watersheds flow to the Hawkesbury River. The area is unique environmentally: a sandmass from an ancient river palaeochannel is found at the top of the ridge. Intrinsically associated with the Tertiary Sand deposit is an aquifer generating freshwater springs (Etheridge, 1980 - see Geology for full reference). These springs provide continuous water flow to local creeks, thereby supporting abundant biodiversity downstream in all directions from Maroota. Some of this biodiversity appears to be unique to Maroota. For example, the Maroota Sands Swamp Forest, which is dominated by Eucalyptus robusta (a species more commonly found on river flats), is listed as an Endangered Ecological Community under the Threatened Species Act.

Maroota Sands swamp forest - endangered ecological community listing 

The following information has been imported from the NSW Department of Environment and Climate Change endangered ecological community web page (http://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/npws.nsf/Content/Maroota+ Sands+Swamp+Forest+endangered+ecological+community+listing; see also http://www.threatenedspecies.environment.nsw.gov.au/tsprofile/

"In 1997 the NSW Scientific Committee, established by the Threatened Species Conservation Act made a Final Determination to list the Maroota Sands Swamp Forest as an ENDANGERED ECOLOGICAL COMMUNITY under Schedule 1, Part 3 of the Act. Listing of Endangered Ecological Communities is provided for by Section 12 of the Act.

The Ecological Community which is the subject of the proposal is:

1. A Forest to Open-forest with a canopy dominated by swamp mahogany Eucalyptus robusta. 

2. The community occupies an area of about two hectares within Crown Water Reserve 35733 and the adjoining Portion 198 in the Parish of Cornelia at Maroota.

3. The community is found on the Maroota Sandmass along a drainage line.

4. A list of the assemblage of vascular plants is provided below:-

  • Acacia ulicifolia
  • Acacia linifolia
  • Acacia rubida
  • Allocasuarina torulosa
  • Angophora costata
  • Billardiera scandens
  • Bossiaea obcordata
  • Calochlaena dubia
  • Comesperma ericinum
  • Corymbia gummifera
  • Cyathea australis
  • Cymbidium suave
  • Dodonaea triquetra
  • Drosera spathulata
  • Entolasia sp. (E. ?marginata)
  • Eucalyptus robusta
  • Gahnia sp.(G. ?sieberiana)
  • Gleichenia dicarpa
  • Glochidion ferdinandi
  • Glochidion ferdinandi
  • Glycine tabacina
  • Hardenbergia violacea
  • Hypolaeana fastigiata
  • Hypolepis muelleri
  • Leptospermum juniperinum
  • Melaleuca linariifolia
  • Microlaena stipoides
  • Pittosporum undulatum
  • Polyscias sambucifolia
  • Pteridium esculentum
  • Restio spp.1
  • Schoenus spp.
  • Senecio bipinnatisectus
  • Todea barbara
  • Viminaria juncea

5. The community is distinctive in that Eucalyptus robusta is normally a dominant in river flat and coastal forests on Quaternary alluvium. The Maroota Sands Swamp Forest occurs on sand at approximately 160 m. above sea level.

6. No other stand with similar floristic and environmental features is currently known.

7. The community is threatened by weed invasion. It is also at risk from hydrological changes resulting from nearby extractive industries.

8. In view of 7 above the Scientific Committee is of the opinion the Community is likely to become extinct in nature in New South Wales unless the circumstances and factors threatening its survival cease to operate."

See also the National Parks Association's Latham Report, which states: "Of particular note [is] the Maroota Sands Complex (which contains poorly documented and rare communities restricted to the Maroota - Cornelia district)". (http://www.npansw.org.au/web/conservation/Latham/proposed%202-1-1.htm ).


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