Reductions in floodplain inundation can have significant negative impacts on frogs through loss of breeding and refuge habitats. The Lachlan River has undergone significant hydrological change due to the construction of dams and weirs resulting in a substantial reduction of flow that reaches the lower floodplain. This contributed to a prolonged dry period over 2000-2010 during which time flows ceased below Condobolin. Significant rainfall in 2010, 2011 and 2012 resulted in large flood events across the Lachlan Catchment filling a high percentage of aquatic habitats. As information on the distribution of frog species in the Lachlan is limited we aimed to identify what species have persisted in the area through the drought and to identify key aquatic habitats they are now occupying. We surveyed 49 sites on four occasions from September 2012 to April 2013 between the Great Cumbung swamp and north of Condobolin in the mid and lower Lachlan Catchment. Ten frog species were identified, including the endangered Southern Bell Frog, Litoria raniformis (EPBC Act 1999). Four dominant species were present across all wetland types and differences in the frog communities were driven by rarer species such as Neobatrachus sudelli, Litoria caerulea and L. raniformis. Wetlands with hydroperiods of 7-13 months supported the highest diversity of frogs. Non- perennial creeks also supported diverse frog communities and should be considered as important frog habitat in conservation planning.
|Charles Sturt University
|NSW Office of Environment and Heritage
|Number of pages
|Published - 2013