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Location Australia, Western Australia
Central coordinates 121o 4.68' East  29o 32.99' South
IBA criteria A4i
Area 98,408 ha
Altitude 350 - 355m
Year of IBA assessment 2009

BirdLife Australia

Summary The IBA has supported a high proportion of the known mass breeding events of the congregatory Banded Stilt.

Site description The IBA is Lake Ballard and the nearby Lake Marmion, large ephemeral saline lakes in south-western Western Australia north of Kalgoorlie. The lakes are about 15 km apart in a mulga environment supporting many other ephemeral saline lakes. The climate is hot and semi-arid; mean annual rainfall at nearby Menzies is 244 mm. Both lakes are inundated on average about once every five years following major rainfall events. The lakes receive water from direct precipitation and periodic flow from a number of creeks, and may retain water for six to nine months after major rainfall events. The lake beds are bare but have numerous islands of varying size (microscale to macroscale) that support low samphire vegetation and, in some instances, Eucalyptus striaticalyx woodland. The margins support low samphire vegetation. When inundated, islands and possibly the shorelines can support large numbers of breeding Banded Stilt. Lake Marmion is less important for breeding Banded Stilts but still qualifies alone as an IBA. The IBA overlaps the Goongarrie National Park.

Key Biodiversity At least 12 species of waterbird have been recorded at Lake Ballard. Three species of waterbird (Banded Stilt, Red-necked Avocet and Red-capped Plover) are known to breed at the lake (Chapman and Lane 1997; DEWHA 2007). Red-necked Avocet and Red-capped Plover breed in small numbers on the islands of Lake Ballard. Australian Shelduck and Grey Teal have been observed in hundreds and thousands respectively (DEWHA 2007). Hooded Plover have been observed in small numbers (Chapman & Lane 1997). A single unconfirmed sighting of Night Parrot (one adult and a nest with five young) was made near the south-eastern shore of Lake Ballard in April 1937 (Storr 1986). Australian Shelduck, Grey Teal, Red-necked Avocet and Silver Gull have been recorded at Lake Marmion (DEWHA 2007).

Non-bird biodiversity: Brine shrimp (Parartemia sp.) become abundant during inundation events.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Banded Stilt Cladorhynchus leucocephalus breeding  1973-1995  50,000 breeding pairs  A4i  Least Concern 

IBA Monitoring

2008 high not assessed not assessed
Medium - based upon reliable but incomplete / partially representative data

Energy production and mining mining and quarrying likely in long term (beyond 4 years) some of area/population (10-49%) moderate to rapid deterioration medium
Invasive & other problematic species, genes & diseases invasive non-native/alien species/diseases - named species happening now majority/most of area/population (50-90%) slow but significant deterioration high

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Goongarrie National Park 60,397 protected area overlaps with site 1,727  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Wetlands (inland) Saline lakes  100%

Land ownership Lake Ballard is unallocated Crown land managed by the Western Australian Department for Planning and Infrastructure. The Department for Planning and Infrastructure and traditional owners have recently agreed to establish a reserve at Lake Ballard (Goldfields Land and Sea Council 2007). Lake Marmion consists of Mendleyarri pastoral lease and part of the national park.

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
nature conservation and research minor
not utilised major

Protection status IBA overlaps the Goongarrie National Park.

References Blakers, M., Davies, S.J.J.F. and Reilly, P.N. (1984) The Atlas of Australian Birds. Melbourne: Melbourne University Press.

Chapman, A. and Lane, J.A.K. (1997) Waterfowl usage of wetlands in the south-eastern arid interior of Western Australia 1992-93. Emu 97: 51-59.

DEWHA (2007) A Directory of Important Wetlands in Australia. Lake Ballard - WA058 and Lake Marmion - WA060. accessed November 2007.

Goldfields Land and Sea Council (2007) Wongatha News May 2007. accessed on 2 November 2007.

Jenkins, C.F.H. (1975) Nesting of Banded Stilts at Lake Ballard. Western Australian Naturalist 13: 94-95.

Jones, J. (1945) The Banded Stilt. Emu 45: 1-36.

Kolichis, N. (1976) New breeding records of the Banded Stilt in Western Australia. Western Australian Naturalist 13: 114-119.

Minton, C., Pearson, G. and Lane, J. (1995) History in the mating: Banded Stilts do it again! Wingspan 5(2): 13-15.

Burbidge, A.A. and Fuller, P.J. (1982) Banded Stilt breeding at Lake Barlee, Western Australia. Emu 82: 212-216.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Lakes Ballard and Marmion. Downloaded from on 24/10/2016

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