Important wetlands

Wetlands are an important environmental feature in most parts of the Northern Territory (NT).

They support a wide diversity of plants and animals, some of which are found nowhere else.

They also provide important ecosystem services, such as absorbing the impacts of floods and improving water quality.

There are many differents sorts of wetlands, including coastal salt marshes, mangrove swamps, freshwater lakes and swamps, floodplains, freshwater ponds, springs, and saline lakes.

Wetlands can be permanent, seasonal or intermittent, and they can be artificial, such as dams or sewerage ponds.

Important wetlands in NT

Many wetlands in the NT are considered to be of national or international significance.

Go to the Australian Government Department of Environment website to read more about High Ecological Value Aquatic Ecosystems and the Directory of Important Wetlands in Australia.

Two areas in the NT are listed as Ramsar wetlands.

Important Top End wetlands

These important Top End wetlands have been described as sites of conservation significance:

  • Adelaide River coastal floodplain
  • Anson Bay and associated coastal floodplains
  • Arafura Swamp
  • Kakadu – the Alligator Rivers coastal floodplains
  • Blue Mud Bay and associated coastal floodplains
  • Boucaut Bay and associated coastal floodplains
  • Buckingham Bay and associated coastal floodplains
  • Castlereagh Bay and associated islands
  • Chambers Bay
  • Daly River middle reaches
  • Darwin Harbour
  • Finniss River coastal floodplain
  • Fog Bay
  • Howard sand plains
  • Hyland Bay and associated coastal floodplains
  • Legune coastal floodplain
  • Limmen Bight and associated coastal floodplains
  • Maningrida coastal habitats
  • Mary River coastal floodplain
  • Mataranka thermal pools
  • McArthur River coastal floodplain
  • Shoal Bay
  • Sir Edward Pellew island group.

Read more on sites of conservation significance.

Important wetlands in Central Australia

In central and southern NT, the following wetlands have been described as sites of conservation significance:

  • Anmatyerr North
  • Barkly Lakes – including Tarabool Lake, Lake Sylvester and Eva Downs Swamp
  • Birrindudu wetlands
  • Elkedra River floodout swamps
  • Frew River floodout swamps
  • Karinga Creek paleodrainage system
  • Lake Amadeus and Lake Neale
  • Lake Lewis and surrounds
  • Lake MacKay
  • Lake Surprise and the Lander River floodout swamps
  • Lake Woods
  • Mud Hut Swamp
  • Newhaven Lakes
  • Nongra Lake
  • Wood Duck Swamp.

For more information read the wetlands in the arid Northern Territory (5.2 mb) report.

Last updated: 27 June 2017