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Our Natural Environment

Darling Plateau and Swan Coastal Plain

The Shire of Harvey boundary encompasses an area approximately 1,766 sq. km. It stretches approx. 40 km north-south and approx. 45 km east-west with 43 kilometres of coastline. The Darling Plateau accounts for about half of the Shire, which is comprised of mostly State Forest managed by the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions. The reminder of the Shire lies on the Swan Coastal Plan.

The Darling Plateau is at an average elevation of 250 m above sea level and is composed of Precambrian crystalline rocks and dominant soils of lateritic gravels.

The Swan Coastal Plain consists of the Quaternary dune systems, the Quindalup and the Spearwood along the coast, the Bassendean, a 15 km belt to the east of the Quindalup dunes and the Pinjarra Plain, an alluvial tract between the Bassendean dunes and the Darling Scarp.

The Quindalup is younger and is formed from fixed and mobile dunes, whilst the Spearwood is of lithified dunes to limestone. Permanent lakes of varying salinity occur parallel to the coast including Lake Preston.  The Bassendean dunes are of low lying vegetated hills of quartz sand with interdunal wetlands and lakes and sands that are yellow at depth and bleached white at the surface. The Pinjarra Plain ranges from 1.5 km to 25 km in width.

Our rivers and wetlands

The Harvey, Brunswick, Collie and Wellesley Rivers dissect the Shire; the Harvey River flowing into the Peel-Harvey Estuary and the Brunswick and Collie River into the Leschenault Estuary.

Major wetlands in the Shire include Benger Swamp, Lake Preston, the Kemerton Wetlands, Mialla Lagoon, Lake Josephine, Myalup Swamp and Byrd Swamp. These wetlands provide refuge and breeding habitat for numerous waterbird species.

Nature reserves and water catchments

Important nature reserves in the Shire of Harvey include Yalgorup National Park, Lane Poole Reserve, Crampton Nature Reserve, Harvey Flats Nature Reserve, and Falls Brook Nature Reserve.  These reserves are managed by the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions.

The water catchment dams of Harvey, Logue Brook and Stirling are also in the Shire of Harvey boundaries.

Native vegetation

The native vegetation of the lateritic soils of the Darling Plateau is dominated by an open forest of Eucalyptus marginata – Corymbia callophylla, which in the Yarragil, Murray and Helena landforms is replaced by Eucalyptus patens and Eucalyptus rudis.

A range of vegetation complexes cover the Swan Coastal Plain including Corymbia callophylla – Allocasuarina fraseriana immediately east of the Scarp, to Banksia woodlands on the leached grey sand of the Bassendean dunes to Eucalyptus gomphocephala on the younger yellow sands to coastal heaths and shrublands of the Quindalup dunes. Eucalyptus rudis, Melaleuca spp. and sedgelands dominate the rivers, estuarine and wetlands systems.

Fauna species

Many unique Western Australian fauna species are found in the Shire including the Chuditch, Quenda, Carpet Python, Western Ringtail Possum, Quokka, Emu, Wedge Tail Eagles and the three species of Black Cockatoos, Carnaby’s; Baudin and the Red-tailed Forest.  Find out more about threatened species on our Biodiversity page.

More information and contacts

For more information about our natural environment, please contact us.

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