Shire of Carnamah

Area ~310 km north of Perth and ~2,870 square kilometres.
Towns Eneabba and Carnamah
Average Temperature Coastal:  maximum of 36.4°C in February and minimum of 9°C in July.
Inland: maximum of 36.1°C and  minimum of 7.3°C.
Annual Rainfall Coastal:  average rainfall of 490mm.
Inland: average rainfall of 380 mm (BoM, 2014).
ABS Profile Carnamah ABS profile
Click features on the map for more information. View full page map

Around 550 people reside in the Shire of Carnamah, with the majority of those people residing in the town of Carnamah itself (ABS 2013).

The population in the Shire of Carnamah is in decline, with a 0.7% decrease between 2011 and 2013.

The  Shire of Carnamah has a relatively diverse population, with approximately 20% of residents being born overseas and 80% born in Australia. Approximately 3.7% are of indigenous heritage.

Estimates of the resident populations as at 30 June are released annually for Local Government Areas (LGAs) in Australia by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. The estimates are generally revised 12 months later and final estimates are available after the following census. Visit the ABS website for further details.

The economy of the Shire of Carnamah is largely based around agriculture and mining. Local farming includes cropping (wheat, canola, lupins, oats, etc.), and stock (sheep and cattle). Wildflower farming is also a growing industry in the region. The mineral sands minesite produces 80% of the world’s rutile supply. However, the decline in mineral extraction has greatly affected the region’s economy (MWDC, 2011).

Employment by sector (Service related industry, Retail related industry, Agriculture, fishing and forestry, Mining, Manufacturing, Construction, Other) is depicted in the chart below.

The main land uses  for the Shire of Carnamah includes reserves, agriculture, residential, industrial and commercial.

Nature Reserves

  • Tathra National Park

    The Tathra National Park spans over an area of 43 square kilometres and is located in the Shire of Carnamah. The national park is characterised by sandy floors overlying shallow valley with laterite overlying slopes and hilltops. The vegetation in the park is dominated by low heath.

  • Depot Hill Nature Reserve

    Located 12 km north east of Eneabba, along the Three Springs – Eneabba Road. It’s a C class nature reserve, created for the protection of flora and fauna.

  • Conservation reserves in the NAR

    To view all the reserves in the Northern Agricultural Region, visit the Land use theme page or view the nature reserve map.

Much of the coastline in the Shire of Carnamah is comprised of deep sandy calcareous sands forming part of the complex dune system and some gravelly soils overlying limestone outcrops. The flat terrain along the coast comprises of saline and salt lake soils. To east of the salt lakes exists seasonal wet plains which are characterised by red calcareous clayey soils. The eastern portion of the shire is dominated by lake systems comprising of saline and salt lake soils. Much of the areas surrounding the lake system is a plain with low dunes and depressions consisting of deep sandy and sandy earth soils.

Please go to the below link for more information on soil and geology in the region

Priority Fauna Species

IBRA Regions

  • Lesueur Sandplains (Geraldton Sandplains 2)

    The Geraldton Hills is located in the LGAs in the middle portion of the region. This subregion is characterised by Proteaceous scrub heath dominates the undulating sandplain lying over the Permian and Cretaceous strata. Outwash plains associated with the drainage lines are dominated by York Gum and Jam woodlands. The lateritic mesas, sandplains, coastal sandplains and limestone are rich in shrub-heaths (Desmond and Chant, 2001c).

  • Ancient Drainage subregion (Avon Wheatbelt 1)

    The Ancient Drainage subregion occurs in the eastern LGAs of the NAR. This subregion is characterised by Proteaceous scrub occupies much of the lateritic hills and outcrops. The alluvial plains associated with the drainage lines is dominated by eucalypts, Casuarinas, York Gum and Jam wattle woodlands (Beecham, 2001a).

Threatened Ecological Communities

  • Assemblages of Organic Mound Springs of the Three Springs Area

    The Mound Springs (Three Springs Area) community is State listed as Endangered, and occurs within the Geraldton Sandplains IBRA Bioregion. The habitat of this community is described in Interim Recovery Plan No. 196 (pg 2) as being characterised by the continuous discharge of groundwater in raised areas of peat – providing a stable, permanently moist series of microhabitats, supporting a rich and healthy fauna, including invertebrate insects. Moisture loving species of flora are supported, including an overstorey of Melaleuca preissiana, Eucaluptus camaldulensis and/or E. rudis, a shrub layer of Hypocalymma angustifolium and Acacia saligna over Baumea vaginalis and other sedges.

    The maintenance of hydrological processes (quality and quantity of water) is essential in supporting this community, and the mounds have been threatened by disturbance due to clearing and conversion to farm water points among other processes.

Priority Ecological Communities

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One priority marine area occurs in the Shire of Carnamah and this is the Turquoise Coast Islands Nature Reserve. The Turquoise Coast island nature reserves are a chain of approximately 40 islands, islets and rocks.  The islands range in size from less than 0.1 ha to approximately 31.5 ha and extend to low water mark, which includes the surrounding intertidal areas.

Coastal Assets

  • Primary and Secondary Coastal Dunes

    Primary dunes (from low water mark) and secondary dunes. Valued for recreational, aesthetic and cultural reasons, along with the services provided for storm protection  and habitat.

Marine Assets

  • Seagrass Meadows

    Seagrasses are flowering plants that complete their life cycle submerged in seawater. Western Australia has the world’s highest diversity of seagrasses, with 27 species occurring in shallow waters off the coast. Seagrasses form a vital component of marine ecosystems through their services as primary biomass producers, sources of habitat (including breeding and nursery areas) and dissolved oxygen, sediment traps, and nutrient cycling. Seagrass distribution is determined by a combination of shelter, sediment, turbidity, nutrient, temperature, current and tidal influences.

    Extensive seagrass meadows occur in protected near-shore areas of the NAR, where clear water, low nutrients and sandy sea floors prevail, and are dominated by the long strap-like Ribbonweed or Strapweed (Posidonia spp) and the thin-stemmed Wireweed (Amphibolis spp).

    Seagrass habitats are fragile and susceptible to damage and can take many years to recover from disturbance, such as physical damage/removal and shading due to algal blooms (as a result of increased nutrients), and sedimentation (due to dredging activities and erosion in catchment areas).

    More information on seagrasses in Western Australia can be found in the following publications: Flowers of the Ocean: WA’s Expansive Seagrass MeadowsThe Wonders of Weed Information Sheet; Fisheries Fact Sheet: Seagrasses; Establishing Reference and Monitoring Sites to Assess a Key Indicator of Ecosystem Health (Seagrass Health) on the central west Coast of Western Australia (see references).


Groundwater Areas

  • Gascoyne Groundwater Area

    The Gascoyne Groundwater Area extends north to Kalbarri and bounds the Arrowsmith Groundwater Area east to pastoral country. The largest groundwater aquifer occurs in the Yarragadee Formation, which has an estimated yield of 22.5 million m³/year (NACC, 2005). Groundwater from fractured rock aquifers in the eastern, inland part of the region is predominantly saline and poor yielding. This region of the Gascoyne Groundwater Area falls under the Carnarvon Artesian Basin Allocation Plan.

  • Arrowsmith Groundwater Area

    The Arrowsmith Groundwater Area spans approximately 10,300 km2 of land and currently has a total groundwater availability of around 151 million m3/year. The largest groundwater aquifers occur in the Yarragadee and Parmelia formations that together receive over 80 per cent of the total direct rainfall recharge, although the quality is variable. The Superficial formation is an important resource near the coast, and similarly to the deeper aquifers, the quality and quantity of the groundwater is variable.

    For information on the allocation plan click here.


  • Moore River

    Drainage Basin Length (km) Catchment Area (km2) Average Stream Salinity (mg/L) Key Characteristics
    Moore-Hill 288 13,450 3000-35000 The Moore River’s eastern reaches (Moore River East) which originates near Dalwallinu, and northern reaches (Moore River North) commences east of Coorow. The major tributaries are the Coonderoo River and Gingin Brook. The Moore River enters the ocean at Guilderton and the estuary is only open to the ocean for a few weeks each year.


  • Lake Logue/ Indoon System

    A good example of a suite of linked seasonal freshwater/brackish basins that occur in the bioregion. The System acts as a major feeding stop-over, staging area for dispersal and a drought refuge for waterbirds. A population of the declared vulnerable plant Eremophila microtheca (Nv, Sr) occurs on seasonally waterlogged flats.

Birdlife Midwest

Contact: Sally Vigilante

Carnamah Landcare

Moore Catchment Council

Work P.O. Box 337 Moora WA 6510 AustraliaWork 1 Padbury Street Moora WA 6510 Australia Phone: 08 9653 1355 Website:

Northern Agricultural Catchments Council

Work Geraldton Office 201 Lester Avenue PO Box 7168 Geraldton WA 6530 Work Perenjori Office Corner of Fowler Street and Timmings Street PO Box 95 Perenjori WA 6620 Work Jurien Bay Office 69 Bashford Street PO Box 872 Jurien Bay WA 6516 Phone: (08) 9938 0100 (Geraldton) Phone: (08) 9973 1444 (Perenjori) Phone: (08) 9652 0872 (Jurien Bay) Website: NACC Website

Yarra Yarra Catchment Management Group

Contact: Peter Syme
Work Perenjori Office Timmings Street Perenjori WA 6620 AustraliaWork Kalannie Office Roche Street Kalannie WA 6468 Australia Website:

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