Shire of Coorow
|Area||~4,190 square kilometres, located ~290 km north of Perth.|
|Towns||Coorow, Green Head, Leeman and Marchagee|
|Average Temperature||Mean daily maximum temperature over 30 years 1990 – 2019 Coastal: 30°C (Jan) and 19.7°C (Jul); Inland: 36.5°C (Jan) and 18.5°C (Jul).|
|Annual Rainfall||Average annual rainfall over 30 years 1990 – 2019 Coastal: 443 mm; Inland: 350 mm (BoM 2020).|
|ABS Profile||Coorow ABS profile|
|Shire Website||Shire of Coorow|
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Just over 1,000 people live in the Shire of Coorow, more than half of whom live in the coastal towns of Green Head (~300 people) and Leeman (~350 people, ABS 2016).
The population in the Shire of Coorow decreased by 4% between the last census in 2011 and the most recent census in 2016, and is projected to continue to decrease by a further 35% by 2031 (DPLH 2016).
Approximately 10% of residents of the Shire of Coorow were born overseas and approximately 3% are of Aboriginal and / or Torres Strait Islander descent.
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 Coorow depends primarily on agriculture and related services. Local farming includes the production of cereal crops (wheat, canola, lupins, oats) and livestock (sheep and cattle). The region is home to a substantial, although now declining, fishing industry focused on rock lobster and wet-line fishing. Wildflower and coastal tourism is a growing area of the economy.
The main land uses in the Shire of Coorow are agriculture and nature conservation.
Watheroo National Park
The Watheroo National Park covers ~ 59 786 ha and at the boundary between the Shires of Coorow, Moora and Dandaragan. The national park contains Jingemia Cave, borders on Pinjarrega Nature Reserve and extends to the banks of the Moore River. Vegetation in the park is characterised by low sandplain heath and Banksia and Mallee thicket, and produces abundant displays of wildflowers in spring.
Stockyard Gully National Park
The Stockyard Gully National Park covers ~1 850 and is located primarily in the Shire of Coorow. The park has a several subterranean limestone caves which drain into an underground river system. The park also has abundant native wildflowers. The reserve forms part of the Yamatji conservation estate.
South Eneabba Nature Reserve
The South Eneabba Nature Reserve covers ~10 614 ha and is located just north of Warradarge. The reserve is a flora conservation area and a good spot for viewing wildflower displays in the spring.
Pinjarrega Nature Reserve
The Pinjarrega Nature Reserve covers ~24 380 ha and is located west of Coorow.
Marchagee Nature Reserve
The Marchagee Nature Reserve was gazetted in 1975 and covers ~770 ha. The reserve was established for the conservation of flora and fauna. The majority of the reserve is salt complex and heath mosaic.
Lesueur National Park
The Lesueur National Park covers ~36 510 ha and is one of the most important flora conservation reserves in Western Australia. The park is home to around 900 native plant species, representing 10% of Western Australian flora. Birds and reptiles, including the Endangered Carnaby’s Black-Cockatoo Calyptorhynchus latirostris, are abundant in the park.
Capamauro Nature Reserve
The Capamauro Nature Reserve covers ~6 250 ha and is home to a population of Critically Endangered Hinged Dragon Orchid Caladenia drakeoides. The reserve forms part of the Yamatji conservation estate.
Beekeepers Nature Reserve
Beekeepers Nature Reserve extends from Jurien Bay to just south of Dongara, covering ~88 000 ha. A great variety of wildflowers can be seen in the reserve during the season.
Alexander Morrison National Park
The Alexander Morrison National Park was declared in 1970 and covers ~11 400 hectares. The park is ‘breakaway’ country renowned for its incredible diversity of endemic wildflowers. It was named after Alexander Morrison (1849-1913), the first official Western Australian government botanist.
The coastline of the shire is dominated by Kockatea Shale, formed in the Triassic period from volcanic and sedimentary rocks and consisting of shale, minor siltstone and sandstone. Leeman town lies on the Woodada formation, formed during the Mesozoic period from sedimentary and volcanic rocks and consisting of fine to medium grained sandstone interbedded with laminated siltstone. Part of the eastern portion of the Shires lies on the Lesueur Sandstone formation, formed during the Triassic period from volcanic and sedimentary rocks and made up of quartz sandstone with subordinate granule conglomerate and minor siltstone. The remainder lies on the Eneabba formation and the Cattamarra Coal Measure, both formed during the Jurassic period from volcanic and sedimentary rocks. The Eneabba formation consists of interbedded red-bed sandstone and siltstone and the Cattamarra Coal Measure consists of siltstone, shale, claystone, coal and sandstone.
Further prominent features are the Coomberdale subgroup,the South West Terrain (part of the Yilgarn Craton) ad the Billeranga subgroup. The Coomberdale subgroup consists of sandstone, siltstone, dolomite rock and silica minerals and the Yilgarn craton consists of granite. The Billeranga sub-group was formed during the Mesoproterozoic era from sedimentary and volcanic rock and consists of sandstone, siltstone, basalt and volcanic sandstone.
Coastal soils are sandy, forming a complex dune system, and include some gravels over limestone outcrops. Saline soils are common in the salt lake systems of the coastal flats and the eastern portion of the shire. The terrain around the salt lake systems of the shire is typically characterised by low dunes and plains. Seasonally wet plains inland are characterised by red calcareous clays. The soils of the middle f the shire are deep, siliceous sands over undulating low hills, gravelly ridges and the occasional remnant dune.
The shire is located within the Lesueur Sandplains (GES02) and Merredin (AVW01) IBRA sub-regions and is characterised by sandy proteaceous heath and York Gum and Jam Wattle woodlands. Patches of Subtropical and Temperate Coastal Saltmarsh can be found in the shire. This is a nationally protected Threatened Ecological Community (TEC) listed as vulnerable under Australia’s national environment law. The plant, animal and micro-organism community is found in the intertidal zone, often associated with estuaries. The plant community consists mainly of salt-tolerant vegetation (halophytes) including grasses, herbs, reeds, sedges and shrubs. The region is also home to large areas of the endangered Lesueur-Coomallo Floristic Community A1.2, an extremely floristically diverse TEC supporting ~1,000 plant species. Herbaceous plant assemblages on Bentonite Lakes, another endangered TEC, can also be found in the shire. A small part of Jurien Bay Marine Park is located off the coast of the shire, providing habitat for seabirds such as Wedge-tailed Shearwater Ardenna pacificus and Roseate Tern Sterna dougalli.
The coastline of the Northern Agricultural Region consists mainly of sandy beaches backed by low dunes, valued for recreational, aesthetic and cultural reasons and as storm protection and habitat. Primary dunes, or foreshore dunes, refer to the first system of dunes shoreward of the low water mark. These dunes typically support little vegetation. Secondary dunes, or back dunes, are undulating, sandy ecosystems located further from the water.
The Central West Coast limestone reef system extends from Kalbarri to Perth and supports an extremely high species diversity of seagrasses. Extensive seagrass meadows in protected, near-shore areas of the NAR, provide shelter and nursery habitat for many fish and other marine creatures including Western Rock Lobster. Seagrasses also provides services as primary biomass producers, sources of dissolved oxygen, sediment traps and nutrient cyclers.
Lipfert, Milligan & Snag Islands Nature Reserve
The Lipfert, Milligan and Snag Islands and Webb Islet and Orton and Drummond Rocks Nature Reserve covers a total land area of ~3 ha off the coast of Green Head and Leeman. The islands are important seabird breeding habitat.
Jurien Groundwater Area
The Jurien Groundwater Area covers over 5,000 km2 of land and produces ~84 million m3 of available groundwater per year. Groundwater abstraction in the area is low and only 21% of groundwater resources are allocated. Large aquifers occur in the Parmelia and Leederville formations. The Superﬁcial formation is an important resource near the coast. Water quality is variable.
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. Groundwater from fractured rock aquifers in the eastern, inland part of the region is predominantly saline, with poor yields.
Arrowsmith Groundwater Area
The Arrowsmith Groundwater Area covers approximately 10,300 km2 and produces ~151 million m3 of available groundwater per year. The largest aquifers occur in the Yarragadee and Parmelia formations and recharge primarily from rainfall recharge. The Superﬁcial formation is an important resource near the coast. Water quality is variable. The Allanooka borefield, 50km south of Geraldton, supplies the integrated water scheme for Geraldton and Dongara/Port Denison.
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.
Yarra Yarra Lake System
Yarra Yarra Lake is the terminal point for an extensive chain of salt lakes. The major lakes in the system are Monger’s Lake, Lake Goorly, Lake DeCourcy and Yarra Yarra Lake. The Yarra Yarra Lake System covers an area of 119km², is 25km long and 9km wide at its widest point. In wet years the lakes overﬂow along a broad drainage line, terminating in Yarra Yarra Lake.