The following description of the subregion is taken from the former Hunter-Central Rivers Catchment Management Authority (CMA) (DECCW, 2010a), the boundary of which was used when the Hunter subregion was defined in 2012. The former CMA covered an area of approximately 3.7 million hectares on the east coast of NSW, and extended from Newcastle in the east to the Merriwa Plateau and Great Dividing Range in the west, and from Taree in the north to Gosford in the south. The climate is subtropical with the greatest rainfall in coastal areas and the Barrington Tops; rainfall decreases further inland (see Section 18.104.22.168 for more detail). Major waterways are Port Stephens; the Manning, Karuah and Hunter rivers; and the coastal lakes of Wallis Lake, Lake Macquarie, Tuggerah Lake and Brisbane Water.
The Hunter Valley is of great ecological significance because (i) it represents the only major break in the Great Dividing Range and therefore provides a link between coastal and inland NSW and (ii) it contains an area of overlap between tropical and temperate zones known as the MacPherson-Macleay Overlap (Burbidge, 1960) in which the limits of many taxa are found. The CMA contains two World Heritage-listed areas – the Greater Blue Mountains and the Barrington Tops – as well as internationally significant wetlands listed under the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands including Myall Lakes and Hunter Estuary (McCauley, 2006). It contains approximately 116 national parks and nature reserves. The 2010 New South Wales State of the Catchments (DECCW, 2010b) reported 126 species of flora and 152 species of fauna within the Hunter-Central Rivers CMA that are listed under either the Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995 (the TSC Act) or the NSW Fisheries Management Act 1994.
The main bioregions defined by the Interim Biogeographic Regionalisation for Australia (IBRA; Environment Australia, 2000) that are also within the Hunter subregion are the Sydney Basin (mainly Hunter, Kerrabee, Wyong, Yengo and Wollemi IBRA subregions), which accounts for 77% of the subregion, and the Brigalow Belt South (mainly the Liverpool Range IBRA subregion), which accounts for 20% of the subregion (see Section 1.1.3). The remaining 3% is within the NSW North Coast and Nandewar IBRA bioregions. The key IBRA bioregions are described in detail in Table 14 (see also Figure 6 in Section 1.1.1).
Table 14 Key bioregions from the Interim Biogeographic Regionalisation for Australia within the Hunter subregion
aInterim Biogeographic Regionalisation of Australia (IBRA; Environment Australia, 2000)
Data: The Bioregions of New South Wales: their biodiversity, conservation and history (NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, 2003)
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- 1.1.1 Bioregion
- 1.1.2 Geography
- 1.1.3 Geology
- 1.1.4 Hydrogeology and groundwater quality
- 1.1.5 Surface water hydrology and water quality
- 1.1.6 Surface water – groundwater interactions
- 1.1.7 Ecology
- Contributors to the Technical Programme
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