Rocky Coasts & Clifftops : Ecological Asset 2

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Rocky coastlines and cliffs are some of the most spectacular habitats on Eyre Peninsula. The geology of the area is ancient and predominantly limestone and calcarenite, and are shaped by the high-energy south-westerly swell from the Southern Ocean and prevailing westerly winds of the Great Australian Bight.

Within the WildEyre project area there are many examples of rocky intertidal coastal habitats, including the inlets of Point Westall (The Granites and Smooth Pool) Sheringa Lagoon and Talia.

Cliff top habitats of note include areas surrounding the townships of Elliston, Venus Bay, Sceale Bay and Streaky Bay, and include sites such as Pt Labatt – renowned as one of the largest mainland Australian Sea Lion (Neophoca cinerea) colonies.

Rocky coastlines are an important buffering zone for inland habitats, protecting fragile cliff and coastal vegetation from the high-energy ocean processes that are characteristic of the Eyre Peninsula coastline.

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Threatened Species

Rocky intertidal reefs are important feeding grounds for many marine invertebrates which are, in turn, a food source for many important species of birds, fish and marine mammals such as sea lions and dolphins.

Rock pools on granitic coasts in the WildEyre area are primary habitat for the Yellow Sea Star (Parvulastra parvivipara), known locally as ‘Little Patty’ – the world’s smallest sea star. This species is endemic to the West Coast of Eyre Peninsula between Point Labatt and Cape Vivonne.

Other species found in areas like this also include the White bellied Sea-Eagle (Haliaeetus leucogaster), Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) and the endemic native shrub the West Coast Mintbush (Prostanthera calycina).

Potential threats to Rocky coasts and clifftops

  • Coastal Development
  • Unmanaged recreational impacts
  • Weed invasion
  • Feral and pest animals
  • Grazing by native and introduced herbivores

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