1. Application details Permit application details



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Clearing Permit Decision Report




1.Application details

1.1.Permit application details


Permit application No.:

478/1

Permit type:

Area Permit

1.2.Proponent details


Proponent’s name:

John O'Neill

Postal address:

PROPONENT_ADDRESS

Contacts:

Phone: PROPONENT_PHONE




Fax: PROPONENT_FAX




E-mail: PROPONENT_EMAIL

1.3.Property details


Property:

LOT 3609 ON PLAN 205139

Local Government Area:

Shire Of Gingin

Colloquial name:



1.4.Application


Clearing Area (ha)

No. Trees

Method of Clearing

For the purpose of:

40




Mechanical Removal

Grazing & Pasture

18




Mechanical Removal

Grazing & Pasture

15




Mechanical Removal

Grazing & Pasture

2.Site Information

2.1.Existing environment and information

2.1.1.Description of the native vegetation under application


Vegetation Description

Clearing Description

Vegetation Condition

Comment

Heddle vegetation complexes: Bassendean North Complex - vegetation ranges from low open forest and low open woodland of Banksia species, Eucalyptus todtiana to low woodland of Melaleuca species and sedgelands which occupy moister sites. Yanga complexes - predominantly a closed scrub of Melaleuca species and low open forest of Casuarina obesa on the flats subject to inundation. On drier sites, the vegetation reflects the adjacent vegetation complexes of Bassendean and Coonambidgee (Heddle et al 1980, Government of Western Australia 2000).

Beard vegetation associations: 1014 - mosaic of low woodland, banksia shrublands, tea-tree thickets (Shepherd et al 2001, Hopkins et al 2001).




The amended area under application is situated in the front (east) of the property and excludes that part of the property (west) that is mapped as a Conservation Category Wetland. The vegetation under application is comprised of she-oaks (Casuarina obesa), blackbutt (Eucalyptus todtiana), native grass trees (Xanthorrhoea preissii) and 'nutbush'. The proponent has indicated that the application was submitted to enable the area to be parkland cleared, removing shrubs and understorey species and retaining the trees. The vegetation was of varying conditions from very good to good.

Very Good: Vegetation structure altered; obvious signs of disturbance (Keighery 1994)

The description of the vegetation to be cleared was obtained after site visits to the property on 8 April 2005 and 14 July 2005. While the condition of the vegetation under application is considered very good overall, there are some areas that show evidence of historic grazing pressures and some that are sparsely vegetated.

3.Assessment of application against clearing principles

(a) Native vegetation should not be cleared if it comprises a high level of biological diversity.


Comments

Proposal is not likely to be at variance to this Principle




The area under application has previously been used for the grazing of stock. While there is some evidence of historic grazing and some areas that are sparsely vegetated, other portions proposed to be cleared are in good condition. Notwithstanding, it is unlikely that the area under application is of higher biological diversity than the western portion of the property which contains the bulk of the Conservation Category Wetland (CCW), and the Yeal Nature Reserve to the south west of the property.


Methodology

Site visits (8th April and 14 July 2005)

GIS Databases:

- CALM Managed Lands and Waters - CALM 01/08/04




  1. Native vegetation should not be cleared if it comprises the whole or a part of, or is necessary for the maintenance of, a significant habitat for fauna indigenous to Western Australia.


Comments

Proposal is not likely to be at variance to this Principle




The following Specially Protected and Priority fauna species are known to occur in the local area (10km raidus):

Chuditch (Dasyurus geoffroii);

Western Brush Wallaby (Macropus irma);

Hooded Plover (Charadrius rubricollis rubricollis); and

Western Mud Minnow (Galaxiella munda)

(CALM 2005a).


The amended area applied to be cleared is situated to the east (in the front) of the property. The adjacent property to the east has been substantially cleared. The vegetation on the remainder of the property (to the west) is in good condition and provides good connectivity for the movement of wildlife from the vegetated areas to the north and west of the property and to the Yeal Nature Reserve to the south-west. Further, the proponent only intends to parkland clear the shrub understorey and retain the larger shrubs and trees. In addition, the area applied to be cleared is sparsely vegetated in places and would not provide optimal habitat for local indigenous fauna. The clearing as applied, therefore in not likely to be at variance to this Principle.


Methodology

CALM (2005a) Land Clearing Proposal Advice (DoE Trim No. EI954)

Site visits (8th April and 14 July 2005)





(c) Native vegetation should not be cleared if it includes, or is necessary for the continued existence of, rare flora.


Comments

Proposal is not likely to be at variance to this Principle




The following Declared Rare Flora (DRF) species are known to occur in the local area (10km radius):

Eleocharis keigheryi;

Grevillea curviloba subsp curviloba;

Grevillea curviloba subsp. incurva; and

Chamelaucium lullfitzii ms

(CALM 2005a).


However, the vegetation in the amended area appears to have been subject to historic grazing pressure, resulting in some sparse patches and a degree of degradation. This would reduce the likelihood of these DRF species occurring in the amended area (CALM 2005b).


Methodology

CALM (2005a) Land Clearing Proposal Advice (DoE Trim No. EI954)

CALM (2005b) Land Clearing Proposal Advice (DoE Trim No. EI3131)

Site visits (8th April and 14 July 2005)

GIS Databases:

- Declared Rare and Priority Flora List - CALM 13/08/03




(d) Native vegetation should not be cleared if it comprises the whole or a part of, or is necessary for the maintenance of a threatened ecological community.


Comments

Proposal is not likely to be at variance to this Principle




The following significant ecological communities are known to occur in the local area (10km radius) on the same vegetation complex and similar habitat features:

SCP07: Herb rich saline shrublands in clay pans (Category of threat: Vulnerable), and

SCP15: Forests and woodlands of deep seasonal wetlands on the Swan Coastal Plain (Category of threat: Vulnerable) (CALM 2005a).
However, the amended area applied to be cleared has avoided the shrublands that are evident in the centre of the land parcel and the woodlands associated with the wetland to the west of the property. The clearing as applied is, therefore, not likely to be at a variance to this principle.


Methodology

CALM (2005a) (DoE Trim No. EI945)

GIS Databases:

- Threatened Ecological Communities - CALM 15/07/03




(e) Native vegetation should not be cleared if it is significant as a remnant of native vegetation in an area that has been extensively cleared.


Comments

Proposal is not likely to be at variance to this Principle







The State Government is committed to the National Objectives Targets for Biodiversity Conservation which includes a target that prevents clearance of ecological communities with an extent below 30% of that present pre-European settlement (Department of Natural Resources and Environment 2002, EPA 2000).
The vegetation under application consists of Beard vegetation association 1014 and two Heddle vegetation complexes, the Cottesloe Complex North and the Yanga Complex. Beard vegetation association 1014 has 53.5% (25,871 ha) remaining of the original extent (Shepherd et al 2001) and the Heddle complexes have 71.1% and 18.7% (4,884ha) of their original vegetation extent remaining respectively (Heddle et al 1980). Seven hectares of the Yanga complex is proposed to be cleared. Within this 7 ha, a large portion is denuded of vegetation and may not be considered an accurate representation of the Yanga vegetation complex.
This area is not located within the intensive land use zone outlined in the EPA Position Statement 2.


Methodology

Shepherd et al (2001)

Hopkins et al (2001)

Heddle et al (1980)

Department of Natural Resources and Environment (2002)

EPA (2000)






(f) Native vegetation should not be cleared if it is growing in, or in association with, an environment associated with a watercourse or wetland.


Comments

Proposal is not likely to be at variance to this Principle




The amended area under application substantially avoids the CCW to the west of the property. The vegetation that remains within the buffer area of the CCW has been subject to some historic grazing pressure. The clearing as applied, therefore, is not likely to be at variance to this Principle.


Methodology

GIS Databases:

- Geomorphic Wetlands (Mgmt Categories) SCP - DOE 15/09/04





(g) Native vegetation should not be cleared if the clearing of the vegetation is likely to cause appreciable land degradation.


Comments

Proposal is not likely to be at variance to this Principle




The land degradation issues associated with the Bassendean phase G landscape unit, found within the area under application are eutrophication (nutrient export) and wind erosion (DAWA 2005).

Given that the proponent only intends to parkland clear the area under application, and that the riparian vegetation associated with the drain that runs through the property from west to east is not to be cleared, the risks associated with land degradation are lowered (DAWA 2005). It is therefore unlikely that the clearing as proposed is likely to cause appreciable land degradation.

It is noted that the proponent intends to sell the land and that the prospective buyer does not intend grazing cattle on the property or establishing pasture.


Methodology

DAWA (2005) Land Degradation Advice(DoE Trim No. EI3343)



(h) Native vegetation should not be cleared if the clearing of the vegetation is likely to have an impact on the environmental values of any adjacent or nearby conservation area.


Comments

Proposal is not likely to be at variance to this Principle




The Yeal Nature Reserve, which is listed on the Register of the National Estate for conservation of flora and fauna (CALM 2005a), abuts the south-western corner of the property.

The amended area applied to be cleared is in the front of the property, to the east. The vegetation at the rear of the property, to the west, maintains connectivity to the Yeal Nature Reserve and the surrounding areas The clearing as proposed, therefore, is sufficiently distant from the Yeal Nature Reserve and is unlikely to have an impact on its environmental values.




Methodology

CALM (2005a) Land Clearing Proposal (DoE Trim No. EI954)

GIS Databases:

- CALM Managed Lands and Waters - CALM 01/08/04




(i) Native vegetation should not be cleared if the clearing of the vegetation is likely to cause deterioration in the quality of surface or underground water.


Comments

Proposal is not likely to be at variance to this Principle




There are a number of EPP lakes up to 400 m from the area applied to be cleared. Given the size of the intended parkland clearing and distances from these lakes, it is considered unlikely that the clearing as proposed will cause any deleterious environmental impact of these lakes.

A drain runs through the centre of the property from the west to the east, which flows for a few months during the year. As the application is for parkland clearing and the riparian vegetation associated with the drain is not to be cleared, it is considered that eutrophication and surface run-off will be minimised.

The groundwater within the area under application is relatively fresh (500-1000mg/L TDS). However, as the proponent only intends to parkland clear, the potential impact to the quality of groundwater is minimal.

Given the above, it is not likely that the clearing as proposed is at variance to this principle.




Methodology

DAWA (2005) Land Degradation Advice (DoE Trim EI3343)

GIS Databases:

- Groundwater Salinity, Statewide - 22/02/00

- EPP, Lakes - DEP 28/07/03





(j) Native vegetation should not be cleared if clearing the vegetation is likely to cause, or exacerbate, the incidence or intensity of flooding.


Comments

Proposal is not likely to be at variance to this Principle




The area under application is in a flat and elevated position. The area has an annual rainfall of 80mm with an areal potential evapotranspiration of 1500 mm per annum. Unless there is a remarkable unseasonal event, it is unlikely that the clearing as proposed will cause or exacerbate the incidence or intensity of flooding

Furthermore, the presence of a surface water drain that runs through the centre of the property is likely to reduce the incidence of flooding (DAWA 2005).




Methodology

DAWA (2005) Land Degradation Advice (DoE Trim No EI902)

GIS Databases:

- Topographic Contours, Statewide - DOLA 12/09/02

- Rainfall, Mean Annual - BOM 30/09/01

- Evapotranspiration, Areal potential - BOM 30/09/01




Planning instrument, Native Title, Previous EPA decision or other matter.


Comments







A public submission was received for the original area to be cleared. The submission urged that a detailed flora and fauna survey of the site be conducted and that the following issues be considered: EPA Position Statement No. 2; biodiversity of the site; significance of the site for fauna; and whether the site contains Declared Rare Flora and Threatened Ecological Communities. No submission was received for the amended area. Nevertheless, the assessing officer deems that the issues raised in the submission have been substantially addressed by amending the area to be cleared.

A second submission from a member of the public was received for the original area to be cleared. The submission opposing the proposed clearing as land clearing is a major contributor to global warming. This is not considered to be a relevant consideration given the scale and nature of the proposal.


It must be noted that Mr O'Neill has the property on the market and that the prospective buyer is not intending to run cattle on the property.

Methodology

Public Submission (DoE Trim No. CEO298/05)

Public Submission (DoE Trim No. EI882)


4.Assessor’s recommendations




Purpose

Method

Applied

area (ha)/ trees

Decision

Comment / recommendation

Grazing & Pasture

Mechanical Removal

40







Recommend secondary assessment. Letter attached

Grazing & Pasture

Mechanical Removal

18










Grazing & Pasture

Mechanical Removal

15




Grant

The amended area has been assessed and the proposed clearing is not likely to be at variance to the ten principles. The assessing officer therefore recommends that a clearing permit be granted for 15 ha parkland clearing.


5.References


CALM (2005a) Land clearing proposal advice. Advice to A/Director General, Department of Environment (DoE). Department of Conservation and Land Management, Western Australia. DoE TRIM ref EI954.

CALM (2005b) Land clearing proposal advice. Advice to A/Director General, Department of Environment (DoE). Department of Conservation and Land Management, Western Australia. DoE TRIM ref EI3131.

DAWA (2005) Land degradation assessment report. Office of the Commissioner of Soil and Land Conservation, Department of Agriculture Western Australia. DoE TRIM ref EI3343.

Department of Natural Resources and Environment (2002) Biodiversity Action Planning. Action planning for native biodiversity at multiple scales ; catchment bioregional, landscape, local. Department of Natural Resources and Environment, Victoria.

EPA (2000) Environmental protection of native vegetation in Western Australia. Clearing of native vegetation, with particular reference to the agricultural area. Position Statement No. 2. December 2000. Environmental Protection Authority.

Government of Western Australia (1997) Wetlands Conservation Policy for Western Australia, Department of Conservation and Land Management and the Water and Rivers Commission, Perth WA.

Hopkins, A.J.M., Beeston, G.R. and Harvey J.M. (2001) A database on the vegetation of Western Australia. Stage 1. CALMScience after J. S. Beard, late 1960's to early 1980's Vegetation Survey of Western Australia, UWA Press.

Keighery, BJ (1994) Bushland Plant Survey: A Guide to Plant Community Survey for the Community. Wildflower Society of WA (Inc). Nedlands, Western Australia.



Shepherd, D.P., Beeston, G.R. and Hopkins, A.J.M. (2001) Native Vegetation in Western Australia, Extent, Type and Status. Resource Management Technical Report 249. Department of Agriculture, Western Australia.





6.Glossary





Term

Meaning

CALM

Department of Conservation and Land Management

DAWA

Department of Agriculture

DEP

Department of Environmental Protection (now DoE)

DoE

Department of Environment

DoIR

Department of Industry and Resources

DRF

Declared Rare Flora

EPP

Environmental Protection Policy

GIS

Geographical Information System

ha

Hectare (10,000 square metres)

TEC

Threatened Ecological Community

WRC

Water and Rivers Commission (now DoE)














































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