surveyed in Jun'09
surveyed in Apr/May'09
surveyed in Aug'09
Section 1 Area covered during transect survey in Sep'09
Section 2 Area covered during transect survey in Mar'10
Section 3 Area covered during transect survey in Sep'09
Section 4 Area covered during transect survey in Oct'09
Section 5 Area covered during transect survey in Oct'09
Survey Timing and
Name: GDA 1994 MGA Zone 50
Projection: Transverse Mercator
Datum: GDA 1994
Unique Map ID: A083
Unique Map ID: A112
Proposed Rail Corridor
Unique Map ID: A113
Proposed Rail Corridor
Soil Landscape Systems
Proposed Rail Corridor
Soil Landscape Systems
Unique Map ID: A014
Unique Map ID: A115
Proposed Rail Corridor
Unique Map ID: A016
OPR Rail Development – Vegetation and Flora Assessment
The phase one survey involved a combination of systematic flora sampling in quadrats, and a series
of linked field traverses to maximise the sampling of the entire area. Linked traverses are often more
time efficient than bounded quadrats when the aim of the survey is to delineate vegetation
community boundaries. However, quadrats are necessary to efficiently record floristic variation and
quantitatively characterise the vegetation units. Both methods contribute to the delineation of small
scale vegetation units and to a comprehensive floristic inventory of the Study Area.
To ensure that the vegetation communities and habitats present within the Study Area were
adequately represented in the data collected, sampling sites were selected using aerial photography,
land systems, topographical features and field observations. Six hundred and five 20 m x 20 m
quadrats (400 m
) were established over the Study Area. This quadrat size is standard for the
drainage lines) the standard square quadrat could not be used; however, 400 m
of vegetation was
the area. An additional nine quadrats surveyed by ecologia, 2009a at Weld Range were used for
vegetation community mapping and statistical analysis.
Quadrat locations are listed in Table D.1, Appendix D and mapped across the whole of the Study Area
in Figure 3.1 and are plotted on the vegetation community maps in Appendix I.
The following information was recorded at each 400 m
location details, including GPS coordinates;
site parameters such as habitat, topography, soils, and surface lithology;
structural information describing the vegetation community; including the height, foliage
vegetation condition; and
the estimated time since the last fire at each site.
taxonomist. Vegetation type, life‐form strata and percentage cover for each stratum were recorded
using the National Vegetation Information System (NVIS) vegetation classifications (Table E.1,
Appendix E). Nomenclature and taxonomy follow the conventions currently adopted by the Western
Australian Herbarium (2009). Data collected at individual sites are included electronically as
While walking between quadrats opportunistic collections were made of taxa not already located
within the discrete quadrats. This ensured that a more comprehensive species list was produced for
the Study Area. Locations of any known or potentially conservation significant taxa encountered
were also recorded, and notes were made on the boundaries of vegetation communities to help with
the mapping of the vegetation.
Vegetation mapping is the delineation of plant communities into groups or associations. The
distinctive characteristics that these groups or communities share include species dominance,
stratum structure and species composition (Heddle et al., 1980).
The vegetation of the Study Area has been mapped on the basis of statistical cluster analysis, field
observation and aerial photography. The Study Area has been mapped at a scale of 1:30,000, except
the area from the Moresby Ranges to the western end of the Study Area which has been mapped at
a scale of 1:10,000.
Data collected within quadrats was analysed using the multivariate statistical programme PATN
This method provides an objective means of defining the vegetation communities in the Study Area.
A site by species matrix was created from the quadrat information. Annuals, weak perennials,
species recorded once (unless present in the vegetation description), introduced taxa (relevant to the
Freehold area only) and opportunist collections were excluded from this analysis.
Cluster analysis was performed on the site by species matrix using an association matrix of the Bray‐
Curtis coefficient to measure the similarity between sites and the similarity between the occurrences
of species. From this association matrix a dendrogram was produced to statistically delineate the
floristic communities present. The dendrogram and site by species matrix are too large to include in
this report, however, they are available on request.
The vegetation of the Freehold and Pastoral land areas were analysed separately due to report
timing constraints. This did not affect the analysis as the vegetation communities, geology and land
systems between the Freehold and Pastoral land areas were very different and would have
During the targeted threatened flora survey, approximately 1,250 km of transects were walked in the
Study Area (163 km in the Freehold and 1,087 in the Pastoral land areas). This equated to 2,364 ha
(1.05%) of the Study Area. Transect locations have been plotted over the land systems maps in
Figure 3.3 to Figure 3.6.
The length of the transects varied according to access and time availability in the field. The width of
the transects varied according to vegetation density. In the Freehold land area, the transects widths
were a standard 10 m, in the Pastoral land area the width varied from 10 m to 40 m depending on
the vegetation density, where mostly a 20 m width was found suitable. Land systems that provide
suitable habitat for conservation significant flora were targeted, but all land systems were surveyed.
In the specified width of each transect; the start and end point, number and GPS coordinate of the
threatened flora taxa and the habitat type were recorded. In addition to targeting the known
threatened flora, any unknown species, including annuals, or any species not recorded during the
quadrat based survey were collected to add to the total species list for the Study Area.
Locations of the DRF and Priority Flora recorded are listed in Table G.2, Appendix G and their
locations are plotted on Figures G.1 to G.5, Appendix G.
OPR Rail Proposal – Vegetation and Flora Assessment
Seventy‐two vegetation communities, incorporating 48 subunits were mapped in the Study Area.
Some vegetation communities were indistinguishable from others on the aerial photographs and
consequently were mapped as one community incorporating a number of subunits. These
communities described in Sections 4.1.1 to 4.1.3 overleaf.
The vegetation communities of the Study Area are described based on IBRA region and landform.
Each community has a unique code where the first capital letter indicates the IBRA region in which it
is mostly mapped (i.e. G = Geraldton Sandplains, Y = Yalgoo and M = Murchison), the next lower case
letter indicates the landform type (i.e. h = rocky hill slope, y = yellow sand plain, p = red sand plain,
red‐orange hardpan and red hardpan, f = floodplain and salt lake, and c = creekline and minor
drainage channel), and the number indicates the vegetation community (i.e. 1 = vegetation
community 1). Where subunits occur in a vegetation community these are identified by an
additional letter e.g. /a. An example of a vegetation community with subunits is Gh2/a i.e. it is
subunit a of Geraldton Sandplains rocky hill slope community 2.
The following detailed information is provided for each vegetation community in Table H.1, Appendix
Vegetation community description;
Quadrats surveyed in the vegetation community;
Conservation significant taxa recorded in the vegetation community;
Land systems / soil‐landscape system associated with the vegetation community;
Area mapped in the Study Area;
Associated or commonly occurring taxa;
Species richness; and
Average vegetation condition.
The Freehold section of the Study Area occurs in the Geraldton Sandplains IBRA region. While most
of this section has been cleared, some areas of remnant vegetation are still in good condition.
Twelve vegetation communities, incorporating eight subunits, were mapped along the Geraldton
Sandplains section of the Study Area.
The vegetation of the Geraldton Sandplains (G) bioregion has been grouped into:
Rocky hill slope vegetation of the Moresby Range (h);
Yellow sand plain and dune vegetation (y);
Red sand plain vegetation (p);
Floodplain vegetation (f); and
Creek line and minor drainage channel vegetation (c).
Rocky Hill Slope Vegetation of the Moresby Range
Three vegetation communities (Gh1, Gh2 and Gh3) were mapped on the hill slopes of the Moresby
Range. These communities were restricted to the Range and were not widespread.
of the Range. Gh1 was mapped over 0.1% (129 ha) of the Study Area. Gh1 is part of the Moresby
Range Priority 1 PEC.
Gh2: Mixed Acacia spp. and Melaleuca spp. sparse to open tall shrubs, over Verticordia
chrysanthella and Gastrolobium plicatum low shrubland. Three subunits that could not be
distinguished on the aerial photographs occurred within this community. Gh2/a and Gh2/b were
common on the foot and mid slopes of the Moresby Range but were also recorded on low rocky hills
away from the Range, while Gh2/c occurred only on open rocky areas on lower hill slopes. Gh2 was
mapped over 0.3% (586 ha) of the Study Area. Gh2 is part of the Moresby Range Priority 1 PEC.
Gh2/a: Isolated Acacia congesta subsp. congesta, Acacia ulicina and Acacia tetragonophylla
tall shrubs, over Verticordia chrysanthella low shrubland, with isolated Gastrolobium
plicatum and Scholtzia ciliata low shrubs, over Lepidosperma tenue and Caesia micrantha
Gh2/b: Melaleuca megacephala and Melaleuca radula (+/‐Allocasuarina campestris) sparse
tall shrubland, over Hibbertia hypericoides, Grevillea excelsior, Verticordia chrysanthella and
Gh2/c: Melaleuca radula and Acacia congesta subsp. congesta open mid shrubland, over
shrubland, over mixed sparse sedgeland.