Shy featherflower (Verticordia fimbrilepis subsp fimbrilepis) interim recovery plan



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Table 1. Summary of population land vesting, purpose and manager


Pop. No. & Location

DEC District

Shire

Vesting

Purpose

Manager

1. West of Woodanilling

Great Southern

Woodanilling

Shire of Woodanilling

Road Reserve

Shire of Woodanilling

2. West of Woodanilling

Great Southern

Woodanilling

Shire of Woodanilling

Road Reserve

Shire of Woodanilling

3. South of Arthur River

Great Southern

West Arthur

Conservation Commission of WA

Conservation of Flora and Fauna

DEC

4. SE of Aldersyde

Great Southern

Brookton

Shire of Brookton

Road Reserve

Shire of Brookton

5a. NE of Kojonup

Great Southern

Kojonup

Shire of Kojonup

Road Reserve

Shire of Kojonup

5b. NE of Kojonup

Great Southern

Kojonup

Freehold

Private Property

Landowners

6. East of Narrogin

Great Southern

Narrogin

Shire of Narrogin

Road Reserve

Shire of Narrogin

7a. SE of Aldersyde

Great Southern

Pingelly

Shire of Pingelly

Road Reserve

Shire of Pingelly

7b. SE of Aldersyde

Great Southern

Pingelly

Conservation Commission of WA

Conservation of Flora and Fauna

DEC

8a. Aldersyde

Great Southern

Brookton

Shire of Brookton

Road Reserve

Shire of Brookton

8b. West of Aldersyde

Great Southern

Brookton

Shire of Brookton

Road Reserve

Shire of Brookton

8c. West of Aldersyde

Great Southern

Brookton

Shire of Brookton

Reserve (Parkland & Recreation)

Shire of Brookton

8d. West of Aldersyde

Great Southern

Brookton

Shire of Brookton

Reserve (Golf)

Shire of Brookton

8e. West of Aldersyde

Great Southern

Brookton

Shire of Brookton

Reserve (Golf)

Shire of Brookton

9. West of Brookton

Perth Hills

Beverley

Minister for Water Resources

Water Reserve

Department of Water

10. NE of North Bannister

Perth Hills

Wandering

Land and Forests Commission

State Forest

DEC

11. NE of North Bannister

Perth Hills

Wandering

Land and Forests Commission

State Forest

DEC

12. West of Woodanilling

Great Southern

Woodanilling

Shire of Woodanilling

Road Reserve

Shire of Woodanilling

13. East of Aldersyde

Great Southern

Brookton

Shire of Brookton

Reserve (gravel pit)

Shire of Brookton

14a. South of Pingelly

Great Southern

Cuballing

Conservation Commission of WA

Conservation of Flora and Fauna

DEC

14b. South of Pingelly

Great Southern

Cuballing

Conservation Commission of WA

Conservation of Flora and Fauna

DEC

14c. South of Pingelly

Great Southern

Cuballing

Conservation Commission of WA

Conservation of Flora and Fauna

DEC

15. North of Kojonup

Great Southern

Woodanilling

MRWA

Road Reserve

MRWA

16. SE of Armadale

Perth Hills

Armadale

Land and Forests Commission

State Forest

DEC

Note: Populations in bold text are considered to be important populations, MRWA = Main Roads Western Australia.

Biology and ecology
Research conducted into the reproductive biology and ecology of Verticordia fimbrilepis subsp. fimbrilepis by Yates and Ladd (2005) found that insect visitors to the taxon included wasps, bees, flies, beetles and butterflies. The diversity of insect visitors to flowers, rates of pollination, and seed production were equal or greater for small populations on road reserves compared with the larger populations in conservation reserves.
Yates and Ladd (2005) also concluded that seeds of Verticordia fimbrilepis subsp. fimbrilepis remained dormant in the soil for at least 30 months. Germination of soil-stored seed was stimulated by the use of smoke. Adult plants were killed by fire but mass recruitment from soil-stored seed occurred in the first and second winters following. Seedling survival depended on water availability, nutrient levels and grazing pressure. Fire suppression may adversely affect the Verticordia as most populations are declining and cannot recover without the occurrence of fire. Small, fragmented populations however, are more affected by weeds which are also abundant after fire, thereby outweighing any positive effects of fire without intervention management.
Verticordia fimbrilepis subsp. fimbrilepis is considered susceptible to dieback caused by Phytophthora cinnamomi with 80% mortality observed after testing 20 individuals.
Threats
Verticordia fimbrilepis subsp. fimbrilepis was declared as Rare Flora under the Western Australian Wildlife Conservation Act 1950 on 25 September 1987 and is currently ranked Vulnerable in WA against IUCN (2001) criteria. The subspecies is listed under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act 1999) as Endangered. The main threats to the subspecies are insecure land tenure, road maintenance activities, weed invasion, poor recruitment, inappropriate fire regimes, grazing, trampling, feral pigs, Phytophthora dieback, powerline maintenance, salinity, farming activities and gravel extraction.


  • Insecure land tenure. The majority of populations are found on land tenure that is not consistent with conservation and is of poor and deteriorating quality.

  • Road maintenance activities threaten Populations 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 12, 13 and 15. Threats include grading, chemical spraying, construction of drainage channels and the mowing/maintenance of roadside vegetation. Several of these actions also encourage weed invasion.

  • Habitat degradation by weed invasion is a threat to Populations 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 12 and 13. Weeds suppress early plant growth by competing for soil moisture, nutrients and light. They also increase the fire hazard due to the easy ignition of high fuel loads, which are produced annually by many grass weed species.

  • Poor recruitment has been observed in all populations, possibly due to a reduction of fire or other factors that may influence reproduction.

  • Inappropriate fire regimes may affect the viability of populations. As seeds of Verticordia fimbrilepis subsp. fimbrilepis germinate following fire, occasional fires are needed for reproduction, however, the soil seed bank would rapidly be depleted if fires recurred before regenerating or juvenile plants reached maturity. Fire may facilitate weed invasion and should be followed up with appropriate weed control.

  • Grazing and trampling by stock (sheep) and rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) are a threat to Populations 3, 4, 7, 8, 13 and 14. As well as directly grazing Verticordia fimbrilepis subsp. fimbrilepis, the animals impact on the habitat by potentially spreading dieback and also by digging, trampling and breaking foliage. An increased nutrient level in the soil from droppings is likely and may encourage weed invasion. Grazing would have an impact on the establishment of young plants of V. fimbrilepis subsp. fimbrilepis thereby limiting natural recruitment.

  • Feral Pigs (Sus scrofa) have been recorded in Population 16. Feral Pigs can directly damage the subspecies and its habitat when digging in search of food. They can also introduce weed seeds and nutrients. Soil disturbance also encourages the establishment of weeds.

  • Phytophthora dieback caused by Phytophthora cinnamomi, a pathogen that causes root rot resulting in susceptible plants dying of drought stress, is a threat to Verticordia fimbrilepis subsp. fimbrilepis. Although it is not known if the pathogen is prevalent in the area of populations, the subspecies is considered to be susceptible to the pathogen.

  • Powerline maintenance is a potential threat to Populations 2 and 3. Disturbance during maintenance may encourage weed invasion and also directly damage plants. Western Power has been notified of the populations.

  • Salinity is a potential threat to Population 3. The vegetation in the reserve where the subspecies occurs is being impacted by salinity with EM38 readings ranging from 52 to 92 (slightly saline). It is not known how Verticordia fimbrilepis subsp. fimbrilepis will respond to changes in soil salt levels.

  • Farming activities including fence maintenance and spray drift are a threat to Populations 4 and 12. Part of Population 4 is located near a property gate and maintenance may damage the population. Herbicide and fertilizer applied on properties adjacent to Populations 4 and 12 have the potential to drift onto the road reserve.

  • Gravel extraction is a threat to Population 13 as it occurs in an active gravel pit. The subspecies may be damaged or completely removed during this process, and the risk of increasing the spread of dieback disease through the area is increased. Gravel extraction is also a potential risk to Subpopulation 8c as the area is a possible future source of gravel for the Shire.

The intent of this plan is to provide actions that will deal with immediate threats to Verticordia fimbrilepis subsp. fimbrilepis. Although climate change may have a long-term effect on the subspecies, actions taken directly to prevent the impact of climate change are beyond the scope of this plan.


Table 2. Summary of population information and threats


Pop. No. & Location

Land Status

Year / No. of plants

Current Condition

Threats

1. West of Woodanilling

Shire Road Reserve

1984

1987


1991

1996


1998

1999


53

17

13



11

4 [1]


6 [2]

Poor

Weeds, road maintenance

2. West of Woodanilling

Shire Road Reserve

1984

1987


1988

1991


1996

1997


1998

1999


20

7

10



0

0

0



0

0


Population extinct

Road maintenance, weeds, powerline maintenance

3. South of Arthur River

Nature Reserve

1987

1991


1994

1996


1998

1999


2000

1

28

6



3 [2]

4 (1)


3 [1]

0 [4]


Poor

Powerline maintenance, salinity, weeds, grazing, trampling

4. SE of Aldersyde

Shire Road Reserve

1993

1995


1997

1998


2005

50

46

83 (7)



83

61


Poor

Road maintenance, farming activities, grazing (rabbits), weeds

5a. NE of Kojonup

Shire Road Reserve

1992

1996


1999

2

2

0



Poor

Road maintenance, weeds

5b. NE of Kojonup

Private Property

1999

2000


2001

95

100


25

Healthy




6. East of Narrogin

Shire Road Reserve

1992

1995


1997

2003


17

13

1



0

Poor

Road maintenance, weeds

7a. SE of Aldersyde

Shire Road Reserve

1995

1996


1998

100 (230)

330


796+

Healthy

Road maintenance, weeds, grazing (rabbits)

7b. SE of Aldersyde

Nature Reserve

1995

1998


2

305+


Healthy

Grazing (rabbits)

8a. Aldersyde

Shire Road Reserve

1995

1996


1998

2005


0

1

0



0

Disturbed

Road maintenance, weeds, grazing (rabbits)

8b. West of Aldersyde

Shire Road Reserve

1997

1998


40

40


Moderate

Road maintenance, weeds

8c. West of Aldersyde

Shire Reserve (Parklands and Recreation)

1995

1998


2006

23

27

2 [1]



Healthy

Weeds, grazing, gravel extraction

8d. West of Aldersyde

Shire Reserve

1995

1998


2005

17

10

12 [2]



Healthy

Weeds, grazing

8e. West of Aldersyde

Shire Reserve

1999

2005


43

30


Healthy

Weeds, grazing

9. West of Brookton

Water Reserve

1970

0

Population extinct

Phytophthora dieback

10. NE of North Bannister

State Forest

2000

2003


757 (100+)

10040


Healthy




11. NE of North Bannister

State Forest

2000

2003


2000+ (2000+)

19120


Healthy




12. West of Woodanilling

Shire Road Reserve

1999

2005


185 (6)

77 [5]


Moderate

Road maintenance, weeds, farming activities

13. East of Aldersyde

Shire Reserve (Gravel pit)

2005

0




Road maintenance, weeds, grazing, gravel extraction

14a. South of Pingelly

Nature Reserve

2001

482

Healthy

Phytophthora dieback

14b. South of Pingelly

Nature Reserve

2001

12

Healthy

Phytophthora dieback

14c. South of Pingelly

Nature Reserve

2004

110+ (9) [1]

Healthy

Phytophthora dieback, grazing (rabbits)

15. North of Kojonup

MRWA Road Reserve

2003

10

Moderate

Road maintenance

16. SE of Armadale

State Forest

2009

5000+

Healthy

Feral pigs

Note: * = total for both subpopulations, ( ) = number of seedlings, [ ] = number dead, MRWA = Main Roads Western Australia.

Guide for decision-makers

Section 1 provides details of current and possible future threats. Actions for development and/or land clearing in the immediate vicinity of Verticordia fimbrilepis subsp. fimbrilepis may require assessment.


Actions that could result in any of the following may potentially result in a significant impact on the species:

  • Damage or destruction of occupied or potential habitat

  • Alteration of the local surface hydrology or drainage of occupied or potential habitat

  • Reduction in population size of any population

  • a major increase in disturbance in the vicinity of a population


Habitat critical to the survival of the species, and important populations
It is considered that the habitat for populations 4, 5, 7, 8, 10, 11, 12, 14 and 16 is critical to the survival of Verticordia fimbrilepis subsp. fimbrilepis and that these populations are important populations. Habitat critical to the survival of V. fimbrilepis subsp. fimbrilepis includes the area of occupancy of these populations, areas of similar habitat surrounding these populations (these providing potential habitat for population expansion and for pollinators), additional occurrences of similar habitat that may contain undiscovered populations of the subspecies or be suitable for future translocations, and the local catchment of these populations for the surface and/or groundwater that maintains the habitat of the subspecies.
Benefits to other species or ecological communities
Recovery actions implemented to improve the quality or security of the habitat of Verticordia fimbrilepis subsp. fimbrilepis will also improve the status of other rare species and associated native vegetation. Four Declared Rare Flora (DRF) species and 15 Priority flora taxa occur within 500 m of V. fimbrilepis subsp. fimbrilepis. These taxa are listed in the table below:
Table 3. Conservation–listed flora species occurring within 500m of Verticordia fimbrilepis subsp. fimbrilepis

Species name

Conservation Status (WA)

Conservation Status

(EPBC Act 1999)

Banksia ionthocarpa subsp. chrysophoenix

DRF (CR)

Endangered

Hemigenia ramosissima

DRF (CR)

Critically Endangered

Conostylis drummondii

DRF (EN)

Endangered

Tribonanthes purpurea

DRF (VU)

Vulnerable

Banksia dallanneyi subsp. agricola

Priority 2

-

Calytrix sp. Jingaring

Priority 2

-

Leucopogon cymbiformis

Priority 2

-

Stylidium emarginatum subsp. exappendiculatum

Priority 2

-

Trichocline sp.Treeton (B.J. Keighery & N. Gibson 564).

Priority 2

-

Acacia anarthros

Priority 3

-

Anigozanthos bicolor subsp. exstans

Priority 3

-

Brachyloma mogin

Priority 3

-

Goodenia trichophylla

Priority 3

-

Grevillea manglesii subsp. dissectifolia

Priority 3

-

Stylidium marradongense

Priority 3

-

Stylidium pseudohirsutum

Priority 3

-

Synaphea drummondii

Priority 3

-

Anthotium junciforme

Priority 4

-

Calothamnus brevifolius

Priority 4

-

Verreauxia verreauxii

Priority 4

-

For a description of the Priority categories see Atkins (2009).
Verticordia fimbrilepis subsp. fimbrilepis at Subpopulation 5b occurs within one kilometre of a Priority Ecological Community (PEC). This PEC is described as Claypans with mid dense shrublands of Melaleuca lateritia over herbs.
Table 4: Threatened Ecological Communities that Verticordia fimbrilepis subsp. fimbrilepis occurs near

Community Name

Conservation status (WA)

Conservation Status (EPBC Act 1999)

Claypans with dense shrublands of Melaleuca lateritia over herbs

Priority 1

-

For a description of the PEC categories see DEC (2007)
International obligations
This plan is fully consistent with the aims and recommendations of the Convention on Biological Diversity, ratified by Australia in June 1993, and will assist in implementing Australia’s responsibilities under that Convention. The subspecies is listed under Appendix II in the United Nations Environment Program World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), however this plan does not affect Australia’s obligations under any other international agreements.
Indigenous Consultation
A search of the Department of Indigenous Affairs Aboriginal Heritage Sites Register has identified two sites of Aboriginal significance in the areas of Populations 3 and 7. These sites are listed as Measles Bridge Camp (#19933) a historical camp (open, no restrictions) and Nalya/Brookton (#5718) man-made structure (open, no restrictions).

Input and involvement has been sought through the South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council (SWALSC) and Department of Indigenous Affairs to determine if there are any issues or interests. As this is not expected to be completed before adoption of the Recovery plan, further consultation has been included as a recovery action to ensure there has been Indigenous engagement in relation to the recovery actions proposed in this plan.


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