Shy featherflower (Verticordia fimbrilepis subsp fimbrilepis) interim recovery plan



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Social and economic impacts

Subpopulation 5b occurs on private property; and Population 13 occurs on land where gravel is extracted and the protection of Verticordia fimbrilepis subsp. fimbrilepis may potentially affect development on these sites. Two sites of Aboriginal significance also occur in the areas of Populations 3 and 7 and recovery actions may potentially impact on Indigenous interests.



Affected interests

Affected interests are relevant Indigenous groups, local Shires, Western Power, Main Roads WA, Department of Water and private landholders.




Evaluation of the Plan’s Performance

The DEC in conjunction with the Swan Region Threatened Flora and Communities Recovery Team (SRTFCRT) and Great Southern Region Threatened Flora Recovery Team (GSRTFRT) will evaluate the performance of this plan. In addition to annual reporting on progress and evaluation against the criteria for success and failure, the plan will be reviewed following four years of implementation.


2. RECOVERY OBJECTIVE AND CRITERIA

Objective

The objective of this Recovery Plan is to abate identified threats and maintain or enhance in situ populations to ensure the long-term preservation of the subspecies in the wild.


Criteria for success: The number of populations has increased and/or the number of mature individuals has increased by ten percent or more over the term of the plan.

Criteria for failure: The number of populations has decreased and/or the number of mature individuals has decreased by ten percent or more over the term of the plan.


3. RECOVERY ACTIONS




Existing recovery actions

Relevant stakeholders have been made aware of the existence of this subspecies and its locations. These notifications detail the current status of the species as Declared Rare Flora (DRF) and the associated legal obligations in regards to their protection.


Declared Rare Flora (DRF) markers have been installed at Populations 1, 2, 4, 6 and 12 and Subpopulations 5a and 5b. These serve to alert people working in the vicinity to the presence of the DRF and the need to avoid work that may damage plants or their habitat. Dashboard stickers and posters describing the significance of DRF markers have been produced and distributed.
In July 1998, 150 plants of Verticordia fimbrilepis subsp. fimbrilepis were translocated into a proposed Timber Reserve near Beaufort (Bone and Graham 1998). All plants were grown from cuttings taken from five plants in Population 3 and grown by the Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority (BGPA). The translocation was conducted on an experimental basis and has provided information about effective techniques for future translocations. Three treatments were tested: water, mulch and control (no watering or mulching). The number of surviving plants, height, crown width, reproductive state, number of inflorescences and follicles, and general health are being monitored. By March 1999, 56 of 150 introduced plants (37.3%) were dead. The least number of deaths (26%) were in watered plants and the most (44%) were in mulched plants. In March 2004, only five plants were still alive. Native grass had re-established at the site along with wild oats and veldt grass.
Weed control trials were conducted by DEC Katanning District at Population 1 following an uncontrolled fire in 1990. The population, located on a road reserve, was heavily infested with Veldt grass (Ehrharta longiflora) and the grass-selective herbicide, Fusilade®, was applied twice per year from 1993 to 1996. Initially, a smaller area of 200m2 was sprayed covering eight Verticordia plants. Then in 1994, the trial was expanded to include the whole population. During the three years of the trial, no detrimental effects were noted on any Verticordia plants. Although a reduction in grass mass was observed other bulbous and broadleaf weeds, which Fusilade® did not control, replaced them. Also Guildford grass (Romulea rosea) became abundant.
In 1997, Robert Buehrig conducted surveys for new populations of Verticordia fimbrilepis subsp. fimbrilepis. Over 40 waypoints were visited from Aldersyde southward to Woodanilling but no new populations were found (Buehrig 1997).
In 2009, a new population of Verticordia fimbrilepis subsp. fimbrilepis was found south east of Armadale by Fred and Jean Hort.
Some 31,535 Verticordia fimbrilepis subsp. fimbrilepis seeds collected between 1996 and 2004 are stored in DEC’s Threatened Flora Seed Centre at –18C and 4C (Table 5). The TFSC test the viability of the seed and the initial germination rate was found to range from 29 to 92%, averaging 53% (A. Cochrane unpublished data).
Table 5: DEC’s Threatened Flora Seed Centre collections for Verticordia fimbrilepis subsp. fimbrilepis

Date

Population No.

No. seeds

Germination (%)

24 January 1996

6

670

38

24 January 1996

4

2988

92

24 January 1996

7

5242

86

20 February 1996

4

1945

48

20 February 1996

7

2437

39

20 February 1996

8

723

64

2 March 1997

7

3462

77

2 March 1997

4

1228

62

2 March 1997

8

227

30

20 January 1998

4

946

29

21 January 1998, 3 February 1998, 2 February 1998

1

228

35

4 February 1998

7

5255

83

4 February 1998

8

405

38

9 February 2000

5

488

31

11 February 2000

10

668

38

12 February 2004

14

4623

Test not complete

A further collection of approximately 9.6 g of Verticordia fimbrilepis subsp. fimbrilepis seed from 20 plants at Subpopulation 7b was made in January 2000 by DEC’s Colin Yates. The seed was forwarded to the Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority (BGPA) for storage.


Cutting material from Population 3 was collected in 1994, 1997, 1998, 1999 and 2000 and forwarded to the BGPA at Kings Park for propagation. Of the 3,061 propagules (eight from graftings; 3,053 from cuttings), 702 struck, with an average propagation rate of approximately 25%. The majority of the material grown between 1999 and 2000 was used for a translocation with the remainder since dying. The only living specimens currently at Kings Park are two plants, approximately 12 months old, which were germinated by the TFSC from seed collected at Population 14 on February 2004.
Staff from DEC’s Perth Hills and Great Southern Districts regularly monitor populations.
The SRTFCRT and GSDTFRT are overseeing the implementation of this recovery plan and will include information on progress in their annual report to DEC’s Corporate Executive and funding bodies.

RECOVERY ACTIONS

Where recovery actions occur on lands other than those managed by DEC, permission has been or will be sought from appropriate owners/land managers prior to recovery actions being undertaken. The following recovery actions are generally in order of descending priority, influenced by their timing over the life of the plan. However this should not constrain addressing any of the actions if funding is available and other opportunities arise.


1. Coordinate recovery actions

The SRTFCRT and GSDTFRT will continue to oversee the implementation of recovery actions for Verticordia fimbrilepis subsp. fimbrilepis and will include information on progress in their annual report to DEC's Corporate Executive and funding bodies.


Action: Coordinate recovery actions

Responsibility: DEC (Swan Region and Great Southern District) through the SRTFCRT and GSDTFRT

Cost: $6,000 per year

2. Stimulate germination



Verticordia fimbrilepis subsp. fimbrilepis appears to germinate well following smoke water treatment or fire. Further treatments will be undertaken at senescing populations. Records will need to be maintained for future research. Any disturbance trials will need to be undertaken in conjunction with weed control.
Action: Stimulate germination

Responsibility: DEC (Science Division, Perth Hills and Great Southern Districts) through the SRTFCRT and GSDTFRT

Cost: $7,000 in years 1 and 3, $2,000 in years 2, 4 and 5

3. Install Declared Rare Flora (DRF) markers or replace where necessary

DRF markers are required at Population 15 and need to be replaced at Population 4.


Action: Install DRF markers or replace where necessary

Responsibility: DEC (Great Southern District) through the GSDTFRT

Cost: $3,000 in year 1

4. Undertake weed control and follow up with additional control if required

Weeds are a major threat to most populations and control is required. The following tasks will be undertaken:




  1. Determine which weeds are present and map them.

  2. Select appropriate technique; herbicide, mowing or hand weeding.

  3. Control invasive weeds by hand removal and/or spot spraying around the Verticordia fimbrilepis subsp. fimbrilepis plants when weeds first emerge.

  4. Revegetation with site-specific species is required (in Autumn) to maintain low weed levels.

  5. Monitor the success of the treatment on weed death, and the tolerance of Verticordia fimbrilepis subsp. fimbrilepis and associated native plant species to the treatment.

  6. Report on the method and success of the threatment, and effect on Verticordia fimbrilepis subsp. fimbrilepis plants and associated species.


Action: Undertake weed control and follow up with additional control if required

Responsibility: DEC (Perth Hills and Great Southern Districts) through the SRTFCRT and GSDTFRT

Cost: $6,000 per year, as required
5. Maintain disease hygiene
Verticordia fimbrilepis subsp. fimbrilepis is susceptible to dieback caused by Phytophthora cinnamomi. Dieback hygiene (outlined in CALM 2003 (now DEC)) will be followed for activities such as installation and maintenance of firebreaks and when walking into populations in wet soil conditions. Purpose built signs advising of the dieback risk and high conservation values of the sites will be installed where required.
Action: Maintain disease hygiene

Responsibility: DEC (Perth Hills and Great Southern Districts) through the SRTFCRT and GSDTFRT

Cost: $2,000 per year

6. Monitor populations

Monitoring of factors such as weed invasion, habitat degradation, hydrology (including salinity), population stability (expansion or decline), pollinator activity, seed production, recruitment, and longevity is essential. The populations will be inspected and an accurate location recorded.


Action: Monitor populations

Responsibility: DEC (Perth Hills and Great Southern Districts) through the SRTFCRT and GSDTFRT

Cost: $10,000 per year
7. Rehabilitate habitat
Once gravel extraction has finished at the site, disturbed areas in the habitat containing Population 13 should be deep ripped and allowed to regenerate naturally.
Action: Rehabilitate habitat

Responsibility: DEC (Great Southern District) through the GSDTFRT

Cost: $5,000 in first year

8. Collect seed and other material to preserve genetic diversity

Although a large number of seeds have been collected, the subspecies is not well represented in the seed store. The germination rate for most of the seed collected is relatively low so the actual number of germinants that can be produced is also quite low. Populations 10, 11 and 16 will be the priority for seed collection as they account for a large percentage of known plants.


Action: Collect seed and other material to preserve genetic diversity

Responsibility: DEC (Perth Hills and Great Southern Districts, TFSC), BGPA through the SRTFCRT and GSDTFRT

Cost: $5,000 per year

9. Implement rabbit control where necessary

The level of threat posed by rabbits in Populations 4, 7, 8, 13 and 14 appears to vary from year to year. When monitoring ascertains the threat is high, control measures may be required. Control should be undertaken in summer when less green feed is available as an alternative food source.


Action: Implement rabbit control where necessary

Responsibility: DEC (Perth Hills and Great Southern Districts) through the SRTFCRT and GSDTFRT; relevant land managers

Cost: $7,000 in years 1, 3 and 5



10. Implement feral pig control where necessary

Feral pigs can damage threatened flora and its habitat when digging in search of food. Pigs can also introduce weed seeds and nutrients and the soil disturbance encourages establishment of weeds. Feral pig activity has been recorded at Population 16 and control may be necessary.


Action: Implement feral pig control where necessary

Responsibility: DEC (Perth Hills District) through the SRTFCRT

Cost: $5,000 per year

11. Develop and implement a fire response strategy

Fire will be prevented from occurring in the habitat of populations, except where it is being used experimentally as a recovery tool. A fire response strategy will be developed that recommends fire frequency, intensity, season, and control measures.


Action: Develop and implement a fire response strategy

Responsibility: DEC (Perth Hills and Great Southern Districts) through the SRTFCRT and GSDTFRT

Cost: $10,000 in first year and $2,000 in subsequent years

12. Conduct further surveys

It is recommended that areas of potential habitat be surveyed for the presence of Verticordia fimbrilepis subsp. fimbrilepis during its flowering period between July and December.


All surveyed areas will be recorded and the presence or absence of the subspecies documented to increase survey efficiency and reduce unnecessary duplicate surveys. Where possible, volunteers from the local community, Landcare groups, wildflower societies and naturalists clubs will be encouraged to be involved.
Action: Conduct further surveys

Responsibility: DEC (Perth Hills and Great Southern Districts) through the SRTFCRT and GSDTFRT

Cost: $5,000 in years 1, 3 and 5

13. Achieve long-term protection of habitat

DEC will investigate the possibility of land containing populations of Verticordia fimbrilepis subsp. fimbrilepis being declared as reserves.


Action: Achieve long-term protection of habitat

Responsibility: DEC (Perth Hills and Great Southern Districts, Land Unit); Department of Planning (DoP); Department of Mines and Petroleum (DMP), through the SRTFCRT and GSDTFRT

Cost: $3,000 per year

14. Map habitat critical to the survival of Verticordia fimbrilepis subsp. fimbrilepis


Although habitat critical to the survival of Verticordia fimbrilepis subsp. fimbrilepis is alluded to in Section 1, it has not yet been mapped. If additional populations are located, then habitat critical to their survival will also be determined and mapped.
Action: Map habitat critical to the survival of Verticordia fimbrilepis subsp. fimbrilepis

Responsibility: DEC (SCB, Perth Hills and Great Southern Districts) through the SRTFCRT and GSDTFRT

Cost: $6,000 in year 2
15. Liaise with relevant land managers and Indigenous groups
Staff from DEC’s Perth Hills and Great Southern Districts will liaise with relevant land managers to ensure that populations of Verticordia fimbrilepis subsp. fimbrilepis are not accidentaly damaged or destroyed. Indigenous consultation will also take place to determine if there are any issues or interests in areas that are habitat for V. fimbrilepis subsp. fimbrilepis.
Action: Liaise with relevant land managers and Indigenous groups

Responsibility: DEC (Perth Hills and Great Southern Districts) through the SRTFCRT and GSDTFRT

Cost: $2,000 per year

16. Promote awareness

The importance of biodiversity conservation and the protection of Verticordia fimbrilepis subsp. fimbrilepis will be promoted to the public. This will be achieved through an information campaign using local print and electronic media and by setting up poster displays. An information sheet that includes a description of the plant, its habitat type, threats and management actions, and photos will be produced. Formal links with local naturalist groups and interested individuals will also be encouraged.


Action: Promote awareness

Responsibility: DEC (Perth Hills and Great Southern Districts, SCB, Strategic Development and Corporate Affairs Division) through the SRTFCRT and GSDTFRT
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