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A survey of the roadside conservation values in the Shire of Dalwallinu and roadside management guidelines 





The Shire of Dalwallinu is located 250 km north-east of Perth in Western Australia’s 

northern wheatbelt region, otherwise known as the Midlands region. The Shire covers an 

area of 7,187 square km and supports a population of approximately 1,767 people. It is 

serviced by 1,939 km of roads, of which 449 km are sealed (W.A. Local Government 

Directory, 2003-2004). The Dalwallinu townsite is the administrative centre for the Shire; 

other localities include Kalannie, Wubin, Pithara and Buntine. 


The area experiences a Mediterranean climate with an average annual rainfall of 

360mm. Seasonal temperatures are characterised by warm summers, with maxima 

averaging from the high twenties, and mild winters, with maxima in the mid teens. Mean 

daily maximum and minimum temperatures and rainfall statistics are shown below.  

Figure 1 – Mean daily maximum and minimum temperature (


C) and rainfall (mm) in the 

Shire of Dalwallinu, based on climate averages from the Dalwallinu weather station 008039  

(commenced 1912; Last record: 2003).



The primary land use is agriculture, which accounts for 575,482 hectares of land or 78% 

of the Shire. There are 8,917 hectares of A-Class Conservation Reserves in the Shire, 

representing 1.24% of land area. Other local industries include bulk fertiliser services, 

shearing, gypsum mining, Ostrich farming and cedar blind manufacture (Shire of 

Dalwallinu, www.dalwallinu.wa.gov.au/geography/landuse&.htm). 


82.3%, or 595,418 ha of the Shire is located within the Intensive Land-use Zone (ILZ), 

an area dominated by intensive agricultural enterprises such as cropping and grazing 























Temperature (











Rainfall (mm)

Mean monthly rainfall - mm                        

Mean daily maximum temperature - deg C            

Mean daily minimum temperature - deg C            

A survey of the roadside conservation values in the Shire of Dalwallinu and roadside management guidelines 

with some horticulture, intensive livestock production and resource protection. The 

remaining 17.7% (128, 263 ha) of the Shire is located within the Extensive Land-use 

Zone (ELZ), which is dominated by grazing and mining activities (Shepherd, Beeston & 

Hopkins, 2001). These zones are illustrated in Figure 2. 

Figure 2- Land-use zones in Western Australia (Department of Agriculture WA, 2004). 


Tourism plays an important role with the area's spectacular natural resources being a 

major attraction.


Dalwallinu is the first town on The Wildflower Way, a well-known 

Western Australian tourist route which stretches north to Mullewa. The prime season for 

wildflowers is between July and October. Each year thousands of wildflower enthusiasts 

and nature lovers make the journey to enjoy the rare and beautiful sight of flowers 

literally carpeting the countryside. Other salient features of the area include the Old 

Courthouse Tourist Information Centre, Wubin Wheatbelt Museum, The Old Well and 

Petrudor Rock. 

A survey of the roadside conservation values in the Shire of Dalwallinu and roadside management guidelines 


1.1  Flora and Fauna 

Based on WA Herbarium records, over 900 species of plants have been recorded from 

the Shire of Dalwallinu. These include 108 species of Acacia, 48 species of Eucalypt, 48 

species of Grevillea, 34 species of Melaleuca, 20 species of Eremophila and 23 species 

of Verticordia, see Appendix 4.  


The unique flora seen in the remnant bushland on roadsides rival horticultural varieties 

of exotic origin and require less water and fertiliser. They have evolved to cope with the 

low nutrient status of the Western Australia soils and a low annual rainfall with long dry 



Threatened and priority fauna observed in the Shire of Dalwallinu, based on information 

from the Department of Conservation and Land Management, indicates that

 ??? species


have been recorded or sighted throughout the Shire,  


1.2  Remnant Vegetation Cover 


The Painted Featherflower (Verticordia picta) can be seen flowering in 

Dalwallinu between July and November. 

Photography by A. Carr, M. Hancock, M. Seale & S. D. Hopper. Photo used with the permission 

of the WA Herbarium, CALM (http://florabase.calm.wa.gov.au/help/photos#reuse).


A survey of the roadside conservation values in the Shire of Dalwallinu and roadside management guidelines 

Within the Intensive Land-use Zone (see Figure 2), the Shire of Dalwallinu retains 12% 

of its original native vegetation cover. These remnants are located in a variety of 

tenures, from nature and crown reserves to privately owned bushland. Flora and fauna 

living in these isolated remnants require connectivity throughout the landscape to find 

nesting sites, food, shelter and to breed. As a consequence, the presence of native 

vegetation in transport corridors is of vital importance. The presence of bush corridors to 

connect these areas is paramount to the survival of our native flora and fauna. A 

comparison of remnant vegetation in Dalwallinu and with surrounding Shires can be 

seen in Table 1.  



Percentage of Vegetation Cover 


Area (Ha) of Vegetation Cover 


Dalwallinu 12.0% 


Mukinbudin 14.0% 


Westonia 21.5% 


Kellerberrin 7.4% 


Trayning 8.4% 


Merredin 11.8% 


Table 1. Remnant vegetation remaining in the Shire of Dalwallinu and surrounding Shires 

(Shepherd et al 2001). 

Note: Does not account for areas of these Shires occurring within the Extensive Land-use 

Zone (ELZ), i.e. pastoral areas of these Shires. 


National Objectives and Targets for Biodiversity Conservation 2001-2005 



Australia, 2001) stated that vegetation associations represented by less than 30% 

remnant vegetation cover are considered ecologically endangered and in need of 

protection and restoration wherever they are located. There are 9 vegetation 

associations below the 30% target of vegetation coverage and 2 with less than 10% 

remaining in the Shire of Dalwallinu, see Table 2. National targets for biodiversity 

conservation (2001-2005) state the need to have protection measures in place for those 

vegetation associations that are below 30%. Vegetation associations with less than 10% 

are considered endangered whilst those between 10-30% are considered vulnerable and 

those between 30-50% are considered depleted (of the pre 1750 extent).   



A survey of the roadside conservation values in the Shire of Dalwallinu and roadside management guidelines 


Mature Wandoo are important habitat 


Photo by B. M. Hussey 




Since the settlement of Western Australia by Europeans, large areas of native 

vegetation in the south west of the state have been cleared for agriculture, roads, 

settlements, and other development. The fragmentation of the more or less continuous 

expanse of native vegetation communities by clearing has resulted in the isolation of 

plant and animal populations which have become severely disadvantaged by becoming 

isolated within a mosaic of man-made biogeographical islands of small native vegetation 

remnants. These are typically unreliable for sustaining wildlife due to food shortages, 

disease and reduced genetic diversity caused by a diminishing gene pool. Nevertheless, 

the presence of native vegetation along roadsides can often assist in alleviating this 

isolation effect by providing connectivity between bush remnants, thereby facilitating the 

movement of biota across the landscape.  


Remnant vegetation includes more than just trees, comprising a diverse mix of trees, 

shrubs and ground covers (creepers, grasses and herbs) which when intact provide 

valuable food and shelter for local biodiversity. 

Existing native vegetation generally requires less 

maintenance if left undisturbed. 


Remnants in transport corridors are also 

valuable because they: 


are often the only remaining example of 

original vegetation within extensively cleared 



are easier to maintain and generally less fire 

prone than introduced vegetation; 


provide habitat for many native species of 

plants, mammals, reptiles, amphibians and 



provide wildlife corridors linking other areas of 

native vegetation; 


often contain rare and endangered plants and 

animals. Currently, roadside plants represent 

more than 80 per cent of the known populations 

of 40 of the declared rare species, and three of 

these are known only to exist in roadside 



provide the basis for our important wildflower 

A survey of the roadside conservation values in the Shire of Dalwallinu and roadside management guidelines 

tourism industry. The aesthetic appeal of well-maintained roadsides should not be 

overlooked, and they have the potential to improve local tourism and provide a sense 

of place; 


often contain sites of historic or cultural significance; 


provide windbreaks and stock shelter areas for adjoining farmland by helping to 

stabilise temperature and reduce evaporation. 


assist with erosion and salinity control, and not only in the land adjoining the road 

reserve per se;  


are generally far less of a fire threat than annual weeds; 


provide a benchmark for the study of soil change throughout the advancement of 



provide a valuable source of seed for regeneration projects. This is especially 

pertinent to shrub species, as clearing and grazing beneath farm trees often removes 

this layer; 

Approval of the local shire and a CALM permit are required prior to collection


In a time of rapid change, where the demands placed on the natural resources are 

numerous, it is vital that there is a coordinated management of lands across all tenures 

and boundaries to ensure the sustainability and integrity of the natural biota ecosystem 

processes, agricultural lands and service infrastructure.  


Roadsides are the vital link . . . and a priceless community asset. 

A survey of the roadside conservation values in the Shire of Dalwallinu and roadside management guidelines 



Uncertainty often exists in the minds of many with regard to the ‘ownership’, control and 

management of 'the roadside'.  This problem is also exacerbated by the multitude of 

legislative reference to activities within a transport corridor. 


The Department of Conservation and Land Management (CALM) has the legislative 

responsibility to manage and protect all native flora and fauna in Western Australia.  It is 

important to note that all flora and fauna is protected under provisions of the Wildlife 

Conservation Act 1950 and cannot be taken unless it is taken in a lawful manner.  In 

addition to the general provisions relating to protected flora under the Wildlife 

Conservation Act, special protection is afforded to flora that is declared as rare or 

threatened under section 23F of the Wildlife Conservation Act.  


The legislation pertaining to the management of road reserves is complex and includes 

those listed below. 


State legislation: 

Aboriginal Heritage Act 1972 

Agriculture and Related Resources Protection Act 1976 

Bush Fires Act 1954 

Conservation and Land Management Act 1984 

Environmental Protection Act 1986 

Heritage of WA Act 1990 

Land Act 1933 

Local Government Act 1995 

Main Roads Act 1930 

Mining Act 1978 

Soil and Land Conservation Act 1945 

State Energy Commission Supply Act 1979 

Water Authority Act 1987 

Wildlife Conservation Act 1950-1979 


Commonwealth legislation: 

Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 


It is recommended that a cautionary approach be taken when working within roadsides, 

and that the relevant authority be contacted if there is any doubt about the management 

or protection of heritage or conservation values present in the roadsides. 

A survey of the roadside conservation values in the Shire of Dalwallinu and roadside management guidelines 


The Environmental Protection Amendment Act 2003, proclaimed by parliament on the 



 November 2003,

 will require greater adherence to legislative requirements before 

native vegetation is cleared.  This legislation will provide for two types of permits which 

will provide for permission to clear native vegetation, however they will have certain 

conditions attached to them. For example, the road managing authority may be required 

to prepare, implement and adhere to a roadside or specific tenure management plan. 

Before any native vegetation is cleared it is incumbent on the project manager or land 

manager to ensure that the proposed clearing is being carried out under the terms and 

conditions of the pending legislation, as there are transitional provisions within it, which 

are retrospective from 26


 June 2002. 


A survey of the roadside conservation values in the Shire of Dalwallinu and roadside management guidelines 




4.1  Collection of native plant material from roadsides 

The Shire of Dalwallinu does not generally allow the collection of wildflowers or seed 

from native plants within road reserves. Exceptions may be granted for special cases, 

and for particular species. The council has no policy on this issue but has given 

permission to the Environment Society to collect seed for revegetation purposes.  Under 

the Wildlife Conservation Act the Department of Conservation and Land Management 

may issue a licence following Shire approval.   


Collecting seed from a roadside may be the only option in cases where there are no 

other sources of seed for revegetation, although, it has the potential to impact negatively 

on the roadside flora. Collection of native plant material from roadsides: 


further depletes the already scarce resource,  


can detract from the integrity of the roadside,  


reduces the amount of seed available for natural regeneration, 


reduces the ability of the area to regenerate after disturbances such as fire, and 


threatens roadside plant communities with the potential introduction and spread of 

two major threats – Phytophthora dieback and weeds. 



4.2  Declared Rare Flora (DRF) 

Declared Rare Flora (DRF) refers to species, or populations of native plants that are of 

great significance and should be treated with special care when road and utility service, 

construction or maintenance is undertaken. Populations of DRF along roadsides are 

designated Special Environmental Areas (SEA's) and are marked out by yellow stakes 

with an identification plate welded on. See figures 12 and 13. 


It is the responsibility of the road manager to ensure these markers are installed, and 

guides for this are outlined in 'Guidelines for Managing SEA's in transport corridors', 

available from the Roadside Conservation Committee.  


The DRF sites register in the Shire of Dalwallinu needs to be checked for the presence 

of appropriate markers, and the location be made known to all involved in the 

management and planning of works within the roadside environment. 


For more information regarding DRF it is advisable to contact the Flora Officer for the 

Merredin District (08) 9041 2488.  If roadworks are to be carried out near DRF sites, or 

the yellow stakes have been disturbed, it is advisable to contact CALM at least one week 

in advance. 

A survey of the roadside conservation values in the Shire of Dalwallinu and roadside management guidelines 



Photography by S. D. Hopper & A. Doley. Photo used with the permission of the 

WA Herbarium, CALM (http://florabase.calm.wa.gov.au/help/photos#reuse


As of November 2003, the Shire of Dalwallinu had 17 populations of DRF species on 

roadsides, with 14 of these sites vested in the Shire.  Species of DRF recorded from the 

Shire of Dalwallinu include: 


Daviesia dielsii 


Pityrodia axillaris 


Grevillea pythara 


Eremophila pinnatifida 


Grevillea bracteosa 


Boronia ericifolia 


Caladenia drakeoides 


Eremophila sargentii




Native Foxglove is a Priority One species 

Photography by S. J. Patrick & B. A. Fuhrer. Photo used with the 

permission of the WA Herbarium, CALM 




Declared Rare


A survey of the roadside conservation values in the Shire of Dalwallinu and roadside management guidelines 


4.3  High Conservation Value Roadsides as Flora Roads 


A flora road is one which has special conservation value because of the 

vegetation contained within the road reserve. The managing authority 

may decide to declare a Flora Road based on the results of the survey 

of roadside conservation value. Roadsides determined as having high 

conservation value in the Shire of Dalwallinu include: 




(Not a complete list, consult the 2004 Roadside Conservation 

Value Map) 


These, and other roads may be investigated further to see if 

they warrant a declaration as a Flora Road. This has a twofold 

effect of drawing the attention of tourists to the high 

conservation value roadside and it also alerts all that work in 

the roadside environment that the marked section of roadside 

requires due care to protect the values present. 


In order to plan roadworks so that important areas of roadside 

vegetation are not disturbed, road managers should know of 

these areas. It is suggested that the Shire establish a Register 

of Roads Important for Conservation (see section 7.4).  




Attractive roadside drives are an important 

drawcard in this, the "Wildflower State".  

Declared Flora Roads will, by their very nature

be attractive to tourists and would often be 

suitable as part of a tourist drive network. 


Consideration should be given to: 

Promoting the road by means of a small 

brochure or booklet, 

Showing all Flora Roads on a map of the 

region or State, 

Using specially designed signs to delineate 

the Flora Road section (contact the RCC). 



Roadsides are one of the most   

accessible places for tourists 

to view wildflowers. 

A survey of the roadside conservation values in the Shire of Dalwallinu and roadside management guidelines 




Management objectives should involve disturbing the roadside flora as little as possible, 

consistent with the provision of a safe and efficient roadway. The management of Flora 

Roads should aim to: 

- Minimise 


- Control 


Encourage natural regeneration.  



The management techniques referred to in Section 7.0 of this report can be employed to 

minimise disturbance to roadside vegetation. Most importantly, staff should be instructed 

and supervised so that incremental widening does not occur at every pass of the grader.  


Environmental assessments (pre-construction check-lists) should be completed prior to 

any upgrading work, to assist with planning for flora preservation. Fire management 

should be undertaken in such a way so as to take into account the ecological needs of 

the flora. Where rehabilitation is contemplated, local native species should always be 


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