A survey of Roadside Conservation Values



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5.0   

SURVEY DATA RESULTS 

 

A summary of the general roadside conditions in the Shire of Woodanilling is presented in 



Table 2. The survey data have been collated to provide the total kilometres, and percentages, 

of roadside occupied by each of the conservation status categories and the attributes used to 

calculate the conservation values (Table 2). 

 

 



 

 

Conservation Status  (km)

 

Native Vegetation on Roadside (km)

Weed Infestation (km)

 

High (9-12)



 

165.2 


 

17.3%


2 - 3 veg 

258.6 


 

27.1%


Light (2)

 

253.5 



 

26.5%


Med (7-8)

 

261.5 



 

27.4%


1 veg layer

674.7 


 

70.6%


Medium 

634.4 


 

66.4%


Med (5-6)

 

439.3 



 

46.0%


0 veg 

22.2 


 

2.3%


Heavy (0)

 

67.6 



 

7.1%


Low (0-4)

89.5 


 

9.4%


Total

 

955.5 



 

100.0%


Total

955.5 


 

100.0%


Conservation Values (km)

 

Extent of Native Vegetation (km)



Value as Biological Corridor (km)

 



0.0 

 

0.0%



>80%, Good 

48.5 


5.1%

High (2)


 

305.8 


 

32.0%


 

12.3 



 

1.3%


20-80 %  Med 

788.3 


82.5%

Medium 


480.6 

 

50.3%



 

21.9 



 

2.3%


<20% Low 

118.7 


12.4%

Low (0)


 

169.1 


 

17.7%


 

19.1 



 

2.0%


 

36.2 



 

3.8%


Total

 

955.5 



100.0%

Total


955.5 

 

100.0%



 

132.2 



 

13.8%


 

307.1 



 

32.1%


Number of Native Species (km)

Adjoining Land Use (km)

 



194.7 

 

20.4%



 

66.9 



 

7.0%


Over 20 

162.7 


17.0%

Cleared


 

15.4 


 

1.6%


 

73.5 



 

7.7%


6 - 19 (1)

710.2 


74.3%

Scattered

 

889.3 


 

93.1%


10 

 

61.3 



 

6.4%


0 - 5 (0)

 

82.7 



8.7%

Uncleared

 

50.2 


 

5.3%


11 

 

30.4 



 

3.2%


Other

0.7 


 

0.1%


12 

 

0.0 



 

0.0%


Total

 

955.5 



100.0%

Urban


Railway

 

0.7 



 

Total


 

955.5 


 

100.0%


Drain

Plantation

 

Period of survey: Nov 97 - April 98



 

Total


955.5 

 

100.0%



Table 2: Summary of roadside conditions along roads in the Shire of Woodanilling. As roadsides occur on 

both sides of the road, roadside distances (km) are equal to twice the actual distance of road travelled. 

 

 



Conservation Status of Roadsides 

 

Roadside sections of high conservation value covered 165.2 km of roadside, 17.3% of the 



length of roadside surveyed. Medium-high conservation areas accounted for 261.5km of 

roadside, 27.4% of the total surveyed. Medium-low conservation roadside covered 439.3km, 

46% of the total surveyed. Areas of low conservation occupied 89.5km, 9.4% of the roadside 

surveyed (Table 2, Figure 2). 

 

 

 



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

 

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High (17.3%)

Medium high (27.4%)

 

Medium low  (46.0%)



 

Low (9.4%)

 

 

Figure 2: Conservation Status of roadsides in the Shire of Woodanilling. 



 

 

The Native Vegetation on Roadside value is determined from the number of native vegetation 



layers from either the tree, shrub or ground layers. Sections with at least two layers of native 

vegetation covered 27.1% of the roadside, 70.6% had only one layer and 2.3% had no layers 

of native vegetation (Table 2, Figure 3). 

 

 



2 - 3 vegetation layers 

(27.1%)


 

1 vegetation layer 

(70.6%)

 

0 vegetation layers 



(2.3%)

 

Figure 3: Native Vegetation on Roadside. 

 

 

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



 

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Roadside vegetation with a good Extent of Native Vegetation value, ie with native vegetation 

cover greater than 80%, occurred along 5.1% of the length of roadside surveyed. Survey 

sections with 20 to 80% cover of native vegetation, accounted for 82.5% of the roadside. The 

remaining 12.4% had less than 20% native vegetation and, therefore, low Extent of  Native 



Vegetation value (Table 2, Figure 4). 

 

 



>80%, Good (5.1%)

20-80 %  Medium 

(82.5%)

 

<20% Low  (12.4%)



 

 

Figure 4: Extent of Native Vegetation. 

 

The  Number of Native Species score provides a measure of the diversity of the vegetation. 



Survey sections with more than 20 plant species spanned 17% of the roadside. Roadside 

sections with between 6 and 19 plant species accounted for 74.3% of the roadside. The 

remaining 8.7% of roadside had less than 6 plant species and, therefore, nil contribution to the 

conservation value scores (Table 2, Figure 5). 

 

Over 20 species 



(17.0%)

 

6 – 19 species 



(74.3%)

 

0 - 5 Species (8.7%)



 

Figure 5: Number of Native Species. 

 

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



 

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26.5% of the roadside surveyed was only lightly affected by weeds. Medium level weed 

infestation occurred on 66.4% of the roadside. Whilst 7.1% of the roadside was heavily 

affected by weeds (Table 2, Figure 6). 

 

 



Light (26.5%)

Medium (66.4%)

 

Heavy (7.1%)



 

 

Figure 6: Weed Infestation. Light infestation = weeds less than 20% of ground layer. Medium infestation = 



weeds 20 to 80% of the ground layer. Heavy infestation = weeds more than 80% of the ground layer. 

 

The Value as a Biological Corridor score is largely dependent upon the diversity of habitat and 



whether the corridor connects areas of uncleared land. High value biological corridor (as 

determined by the roadside surveyors) was present along 32% of the roadside, medium value 

along 50.3% of the roadside and low value corridor 17.7% (Table 2, Figure 7). 

 

 



High  (32.0%)

Medium (50.3%)

 

Low (17.7%)



 

 

Figure 7: Value as Biological Corridor. 

 

 

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



 

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Most land adjoining the roadsides had at least some natural vegetation remaining. A scattered 

distribution of native vegetation was present on the land adjoining 93.1% of the roadside, 

whilst 5.3% of roadside was adjoined by land that had not been cleared. 1.6% of the roadside 

surveyed was adjoined by land that had been totally cleared of its native vegetation. Railway 

reserve adjoined the remaining 0.1% of roadside (Table 2, Figure 8). 

 

Scattered



93.1%

Cleared


1.6%

Uncleared

5.3%

Railway


0.1%

Figure 8: Predominant Adjoining Land Use. 

 

 

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



 

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

 

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6



.0  

MANAGEMENT TECHNIQUES 

 

The primary aim of road management is the creation and maintenance of a safe, efficient road 



system. However, the following management procedures should be adopted.  

 

The following section provides management recommendations that will assist in retaining and 



enhancing roadside conservation value.  These guidelines are taken from the Roadside 

Conservation Committee's Roadside Manual and or the Roadside Handbook.  The Executive 

Officer of the Roadside Conservation Committee is also available to assist on all roadside 

conservation matters and can be contacted on (08) 9334 0423.   

 

High Conservation Value Roadsides: 

Management Goal 

 

Maintain and enhance the native plant 



communities. 

Management Guidelines 

 

Minimise disturbance to existing vegetation.



 

Disturbance leads to weed invasion, which 

downgrades the conservation value, and increases 

the fire threat. 



 

 

Medium Conservation Value Roadsides: 

Management Goal 

 

Maintain native vegetation wherever possible, and 



to encourage its regeneration. 

Management Guidelines 

 

Minimise disturbance to existing vegetation. 



 

 

With the information available on weed infestation 



on roadsides within the Shire of Woodanilling, 

consideration could be given to strategic roadside 

weed control programmes. 

 

 



 

Low Conservation Value Roadsides 

Management Goal 

 

Retain remnant trees and shrubs and encourage 



their regeneration.     

 

 



Encourage revegetation projects using indigenous 

plants. 


Management Guidelines 

 

Minimise soil disturbance to reduce weed invasion.  



Encourage revegetation projects by adjacent 

landholders. 



6.1  

Minimal Disturbance 

 

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

 

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Minimal disturbance can be achieved by: 

adopting a road design that occupies the minimum space; 



diverting the line of a table drain to avoid disturbing valuable flora; 

pruning branches, rather than removing the whole tree or shrub; 



not dumping spoil on areas of native flora; 

observing dieback control measures as required; 



-  apply the Fire Threat Assessment (Roadside Manual chapter 9) before burning roadside 

vegetation; 

use methods other than fuel reduction burns to reduce fire threat; if roadside burning must 



be undertaken, incorporate it into a district fire management program; 

-  encourage adjacent landholders to set back fences to allow roadside vegetation to 

proliferate; 

encourage adjacent landholders to plant windbreaks or farm tree lots adjacent to roadside 



vegetation to create a denser wind or shelterbelt

encourage revegetation projects by adjacent landholders. 



 

6.2   

Code of Practice 

 

A Code of Practice has been developed through collaboration with Main Roads WA, the WA 



Local Government Association and the Roadside Conservation Committee. It is anticipated 

that this document will be accepted as an industry standard for all working within, or interested 

in roadsides conservation. This document provides defined parameters for all roadside 

management works and also provides the local community with an overview of management 

practices that will ensure the sustainability of native roadside vegetation. Please contact the 

RCC Executive Officer on 9334 0423 for further information. 

 

 

6.3  



Tree Roads 

Tree roads are defined as those roadsides with a sufficient density of mature trees to create 

an attractive tunnel effect. Besides the aesthetic benefits, these areas also provide valuable 

habitat for birds and other arboreal fauna. Since mature trees are slow growing and hard to 

replace, care should be taken to conserve these avenues wherever possible.  The points 

following should be considered when working on Tree Roads:  

 



prune offending branches rather than remove the whole tree; 



cut branches off close to limb or tree trunk; 

divert line of table drain to avoid disturbing tree roots; 



import fill to build up formation, rather than using side-borrow from roadside; 



 

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

 

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when using herbicide for weed control on the roadside do not use a soil residual type, such 

as Siomazine or Atrazine.  Eucalypts are especially sensitive to these; 

-  encourage the adjoining landholders to plant shelter belts on their property that will 

complement the roadside vegetation. 

 

6.4   

Flora Roads and Roads Important for Conservation 

Flora Roads are significant sections of road having a special conservation value due to the 

vegetation growing on the road reserve.  Signs are available from the RCC to mark these 

roads as Flora Roads. This has a twofold effect of drawing the attention of tourists to the high 

conservation 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 Engineer or 

Environmental Officer establish a Register of Roads Important for Conservation. The following 

guidelines should be considered prior to establishing this registrar: 

 

-  the roadside must contain a significant population of native vegetation, (introduced trees 



and grasses are not important for conservation; 

-  the native vegetation must be in as near to its natural condition as possible; 

-  in undisturbed vegetation several layers of plants occur, i.e. trees, shrubs and 

groundcovers (herbs or native grasses).  if one or more of the expected layers are missing, 

the conservation value is reduced; 

-  the roadside may be the only remaining example of original vegetation within a cleared 

area. it thus assists in vegetation mapping and distribution studies, provides a benchmark 

for study of soil change during agricultural development, may provide a source of local seed 

for revegetation projects and acts as a wildlife habitat for the protection of fauna; 

-  rare or endangered plants may occur on the roadside; 

-  it may provide nest sites and refuges for native animals. Dense vegetation provides habitat 

for avifauna and invertebrates.  

 

6.5   

Special Environmental Areas 

 

A ‘Special Environmental Area’ is a section of roadside that has such significance that it 



requires special protection.  Reasons for establishing ‘Special Environmental Areas’ can 

include: 

Protection of rare or threatened species of native plants; 



Protection of sites that have other high conservation, scientific or aesthetic values; 

Protection of Aboriginal or European cultural sites. 



 

‘Special Environmental Areas’ can be delineated by the use of site markers. See Figures 9 & 

10 for design and placement of SEA markers. Workers who come across a ‘Special 

Environmental Area’ marker in the field should not disturb the area between the markers 

unless specifically instructed.  If in doubt, the Supervisor, Shire Engineer or CEO should be 

contacted. 

 

Western Power and WestNet rail also have systems for marking sites near power or rail lines.  



Examples of these are seen in the picture below. 

 

 



Special Environment Area Site marker  

6.6   

Special Environmental Area Register 

 

To ensure that knowledge of rare flora and other sites does not get lost due, perhaps, to staff 

changes, a Local Authority should establish a Special Environmental Area Register. This 

should outline any special treatment, which the site should receive, and be consulted prior to 

any work in the area being initiated in the area. 

 

The Special Environmental Area Register should be consulted by the appropriate person prior 



to starting work on any particular road, to ensure that inadvertent damage does not occur.  All 

Special Environment Area sites should be marked on the Shire map, which records Roadside 

Conservation Value  

 

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



 

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Local Government is encouraged to permanently mark Special Environmental Areas to 

prevent inadvertent damage to the rare flora or other values being protected. Markers of a 

uniform shape and colour will make recognition easier for other authorities using road 

reserves. 

 

 

Figure 9- Marking sites in the field 

 

When notified of a population needing marking, the Local Authority should contact the 



appropriate C.A.L.M. Regional or District office for assistance to ensure the exact site location 

and correct positioning of marker posts. 

 

7.0   

ROADSIDE PLANNING, STRATEGIES AND ACTION PLANS 

 

7.1  

Planning 

The RCC is able to provide good models of Roadside Management Plans and encourages all 

shires to adopt this practice of planning for roadside conservation. The following actions 

greatly enhance likelihood of a plan that changes behaviour and results in on-ground actions: 

 

 

Community support: 



Encourage ongoing community involvement and commitment by establishing a local Roadside 

Advisory Committee or working group within the Shire Environmental Committee; 

 

Contract specifications: 

Maintain roadside values by developing environmental specifications for inclusion in all tender 

documents or work practices

 

Community education: 

Use of innovative and pertinent material can increase community understanding of roadside 

values; 


 

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

 

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

 

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Training: 

Promote local roadside planning initiatives and gain acceptance and understanding by 

involving shire staff, contractors, utility provider staff and the community in workshops, 

seminars or training days.  

 

Training develops recognition and understanding of roadside values and highlights best work 



practices. Workshops are developed to ensure that local issues and environments are dealt 

with and they include site visits to high conservation remnants, current projects and works. 

 

The objective of all roadside management planning should be to:  



 

 

Protect 

- native vegetation 

-  rare or threatened flora or fauna 

-  cultural and heritage values 

- community assets from fire 

 

 

Maintain 



-  safe function of the road 

-  native vegetation communities 

-  fauna habitats and corridors 

-  visual amenity and landscape qualities 

- water quality 

 

Enhance 

- indigenous vegetation communities 

-  fauna habitats and corridors 

 

 

Minimise 



- land degradation 

-  spread of weeds and vermin 

-  spread of soil borne pathogens 

-  risk and impact of fire 

-  disturbance during installation and 

maintenance of service assets 

 

 

7.2  



Strategies 

 

The development of a strategy enables potentially competing uses to coexist and ensures that 



roadsides have a coordinated approach to management. When producing regional strategies 

the RCC suggests that: 

organisational support from local government is essential from the outset; 



strategies should take no longer that 12 months to produce (including a period for 

community comment); 

communities need to be provided with background information to make formal decisions. 



 

  


 

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

 

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Management strategies should be produced to address local issues, rather than be to a 



standard format. Issues can be categorised as: 

 

 




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