Draft recovery Plan for Clay pans of the Swan Coastal Plain ecological community May 2017 Foreword

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The Commonwealth of Australia has made all reasonable efforts to identify content supplied by third parties.
The views and opinions expressed in this publication are those of the original authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Australian Government or the Minister for the Environment.

While reasonable efforts have been made to ensure that the contents of this publication are factually correct, the Commonwealth does not accept responsibility for the accuracy or completeness of the contents, and shall not be liable for any loss or damage that may be occasioned directly or indirectly through the use of, or reliance on, the contents of this publication.

© State of Western Australia Government Department of Parks and Wildlife 2015


Name: This plan encompasses the ‘Clay pans of the Swan Coastal Plain ecological community’ that is listed as critically endangered under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act). This nationally listed ecological community is synonymous with the following four Western Australia listed threatened ecological communities (TECs) and one priority ecological community (PEC):

  • Herb rich saline shrublands in clay pans (Swan Coastal Plain community type 7 as identified in Gibson et al. 1994 (SCP07))

  • Herb rich shrublands in clay pans (SCP08 – Swan Coastal Plain community type 8)

  • Dense shrublands on clay flats (SCP09 – Swan Coastal Plain Community type 9)

  • Shrublands on dry clay flats (SCP10a – Swan Coastal Plain Community type 10a); and

  • the PEC ‘Clay pans with mid dense shrublands of Melaleuca lateritia over herbs’ (hereafter termed the ‘Clay pans with shrubs over herbs’) that is ranked Priority 1 in Western Australia.

There are 114 occurrences of the clay pan community that covers a total of about 909 ha.

Description: The clay pan communities occur where clay substrate is low in the landscape and forms an impermeable layer close to the surface. These wetlands that rely on rainfall and local surface drainage to fill are considered unlikely to be connected to groundwater. The clay pans then dry out to form a relatively impervious substrate in summer. A suite of perennial plants that propagate by underground bulbs, tubers or corms (geophytes), and annual herbs flower sequentially as the clay pans dry out. The clay pans are the most diverse of the Swan Coastal Plain wetlands and contain a number of local endemic flora.
Department of Parks and Wildlife Regions: Swan, South West, Midwest and Wheatbelt
Department of Parks and Wildlife Districts: Swan Coastal, Perth Hills, Wellington, Blackwood, and Moora Districts.
Local Government Authorities: Serpentine–Jarrahdale, Harvey, Murray, Armadale, Gosnells, Swan, Waroona, Gingin, Beverley, Bunbury, Busselton, Capel, Dardanup, Kalamunda, Boyup Brook, Toodyay and Kojonup.
Conservation status: Community types 7, 8 and 9 were endorsed by the WA Minister for Environment in November 2001 as Vulnerable, and community type 10a as Endangered. Clay pans with mid dense shrublands of Melaleuca lateritia over herbs was ranked Priority 1 in Western Australia in May 2006. The umbrella type ‘Clay pans of the Swan Coastal Plain’ was listed as Endangered under the EPBC Act in March 2012.
Habitat requirements: These communities typically occur on clay soils in low lying flats that are seasonally wet or inundated.
Habitat critical to survival: The critical habitat for this community is the clay soils on which the community occurs, and the fresh surface water that helps to sustain key species in this community, and the catchment for this surface water.
The habitat critical to survival is: The area of occupancy of known occurrences; similar habitat adjacent to important occurrences (i.e. within approximately 200m), i.e. poorly drained flats, depressions or winter wet clay flats; remnant vegetation that surrounds or links several occurrences (this is to provide habitat for pollinators or to allow them to move between occurrences); and the local catchment for the surface and potentially groundwater that maintains the winter-wet habitat of the communities (these clay pan communities would be dependent on maintenance of the local hydrological conditions).
Important occurrences: Occurrences that provide for representation of the community across its geographic range and that can be managed for conservation and/or with conservation included in their purpose are considered important occurrences of this community. Occurrences within conservation reserves and Bush Forever sites, and occurrences with comparatively large intact areas of the community that are in relatively good condition outside of Bush Forever, are considered important occurrences.
Affected interests: Land owners and managers of all occurrences may be affected by actions in this plan, in particular on those lands not managed by Parks and Wildlife or intended to be transferred to the department’s management. Occurrences are within the Shires of Armadale, Busselton, Boyup Brook, Capel, Gosnells, Murray, Serpentine-Jarrahdale, Swan, Waroona, Gingin, Bunbury, Capel, Dardanup, Kalamunda, Toodyay and Kojonup. They occur on land managed by Main Roads WA, Parks and Wildlife, Water Corporation, University of WA, WA Planning Commission, local governments, and on private land.
Indigenous interests: An Aboriginal Sites Register is kept by the Department of Indigenous Affairs, and lists one Artifact/Scatter site and a Ceremonial and Morphological site within the vicinity of the occurrences. The South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council (SWALSC), an umbrella group, covers the areas considered in this plan. Appendix 1 identifies areas of the ecological community that contain sites that are known to have particular aboriginal significance. Actions identify the intention to continue liaison with relevant groups, including indigenous groups.
Social and economic impacts and benefits: The implementation of this recovery plan has the potential to have some social and economic impact, where occurrences are located on lands not specifically managed for conservation, such as road reserves and private property. Recovery actions refer to continued liaison between stakeholders with regard to these areas. Negotiations will continue with land managers with respect to the future management of occurrences not in conservation estate.
Related biodiversity impacts and benefits: Thirteen other TECs co-occur within remnant vegetation that contains the clay pan communities, and will benefit from their management.
Twelve declared rare flora (DRF) are known from the clay pan communities: Calytrix breviseta subsp. breviseta, Verticordia plumosa var. vassensis, Verticordia densiflora var. pedunculata, Chamelaucium sp. S Coastal Plain (previously Chamelaucium roycei ms), Diuris purdiei, Grevillea curviloba subsp. incurva, Lepidosperma rostratum, Ptilotus pyramidatus, Synaphea stenoloba, Trithuria occidentalis, Eleocharis keigheryi and Synaphea sp. Fairbridge Farm; and 42 priority flora taxa also occur in the communities. Recovery actions implemented to improve the quality or security of the community are also likely to improve the status of component species.
There are three critically endangered fauna known to be dependent on clay pans and the surrounding communities for a portion of their life/breeding cycle. These are Pseudemydura umbrina (Western Swamp Tortoise) and two native bees: Leioproctus douglasiellus and Neopasiphae simplicior.
Term of plan: The plan will operate from 2015 to 2020 but will remain in force until withdrawn or replaced. It is intended that, if the ecological communities are still ranked vulnerable or endangered in Western Australia after five years, the need for further recovery actions and the need for an updated recovery plan will be evaluated. The outcomes of the plan will be evaluated by the Midwest, Swan, Wheatbelt and South West region threatened flora and communities recovery teams.

IRP Objective(s): To maintain or improve the overall condition of the clay pan communities and reduce the level of threat.
Criteria for success:

  • 90% or more of the aerial extent of occurrences of each clay pan type covered by this recovery plan maintained at the same condition rank, or improved (Bush Forever condition scales) over the life of the plan, excluding effects of drying climate that are outside the scope of this plan.

  • An increase in the number of occurrences of the clay pan types managed for conservation and/or with conservation included in the purpose.

  • Representative areas of the clay pan types across their geographical range maintained in the same or improved condition (Bush Forever condition scales).

Criteria for failure:

  • Decline in condition rank to a lower category (Bush Forever condition scales) of 10% or more of the total aerial extent of the sub-communities covered by this plan, excluding effects of drying climate that are outside the scope of this plan.

  • Failure to achieve an increase in the area managed for conservation for the communities covered by this plan.

Summary of Recovery Actions:

Liaise with stakeholders to implement recovery

Identify potential new occurrences

Monitor extent and boundaries of occurrences

Map habitat critical to survival

Encompass monitoring in an adaptive management framework

Seek to minimise direct clearing and hydrological change

Develop and implement fire management strategy

Implement disease hygiene procedures

Implement weed control

Seek long term protection for conservation

Investigate, monitor and manage water quality and hydrology

Ensure best practice land management in areas of competing interests

Implement and monitor control of feral and grazing animals

Develop management guidelines

Protect clay pans from physical damage

Report on recovery plan implementation

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