The following priority recovery and threat abatement actions should be implemented to support the recovery of the South East Coastal Plain Grassland:
Management of Habitat Loss, Disturbances and Modification
Protect and conserve remnants of the ecological community to avoid further clearance and fragmentation of this ecological community. In particular:
enforce protected species and native vegetation retention laws, where possible;
avoid disturbances that cause damage to remnants, particularly during times of peak flowering and fruiting.
Implement appropriate management regimes to maintain distinctive biodiversity elements, such as threatened species identified in any management and recovery plans. Use ecological information from surveys and studies to refine and further develop management guidelines for these species.
Encourage the creation of cost-effective corridors and linkages among grassland remnants and to other related ecological communities, e.g. grassy woodlands, where possible.
Manage any changes to natural hydrology that may adversely impact on the ecological community, including increased run-off, salinity, sedimentation or pollution, that affect the natural availability and quality of water at sites.
Management of Invasive Species
Implement management plans or support and/or align existing management plans for the control of invasive plant and animal species within remnants and the surrounding landscape.
Manage sites to prevent the introduction or further spread of invasive exotic weeds into the ecological community using appropriate methods, such as strategic grazing or chemical regimes.
Maintain a good cover of native perennial species to minimise establishment of weeds, using grassy restoration programs that revegetate treated areas with local provenance, indigenous species after weed removal.
Control introduced pest animals, e.g. rabbits, through coordinated landscape-scale control programs in the region.
Ensure chemicals or other mechanisms used to eradicate or control invasive or other pest species have minimal impact on non-target species or do not have any long-term adverse impacts upon the ecological community.
Discourage new plantings or incursions of exotic species at sites where this may be a problem, e.g. remnants in cemeteries or surrounded by suburbia.
Ensure land owners are fully aware of obligations to manage serious invasive species on their properties.
Manage native woody species, principally Melaleuca ericifolia, Acacia melanoxylon, Kunzea ericoides and Acacia paradoxa, that are encroaching into grassland sites, to less than 5% projective foliage cover.
Management of Trampling, Browsing, Grazing, Mowing and/or Fire
Implement management plans, or support existing management plans, for any patches accessible to domestic stock and that may be adversely impacted by grazing. For instance:
use cell grazing or low impact exclusion fencing to exclude grazing or allow recovery of sensitive species;
ensure that any grazing occurs outside of peak flowering and fruiting times for native species to limit damage to the ecological community.
Where mowing of the grassland is a feasible option, negotiate with land managers to ensure mowing is undertaken at the appropriate height and season to maintain biodiversity and conservation.
Where possible, implement appropriate ecological fire regimes that take into account how key species in the ecological community respond to fires.
Liaise with local fire brigades and agencies and engage their support in managing the use of fire to manage the ecological community.
Community Engagement and Recovery of Sites
Develop a communication strategy and education campaign that raises public awareness and understanding about the ecological community across its range, as well as landholders’ responsibilities under the EPBC Act.
Continue to develop information products that assist landholders, councils, state government agencies etc. to recognise and appropriately manage patches of the ecological community.
Continue to use signage to identify key sites of the ecological community that occur along road verges and other public lands.
Identify key sites to target for restoration programs.
Ensure revegetation workers are aware of appropriate native species to plant and which species to avoid in native grassland revegetation projects. Restoration activities also should take into account any research into improved restoration techniques and new knowledge about species’ requirements.
Identify key sites of the ecological community to enable adequate representation in the formal reserve and off-reserve protection system.
Liaise with management authorities to ensure that new initiatives for property planning properly account for any adverse impacts to the ecological community.
Continue to seek and implement formal conservation agreements (e.g. covenants) for sites containing the ecological community.
Continue to facilitate access to financial and other incentives for conservation and stewardship, and links with other programs and activities, especially with the local natural resource management authorities.
4.3Existing management statements and plans
There is no approved state recovery plan for the ecological community. The ecological community is included in a broader grassland FFG Action Statement that covers five State-listed grassy communities. The following national recovery plans are in place for species known or likely to occur in the ecological community:
Carter, O. (2010). National Recovery Plan for the Matted Flax-lily Dianella amoena. Department of Sustainability and Environment, Victoria.
Carter, O. and Walsh, N. (2011). National Recovery Plan for the Swamp Everlasting Xerochrysum palustre. Department of Sustainability and Environment, Melbourne.
Clemann, N. and Gillespie, G.R. (2012). National Recovery Plan for the Southern Bell Frog Litoria raniformis. Department of Sustainability and Environment, Melbourne.
Department of Sustainability and Environment, Victoria (2004a). Flora and Fauna Guarantee Action Statement No. 182: Central Gippsland Plains Grassland Forest Red Gum Grassy Woodland, Northern Plains Grassland, South Gippsland Plains Grassland and Western (Basalt) Plains Grassland. Department of Sustainability and Environment, Melbourne.
Duncan, M. (2010a). National Recovery Plan for the Maroon Leek Orchid Prasophyllum frenchii. Department of Sustainability and Environment, Melbourne.
Duncan, M. (2010b). National Recovery Plan for the Thick-lip Spider-orchid Caladenia tessellata. Department of Sustainability and Environment, Melbourne.
Orange-bellied Parrot Recovery Team (2006). National Recovery Plan for the Orange-bellied Parrot (Neophema chrysogaster). Department of Primary Industries and Water (DPIW), Hobart.
Other relevant management prescriptions exist in various forms. These include the following:
Biosis Research (2009). Gilbert Block: Offset Management Plan. Unpublished report to Cardinia Shire Council.
Brett Lane & Associates (2006). Pakenham Grassland Reserve Management Plan, Report No. 5128. Brett Lane & Associates Pty Ltd, North Carlton, Victoria.
Department of Sustainability and Environment, Victoria (2004b). Biodiversity Action Planning: Landscape Plan for the Gippsland Plain Bioregion Yarram Landscape Zone. Draft for comment, August 2004. Department of Sustainability and Environment, East Melbourne.
Trust for Nature (2013). The Statewide Conservation Plan for Private Land in Victoria. Trust for Nature, Melbourne.
West Gippsland Catchment Management Authority (2003). West Gippsland Native Vegetation Plan 2003. West Gippsland Catchment Management Authority, Traralgon, Victoria.
Barlow, T. (1999). Grassy Guidelines. How to Manage Native Grasslands and Grassy Woodlands on your Property. Trust for Nature Victoria, Melbourne, Victoria.
Dorrough, J., Stol, J., and McIntyre, S. (2008). Biodiversity in the Paddock: a Land Manager’s Guide. Future Farm Industries CRC.
Indigenous Design Land Management P/L (2007). Assessment of Land Uses and Native Vegetation within Yarram Aerodrome, for Wellington Shire Council. Indigenous Design Land Management, Research, Victoria.
Langford, C., Simpson, P., Garden, D., Eddy, D., Keys, M., Rehwinkel, R. and Johnston, W. (2004). Managing Native Pastures for Agriculture and Conservation. NSW Department of Primary Industries.
Ross, J. (1999). Guide to Best Practice Conservation of Temperate Native Grassland. World Wide Fund for Nature (Australia), Sydney, NSW.
These prescriptions were current at the time of publishing; please refer to the relevant agency’s website for any updated versions.