In Western Australia threatened species and ecological communities are protected under both Commonwealth and State legislation. The key State legislation pertaining to threatened species is the Wildlife Conservation Act 1950. All threatened species are specially protected under this Act and to ‘take’ listed flora or fauna is an offence without a permit. The Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC) is responsible for the implementation of this Act and leads the conservation of threatened species in the State. DEC works closely with other agencies, including NRM groups, community groups and other stakeholders to deliver conservation and recovery actions for threatened species and ecological communities.
There is no current State legislation for the listing of threatened ecological communities. TECs are endorsed by the Minister for Environment, which provides the TECs with protection through the Environmental Protection Act 1986. TECs are recognised in State government policies.
Most State-listed threatened species and ecological communities are also listed as threatened under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. A joint program is currently in place to align the Commonwealth and State threatened species lists.
A brief summary of existing recovery planning and activities for the protection of threatened species and ecological communities in the Fitzgerald Biosphere is provided below.
6.1 Current Recovery Planning for the Fitzgerald Biosphere
In Western Australia, recovery plans are developed as either Interim Recovery Plans (IRPs) or full recovery plans to provide information and guidance for the management and protection of certain threatened species/communities. A National Recovery Plan may be developed for any species that is listed as vulnerable, endangered or critically endangered under the EPBC Act. A National Recovery Plan is often an adopted version of the original WA plan.
There are 12 recovery plans or IRPs (as of April 2010) for individual species that are endemic or have part distributions in the Fitzgerald Biosphere (six fauna, six flora) (Table 12). The State multi-species recovery plan for South Coast Threatened Birds (Gilfillan et al. 2009a) represents the Western Ground Parrot, Western Bristlebird and Western Whipbird (western mallee) within the Biosphere. Of the species currently represented by recovery plans, only Acacia rhamphophylla, Daviesia megacalyx and Hibbertia abyssa are endemic to the Fitzgerald Biosphere. A summary of the general actions in these plans is given in Table 13.
Threatened and priority flora of the DEC Albany (Robinson & Coates 1995), Esperance (Craig & Coates 2001) and Great Southern (formally Katanning) (Graham & Mitchell 2000) districts are subject of wildlife management programs that provide a brief summary of each species, their threatening processes and the management and research requirements for each of these species.
All of the recovery plans specify actions for monitoring of currently known populations, surveys of potential habitat for new populations, public awareness and research (Table 13). All the plans also include actions for threat abatement, primarily for fire, Phytophthora cinnamomi and feral cats and foxes. All the plans for flora species include an action for seed collection, and many of the plans for fauna species include captive breeding and/or translocation actions.
Table 12: The recovery plans for species that are endemic or have part distributions in the Fitzgerald Biosphere.
Great Southern District Threatened Flora Recovery Team
The ‘critical-weight range’ mammals that are presumed locally extinct from the Biosphere are also represented by recovery plans and teams. These include: Woylie (Bettongia penicillata ogilbyi) (Start et al. 1995), Bilby (Macrotis lagotis) (Pavey 2006), and Western Barred Bandicoot (Perameles bougainville) (Short 1995). These recovery plans and teams are relevant to this Plan, as the Biosphere may include potential sites for reintroductions.
Table 13: Summary table of the recovery actions from current recovery plans and interim recovery plans that relate to threatened species in the Fitzgerald Biosphere.