In July 2006, project staff set up a base camp in the Fitzgerald River National



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by Melanie Harding 

A

Abboovvee



Verticordia rutilastra, the priority species that has been

surveyed as part of the BCI project on the remnant on Hi Vallee farm.

Photo – Kathy Himbeck


The recovery of black cockatoo species

in the Peel-Harvey region is the focus of

a project the Serpentine-Jarrahdale Land

Conservation District Committee

(LCDC) is coordinating through the 

SJ Landcare centre.

Funded by Lotterywest, the project aims

to increase the number of the Baudin’s

black-cockatoo, Carnaby’s black-cockatoo

and Forest red-tailed black-cockatoo by

providing additional and alternative

nesting sites.The project will complement

work completed by the Water

Corporation’s Cockatoo Care Project,

the WA Museum and Birds Australia.

The decline of Baudin’s black-cockatoo,

Carnaby’s black-cockatoo and Forest

red-tailed cockatoos has been a major

concern for scientists, naturalists and the

wider community for the past 20 years.

The key factors in their decline are the

disappearance of suitable nesting sites,

through competition for fewer hollows

with other species, such as the galah and

European honey bee (See in this issue

Feral Bee Control Strategy), the

destruction of potential nesting trees,

especially marri (Corymbia calophylla),

and fires during the breeding season.

The Serpentine-Jarrahdale LCDC, with

advice from the WA Museum

(Department of Ornithology) and Birds

Australia, have designed and created an

artificial nest box for use by black

cockatoos.Thirty nest boxes will be

constructed from polypiping recycled

from mining operations.

Currently 18 artificial nest boxes have

been installed.The nest boxes are located

at sites of known black cockatoo activity

identified by WA Museum research in

the Shires of Serpentine-Jarrahdale and

Murray, and include private landholdings,

State forest, and the North Dandalup

Primary School.

Nesting activity will be monitored by

landholders, school students and

community volunteers.The results of

this monitoring will assist in increasing

knowledge of black cockatoo breeding

activities on the Swan Coastal Plain and

will raise awareness in the community

about threats to species of black

cockatoo and actions that can be

undertaken to reduce these threats.

A ‘Design-a-Sign’ competition  was  run

with participating schools. The winning

sign (pictured) has been erected at the

entrance to the Serpentine Falls National

Park to raise community awareness of

the threats to black cockatoos.

If you would like to become involved in

the project, as part of a monitoring group

or as a potential nest box host, contact

the Serpentine-Jarrahdale Community

Landcare Centre on (08) 9526 0012.

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5

Installation and monitoring of nesting boxes for threatened black

cockatoos in Serpentine-Jarrahdale and Murray 

by Glen Byleveld 

LLeefftt A nest box installation in Serpentine. 

Photo – Ken Okamitsu

BBeelloow

w  lleefftt ‘Design a sign’ competition

winner’s sign on display at Serpentine Falls

National Park. Photo – Francesca Jones

The focus of the 2006 grand spider orchid (Caladenia huegelii)

surveys was to survey areas of potential habitat on secure tenure such

as nature reserves, local government reserves and national parks.

Many of these reserves were in the Mandurah area and the call for

volunteers was advertised in local newspapers.This resulted in much

interest from Mandurah locals who either wanted to participate in

surveys, or to advise of where they had seen orchid populations.

Additionally, FloraBase featured the grand spider orchid as its ‘Plant

of the Month’ to raise awareness.

This resulted in more than 60 volunteers participating in the

surveys — Mandurah locals, volunteers from the WA Native Orchid

Study Group, Conservation Volunteers Australia and 13 DEC staff

who either coordinated survey days or participated in the surveys.

The effort by volunteers and DEC staff resulted in extensions to

known populations of the grand spider orchid; reports of new

populations, some of which are still to be confirmed; two new

populations of another rare orchid species, glossy-leaved hammer

orchid (Drakaea elastica), being reported and surveyed; a property

owner allowing her property to be a new site for Kings Park and

Botanic Gardens orchid researchers to look at a range of Drakaea

species; and more information about the areas in which this orchid

does, and does not occur.

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Abboovvee Survey volunteers at Kooljerrenup Nature Reserve. 



Photo – Nicole Willers

Grand spider orchid surveys 2006



by Vanessa Clarke

Rescuing threatened wheatbelt orchids

by Andrew Brown

DEC is developing a feral bee control strategy

to reduce feral bee populations where they

negatively impact on native fauna and flora.

European honey bees (Apis mellifera) were

introduced to Australia soon after European

settlement in the 1820s for honey production

and to help pollinate plants and crops.

However, because of the natural ability of

honey bees to swarm or abscond, unmanaged

feral colonies are now widespread and exist in

almost every part of the State receiving

reliable rainfall.

Feral bees are of little value for commercial

honey production, and represent a considerable risk to the

commercial apiculture industry in the event of the introduction

into WA of new exotic diseases and parasites that affect

honeybees. Although, feral bees and managed bees are the same

species, feral bees are generally darker in colour, are often more

aggressive and have a tendency to swarm more than managed bees.

Feral bees compete with native birds, mammals and invertebrates

for floral resources (nectar and pollen).They also disrupt natural

pollination and seed set processes, aid in the spread and

establishment of introduced weeds and take over hollows in trees,

evicting native birds and mammals that are dependant on those

hollows for shelter or nests. Of particular concern is that the bees

take over the nests of threatened black cockatoos, including the

red-tailed black cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus banksii naso), Carnaby’s

black cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus latirostris) and Baudin’s black

cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus baudinii) (See in this issue Installation



and monitoring of nesting boxes for threatened black cockatoos in

Serpentine-Jarrahdale and Murray).

Control on a hive by hive basis is

considered costly and time consuming but

new research from New Zealand has

uncovered a way to tackle the problem

using a series of bait stations that contain

sugar syrup and pesticide, which the bees

take up and deliver back to their hive.

The WA research will investigate:

•  the most effective method to attract bees to the baits;

•  the risks to non-target native species (vertebrate and

invertebrate);

•  distances travelled by feral bees to a bait station;

•  how long it will take to kill feral bee hives in a specific area; and

•  how often hives or areas will need to be treated to keep them

free from feral bees.

All efforts will be made to develop a safe and efficient feral bee

control strategy suitable for WA. DEC will endeavour to reduce

feral bee numbers without affecting the beekeeping industry.

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This Lotterywest funded project, which

was approved in October 2006 with

initial funding of $220,000 over two

years, is a collaboration between the WA

Native Orchid Study and Conservation

Group (the proponent), the Friends of

Kings Park, wheatbelt landcare groups,

the University of WA, the Botanic

Gardens and Parks Authority and DEC.

If successful, it’s likely that a further two

years of funding will be made available.

The principal objective is to recover

highly threatened wheatbelt orchids by

obtaining knowledge of their biology

and ecology and threatening processes

that are affecting them, and then

undertake actions to improve survival

and reproduction, propagating and out-

planting orchids to natural habitats,

measuring orchid survival and

reproduction and providing training to

community groups and conservation

workers.This project also aims to

promote collaboration between urban

and rural community groups,

government agencies and universities, as

well as increasing public awareness of

rare flora and threats to biodiversity.

Eight of the nine orchids are ranked as

critically endangered with four of these

(Caladenia graniticola, Caladenia melanema,



Caladenia williamsiae and Drakaea isolata)

selected for urgent study as they are

believed to have the greatest risk of

extinction.Three of these orchids are

known from single locations.

The other species to be studied are



Caladenia bryceana subsp. bryceana,

Caladenia drakeoides, Caladenia elegans,

Pterostylis sp. Northampton and

Rhizanthella gardneri.

The main threats to these orchids include

the scarcity and fragmentation of suitable

remaining habitat, and habitat decline

due to weeds, feral animals, salinity and

drought. Remedial actions are urgently

required, but cannot proceed without

research to understand the biology and

ecology of the orchids and the greatest

threats to each of them. Once this

information has been gathered solutions

to these threats can be developed.

A steering committee has been established

and a project coordinator is to be

appointed soon. It is likely that the project

will commence in full in 2007.

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LLeefftt

Caladenia williamsiae. 

Photo Andrew Brown

LLeefftt A feral bee (

Apia mellifera) on marri

(

Corymbia calophylla).



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Apia mellifera) on Regelia

inops. 


Photos – Jacqueline Hay

Feral bee control strategy



by Jacqueline Hay

6

6 watsnu



In August 2006 the first set of changes were made to the list of nationally threatened species under the EPBC Act as an outcome of the

Species Alignment Project being undertaken between Species and Communities Branch and the Commonwealth Department of

Environment and Heritage (see ‘Alignment of State and commonwealth Species List’ WATSNU July 2006).

The changes were:

• 10 species (eight flora and two fauna) have been listed as threatened;

• 19 species (18 endemic plant species and the western subspecies of the thick-billed grasswren), no longer considered nationally

threatened, have been delisted; and

• eight flora species have been transferred from the extinct category to appropriate threatened categories because of recent rediscoveries.

It is anticipated that more alignment of the species lists will occur over the coming year as further changes are approved by the

Commonwealth.Timing of approved changes will depend on the progress of nominations through the Commonwealth Threatened

Species Scientific Committee, the public comment period as required under the EPBC Act, and final approval by the Commonwealth

Minister for the Environment.

The changes to the EPBC Act are listed below.

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Acacia chapmanii subsp. australis (a shrub)

Caladenia williamsiae (Williams’ spider orchid)

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En

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d

Acacia cochlocarpa subsp. velutinosa (velvety spiral pod wattle)

Acacia unguicula (a shrub)

Brachyscias verecundus (ironstone brachyscias)

Calectasia cyanea (blue tinsel lily)

Cherax tenuimanus (hairy marron)

Daviesia glossosema (maroon-flowered daviesia)

Galaxias truttaceus hesperius (western trout minnow) 

Muehlenbeckia horrida subsp. abdita (remote thorny lignum) 

T

Trraan



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Eremophila vernicosa Chinnock ms (resinous poverty bush)

Gastrolobium lehmannii (Cranbrook pea) 

Stachystemon nematophorus (three-flowered stachystemon)

T

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Frankenia parvula (short-leaved frankenia)

Ptilotus fasciculatus (Fitzgerald’s mulla-mulla)

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d

Gyrostemon reticulatus (net-veined gyrostemon)

Haloragis platycarpa (broad-fruited haloragis)

Hydatella leptogyne (few-flowered hydatella)

D

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Acacia semicircinalis (Wongan wattle)

Adenanthos cunninghamii (Albany woollybush)

Amytornis textilis textilis (thick-billed grasswren (western subspecies))

Anigozanthos humilis subsp. chrysanthus (golden catspaw)

Bentleya spinescens (spiny bentleya)

Caladenia arrecta (reaching spider orchid) 

Chordifex chaunocoleus (heath rush)

Corybas limpidus (crystal helmet orchid)

Daviesia spiralis (spiral-leaved daviesia)

Eremophila micro theca (heath-like eremophila)

Eucalyptus bennettiae (Bennett’s mallee)

Eucalyptus graniticola Brooker and Hopper ms (scarp road mallee)

Eucalyptus rhodantha var. x petiolaris (stalked rose mallee)

Hemiandra sp. Watheroo (S.Hancocks 4) (colourful snakebush)

Kunzea pauciflora (Mt Melville kunzea)

Lechenaultia pulvinaris (cushion leschenaultia)

Pimelea rara (summer pimelea)

Triodia bromoides (a spinifex)

Verticordia harveyi (autumn featherflower)

watsnu 7


7

Aligning the Western Australian and national threatened species lists



by Dr Ken Atkins

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As a volunteer and occasional employee in

the environmental arena it is enormously

gratifying to be part of the network that

unravels the mysteries of WA flora.

This story is long and convoluted, and

illustrates the value of networks and

community cooperation. It all started

with Diels who collected Ptilotus



helichrysoides in the Yerina Springs Road

area early in the 19th century.The species

was not seen again for more than 100

years.Then DEC’s Greg Keighery

recorded it from the Goldfields, and in

2005 Rob Davis (identification botanist

at the WA Herbarium) found it again in

the Yerina Springs area. By coincidence,

Bayden Smith and Simon Brannigan (of

Greening Australia’s Environmental

Services Unit) recorded it during a

survey undertaken on behalf of Northern

Agriculture Catchments Council

(NACC) and DEC, as part of the

Hidden Treasures  Project.

Late in 2005, Greening Australia’s River

Recovery Project Manager, Margi Weir,

was working on the Hutt River,

familiarising herself with the Yerina

Springs area and photographed an

unfamiliar plant, possibly a species of

Asteraceae. She emailed her photograph

to contacts at Greening Australia and

Kings Park.The reply came back that it

was possibly a member of the genus

Ozothamnus, but in searching FloraBase

the only records were of a species in the

Eastern Goldfields many hundreds of

kilometres to the south-east.

In November 2005, as Biodiversity

Support Officer for Northern Agriculture

Catchments Council (NACC)/Greening

Australia, I visited the site with Margi.

We found a very dead Ptilotus sp.,

possibly helichrysoides, shredded on the

firebreak.We also found and collected the

possible Ozothamnus sp. for herbarium

identification and explored the site more

extensively.The site is a south facing

breakaway extending 200m to 300m

west from the road, on Cockatea Shale, a

sedimentary shale ferruginised by ground

water. A Leucopogon sp. was locally

common and, knowing Mike Hislop’s

special interest in the genus, we also

collected it.

The specimens were submitted to the

WA Herbarium for vouchering together

with all the Geraldton Regional

Herbarium’s collections of that year,

several of which had been undertaken in

conjunction with Greening Australia.

The methodical identification process

was followed by WA Herbarium staff and

their volunteers and the specimens finally

reached Mike Hislop and Rob Davis -

botanists based at the WA Herbarium -

in June 2006. Rob phoned to say the

Ozothamnus sp. was probably a new

species and, as Mike had managed a trip

to Yerina Springs to find the Leucopogon

species in bud, Rob asked (as it appeared

to be a new species) whether we could

possibly visit the site again soon as it

would probably be in flower.

In July 2006 Cathy Page, the new

Conservation Officer at DEC Geraldton

District and I (as a volunteer with

Geraldton Regional Herbarium) took

NACC’s two new Biodiversity Support

Officers, Chiara Danese and Donna

Rayner, on an introductory visit to

Yerina Springs Road and met with

Margi Weir.The  Leucopogon sp. was in

full flower so population estimates and

an adequate specimen collection could

be made for the WA Herbarium. A

second member of the Epacridaceae was

also found and collected along with a

specimen of an unfamiliar plant and a



Gastrolobium sp. Later that day Margi

checked out bushland further north

along Yerina Springs Road and found

the same two members of the

Epacridaceae plus a third species. She

sent her photographs to Mike.

So what had we found? There were three

members of the Epacridaceae family

collected and according to Mike the first is

an unnamed taxon that he has given the

phrase name Leucopogon sp.Yallabatharra.

The other two are Astroloma species not



Leucopogon species as had been initially

thought, one being Astroloma sp. Kalbarri.

This reinforces the necessity for good

plant material for identification. Mike

pointed out that the whole family is under

review with 40–50 per cent of them

possibly requiring name changes. But what

of the Ozothamnus specimen? Rob says

that it is in all probability a new species

that after it is officially described is a

possible candidate for the DRF list.

According to Mike the mystery plant is a



Dodonaea species which may be of

particular interest. It appears to be related

to D. pinifolia and D. caespitosa or it could

be an outlier of D. divaricata but the

growth habit looks incorrect. Fruit is

needed to resolve this.

The Gastrolobium turned out to be 

G. propinquum (Priority 1) and there

appears to be a large population of it in

the area.

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Leucopogon sp Yallabatharra.

Photo – Magi Wier

8

8 watsnu


New flora species and other interesting discoveries



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