Our ability to manage a threatened species is dependent on our knowledge of the ecological requirements of that species, and the circumstances that threaten population persistence. In order to effectively manage and conserve M. deanei, greater understanding is required of: (i) the species’ capacity to regenerate; (ii) appropriate fire regimes; and (iii) the hybridisation with other species (Table 7).
5.3Translocation and ex situ conservation
Translocation is the deliberate transfer of plants or regenerative plant material from an ex-situ collection or natural population to a location in the wild, including existing or new sites or those where the taxon is now locally extinct (Vallee et al. 2004). Translocation is often touted as a possible method of conserving threatened flora. However, given the high cost and risk associated with the technique, translocation should only be considered as a last resort when all other management options are deemed inappropriate or have failed. As stated by Vallee et al. (2004), ‘where possible, resources will be more effective when directed towards conserving existing populations in-situ through habitat protection and/or habitat rehabilitation measures and through the control of threatening processes’.
Translocation is not currently considered necessary for the survival of M. deanei as the in-situ conservation measures proposed in this recovery plan are expected to meet the conservation needs of the species. Further, primarily due to the uncertainty of success and the risks associated with translocation, the technique should not be considered by consent or determining authorities to be an appropriate means of ameliorating the impact of a proposal on threatened species (Vallee et al. 2004). In short, translocation does not decrease the significance of an impact.
There is currently no plan to establish an ex-situ collection of this species, and this is not listed as a priority action for its survival. However, the establishment of an ex-situ seed collection is considered to be a prudent contingency measure to protect against the loss of genetic material that may result from unexpected local extinctions. Currently, Mt Annan Botanical Gardens has a large collection of seed from a population near Nepean Dam, but it is unknown whether this would suffice to ensure good capture of the species’ genetic inventory(R. Johnstone, pers. comm.).
The majority of known M. deanei populations described in this recovery plan (85%) were located after 1990. Two research projects focused on the distribution, seed ecology and other ecological aspects of this species, and these provided detailed accounts of some populations (Virtue 1991; Felton 1993). Opportunistic surveys by consultants and other experts located further populations. In particular, two surveys focused exclusively on locating M. deanei in the Heathcote district, West Menai and the Southern Sydney region (Travers Morgan 1990; KMA 2001). Other surveys located M. deanei as part of more general flora surveys, in areas such as Holsworthy Military Reserve (French et al. 2000) or the area impacted upon by the construction of the Bangor Bypass (RTA 2002). In addition, many of the known, and some suspected, sites were surveyed in 2005 and 2006 for the preparation of this recovery plan.
6.2Threatened species data collection and audit
The DECCW has conducted a literature review, and an audit of RBG NSW Herbarium, NSW NPWS Atlas of Wildlife, State Forests and other records prior to the preparation of this recovery plan.
6.3Profile and environmental impact assessment guidelines
A species profile and environmental impact assessment guidelines have been prepared for M. deanei (Appendix 4). The aim of these documents is to assist the assessment of potential impacts on the species and community during the preparation and review of assessments under Parts 4 and 5 of the EP&A Act and Part 6 of the TSC Act.
6.4Establishment of a recovery team
A recovery team has not been established for M. deanei. However, consultation has occurred with members of a recovery plan reference group, comprising representatives of relevant public authorities that will be responsible for the planning and/or management of this species and scientists who have special knowledge of the species.
Two local councils (Sutherland Shire and Liverpool City Council) have reduced illegal dumping of rubbish along one major road (Heathcote road) where such dumping threatens M. deanei populations, through patrols by Enforcement Officers, the installation of surveillance cameras, building of access barriers, and community awareness programs (DEC 2005). Management plans have been prepared for two sites containing significant populations of M. deanei (Site SU3, Sutherland Shire Council 2000; Site Su7a-7f, NECS 2001).
More than 50% of all populations occur on DECCW estate and are zoned as National Park or Nature Reserve.
7Proposed Recovery Objectives, Actions and Performance Criteria
The overall objective of this recovery plan is to prevent the status of M. deanei from becoming critically endangered by reducing the further loss of populations and, by implementing in-situ management regimes aimed at maintaining representative populations of the species’ across its natural range.
Specific objectives of the recovery plan for the species are listed below. For each of these objectives a number of recovery actions have been developed, each with a performance criterion.
Specific objective 1: Coordinate the recovery of M. deanei A coordinated approach is essential to oversee and assist in the implementation of the actions outlined in this recovery plan in a timely, cost-effective and efficient manner. Some of the tasks undertaken during the coordination of this plan (e.g. liaison with other public authorities) will overlap with other identified actions.
Action 1.1: DECCW will coordinate the implementation of the actions outlined in this recovery plan. Performance Criterion 1.1: DECCW has coordinated the recovery actions included in this recovery plan for the life of the plan.
Specific objective 2: Protect known occurrences of M. deaneiusing land-use and conservation planning mechanisms More than half of known M. deanei sites (53%) occur within conservation reserves, but most of these sites are concentrated in the northern part of the species range (Section 4.4). In addition, conservation reserves protect only seven of the 16 larger populations (e.g. ramet counts >40). This objective aims to increase the legislative protection afforded to high priority sites through the following mechanisms:
Conservation agreements and covenants under the NPW Act and Conveyancing Act 1919;
Environmental planning instruments under Part 3 of the EP&A Act;
Classification of land as community land under the Local Government Act 1993 and subsequentconsideration of the species in plans of management for such land.
Action 2.1: DECCW (EPRD or PWD) will advise relevant public authorities of the presence of M. deaneion lands under their control or management and encourage appropriate zoning and agreements. Performance Criterion 2.1: Advice given to relevant public authorities on appropriate zoning and agreements.
Action 2.2: Councils and the Department of Planning will ensure that all relevant Environmental Planning Instruments (prepared under Part 3 of the EP&A Act) are prepared, or reviewed, with reference to this recovery plan and any further advice from the DECCW regarding this species.
Action 2.3: All relevant consent and determining authorities (under Part 4 & 5 of the EP&A Act) will assess developments and activities with reference to this recovery plan, environmental impact assessment guidelines (Appendix 4) and any further advice from the DECCW regarding the species. For the purpose of Action 2.3, consent and determining authorities include:
the Department of Planning; and
the local governments of Baulkham Hills, Blue Mountains, Campbelltown, Hawkesbury, Hornsby, Ku-ring-gai, Liverpool, Ryde, Sutherland, Warringah, Wingecarribee, and Wollondilly.
Performance Criterion for actions 2.2 and 2.3: The level of protection afforded M. deanei populations and habitat is increased through conservation planning and land-use decisions. Specific objective 3: To identify and minimise the threats operating at M. deanei sites Threats operating at M. deanei sites that are additional to land clearing are described in Section 6.2. Lack of knowledge about the species (and specifically the cause of population losses and declines at sites where habitat has remained intact) is an additional possible threat that may be affecting the species. Actions under this objective aim to minimise threats through: (1) providing information regarding the management of M. deanei to relevant land managers and public authorities; (2) incorporating appropriate threat abatement measures into relevant management plans; and (3) implementing appropriate in situ abatement measures.
Priority sites for this action have been identified based on (i) the size of the population; (ii) the distance from the nearest conserved population; (iii) the confirmed ability of the population to produce fruit; and (iv) the size and/or condition of proximate habitat at the site. Lists of priority sites are based on the information available at the date of this recovery plan being published, and may change as the level of legislative protection changes, or as new sites are discovered.
Threat abatement measures for M. deanei may include (but should not be restricted to):
weed control and bush regeneration activities;
the creation or maintenance of vegetation corridors between and within populations, as M. deanei may require cross-breeding for successful seed production (see Section 5.2);
sensitive trail and easement maintenance protocols;
regular monitoring to assess the status of the population and the effectiveness of threat abatement measures;
the application of appropriate fire regimes (see also Action 3.11 below);
avoiding planting other species of Melaleuca and Callistemon in close proximity to M. deanei sites; and
installation of barriers to prevent physical damage to M. deanei sites.
Management of threats to M. deanei on DECCW estate:
Action 3.1: The DECCW will prepare site management statements for populations located on DECCW estate. The DECCW will survey known sites located on DECCW estate, then prepare site management statements (following the proforma in Appendix 5) that detail any specific threat abatement measures required and a timetable to implement these measures. Priority sites for this action are located in Heathcote NP, Ku-ring-gai Chase NP, Berowra Valley RP, and Wollemi NP (see Appendix 3).
Performance Criterion 3.1: Site management statements for relevant populations prepared within 3 years.
Action 3.2: The DECCW will implement any necessary threat abatement measures in accordance with the site management statements prepared under Action 3.1. Performance Criterion 3.2: On-site threat abatement measures implemented for M. deanei on DECCW estate as required.
Action 3.3: The DECCW is to ensure that any Plan of Management or Fire Management Plan for DECCW estate supporting M. deanei provides for the species’ conservation. Performance Criterion 3.3: Plans of Management for DECCW estate supporting M. deanei provide for the conservation of this species. Management of threats to M. deanei on community land managed by local government:
Action 3.4: Local governments will consider incorporating site specific threat abatement measures into Plans of Management for land where M. deanei occurs and will review the zoning of sites where M. deanei occurs as land zoned for Environmental Protection where such land is not already zoned as such. The following local governments currently manage community land that supports M. deanei: Blue Mountains, Ku-ring-gai, Ryde, Hornsby and Sutherland (see Appendix 3 for site details). These councils, and other councils subsequently found to manage M. deanei, will incorporate site specific in situ protection measures for the species into Plans of Management for community land where the species occurs. Site specific information will be collected in a Site Management Statement (Appendix 5) for each site at which M. deanei occurs. Three sites (KU4, KU3 and HO12) occur on land that is not currently zoned for Environmental Protection and the relevant councils will consider rezoning this land for Environmental Protection.
Performance Criterion 3.4: In situ protection measures for the species are incorporated into Plans of Management for community land managed by local governments within 3 years.
Action 3.5: Councils will implement threat abatement measures in accordance with the site-specific recommendations incorporated into the Plans of Management prepared under Action 3.4. Performance Criterion 3.5: Threat abatement measures for relevant sites are implemented in accordance with Plans of Management by year 5.
Management of threats to M. deanei on land managed by other public authorities:
Action 3.6: The DECCW will encourage other public authorities that manage land that supports M. deanei to prepare site management statements (following the proforma in Appendix 5) for M. deanei habitat under their management. For the purpose of this action ‘other public authorities’ include:
Department of Defence
Sydney Catchment Authority
Waste Services NSW
Priority sites for this action are situated at Nepean Dam (WI1), Avon Dam Catchment (WO3a-d), Springwood (BM3b), Mt. Ku-ring-gai (HO5), Akuna Avenue (SU4), and Holsworthy Defence Reserve (CA1-11; LI1-3; SU7g).
Performance Criterion 3.6: Site management statements for relevant populations are prepared within 3 years.
Action 3.7: The DECCW will liaise with other public authorities (as identified in Action 3.6) to implement any necessary and feasible threat abatement measures within the habitat of M. deanei to mitigate against habitat destruction and degradation related to unrestricted access and frequent fire, in accordance with the site management statements prepared under Action 3.6. Performance Criterion 3.7: Threat abatement measures are implemented in accordance with the site management statements by year 5 of the plan.
Action 3.8: The DECCW will liaise with the Commonwealth Department of Defence to facilitate the implementation of threat abatement measures at all priority sites within Holsworthy Military Reserve (see Appendix 3 for site details). Performance Criterion 3.8: Threat abatement measures implemented at all sites within Holsworthy Military Reserve within 5 years.
Management of threats to M. deanei on private property:
Action 3.9: The DECCW will encourage and assist private landholders in the preparation of site management statements (following the proforma in Appendix 5) for sites located on freehold land where necessary, to guide management at those sites.. Priority sites for this action are located at Springwood (BM3a), Menai (SU5a-d), Lucas Heights (SU7h&I), and Wilton (WO2).
Performance Criterion 3.9: Site management statements prepared for at least 4 sites on freehold land within 3 years, subject to landholder approval.
Action 3.10: The DECCW will encourage landholders to implement threat abatement measures on freehold land in accordance with the site management statements prepared under Action 3.9. The DECCW will encourage interested private landholders of sites that support M. deanei, to implement on-ground works to mitigate or reduce threats, in accordance with Site Management Statements prepared under Action 3.9. Where landholders are interested, and at appropriate sites, the DECCW will encourage landholders to enter into Voluntary Conservation Agreements or Biobanking Agreements. The sites will also be monitored by the DECCW on a regular basis to assess the success of any on-ground works that have been implemented. Performance Criterion 3.10: Threat abatement measures for relevant sites implemented in accordance with site management statements within 5 years, subject to landholder approval. Strategic management of frequent fire:
Action 3.11: DECCW and the NSW RFS will review the conditions for M. deanei in the Threatened Species Hazard Reduction List of the Bush Fire Environmental Assessment Code. DECCW and RFS will use available biological and ecological information to reassess the immediate and cumulative impact of bush fire hazard reduction works on M. deanei, and to reassess the adequacy of the mitigative conditions in the Threatened Species Hazard Reduction List. DECCW and RFS will also use available biological and ecological information to reassess the impacts of wildfires on M. deanei, and, if appropriate, develop preferred mitigative measures to minimise the potential impact of wildfires and/or wildfire suppression operations. If appropriate, measures for the protection of M. deanei are to be included in relevantBush Fire Risk Management Plans and Operation Maps (pursuant to section 52 of the Rural Fires Act 1997). Performance Criterion 3.11: Bush Fire Risk Management Plans and Operations Maps include measures (as appropriate) for the protection of M. deanei, and the mitigative conditions for M. deanei on the Threatened Species Hazard Reduction List are reviewed by year 5 of the implementation of this recovery plan or as relevant information becomes available.
Action 3.12: The DECCW will provide updated Atlas of NSW Wildlife data to the RFS for incorporation into relevant datasets (including the Threatened Species Hazard Reduction List of the Bush Fire Environmental Assessment Code) and make this data available to the other approval or public authorities. Performance Criterion 3.12: Updated Atlas of NSW Wildlife data is incorporated and used by approval and other public authorities in decision making. Specific objective 4: To improve awareness of M. deanei amongst operational staff working within easements, walking tracks and fire trails The removal of vegetation within easements (particularly under electricity transmission lines) and along walking tracks and fire-trails has been identified as a threat at a number of M. deanei sites. Under this action, land managers will ensure that operational staff with track, fire trail and easement maintenance responsibilities undertake these duties in a manner that does not impact upon the long term viability of M. deanei populations.
Action 4.1: The DECCW will liaise with relevant authorities to ensure that operational staff working within easements, walking tracks and fire trails are aware of M. deanei populations and minimise the impacts of their activities on this species. For the purpose of this action ‘relevant authorities’ are:
Sydney Catchment Authority
Department of Defence
the local governments of Baulkham Hills, Blue Mountains, Ku-ring-gai, Ryde, and Sutherland.
Under this action, land managers will ensure that operational staff with track, fire trail and easement maintenance responsibilities undertake these duties in a manner that does not impact upon the long term viability of M. deanei populations.This will involve:
Training operational staff in identifying M. deanei;
Informing operational staff of the location of relevant sites;
Marking of such sites in the field prior to any maintenance works;
Establishing buffer zones around sites within which more sensitive maintenance practices are carried out (e.g. retention of M. deanei and selective hand pruning of other vegetation).
Performance Criterion 4.1: Impacts of operational works on M. deanei are minimised through the implementation of protection procedures within 2 years of the publication of this plan. Specific objective 5: To promote surveys, research and monitoring that will assist with the management of M. deanei
Action 5.1: The DECCW will undertake surveys of previously unsurveyed sites to confirm the presence or absence of M. deanei, and will continue to monitor known sites. The DECCW will undertake surveys to confirm the presence of all M. deanei sites not surveyed during the preparation of this recovery plan. These surveys are required to document the size, habitat characteristics and threats present at these sites. The DECCW will also continue to monitor known M. deanei sites and will analyse any monitoring data that was collected during threat abatement or other on-ground activities. This information can then be used to enter site specific actions for the species into the Priorities Actions Statement (PAS). Performance Criterion 5.1: Information regarding population size (ramet numbers and area occupied), habitat characteristics and threats collected for all known sites within 5 years.
Action 5.2: The DECCW will identify potential habitat for M. deanei and facilitate surveys for the species within potential habitat. It is likely that our current understanding of the distribution of M. deanei is not complete. It is important to establish the full extent of the distribution of potential habitat for M. deanei, through both on-ground surveys and predictive modelling.
Performance Criterion 5.2: At least one survey will be conducted annually for M. deanei and furtherpotential habitat for the species has been identified.
Action 5.3: The DECCW will promote the priority research projects identified in this recovery plan. As outlined in Section 6.2, a number of potential research projects could assist with the conservation management of M. deanei. The DECCW will encourage tertiary and research institutions to conduct research consistent with the priorities outlined in section 6.3 and will assist these institution in applying for external funding. Where possible, the DECCW will undertake components of this research program.
While all research outlined in Section 6.3 is regarded as important, particular emphasis will be placed upon research into the hybridisation of M. deanei with other species (Section 6.2.8). Knowledge of the extent of this threatening process is an essential prerequisite for developing management strategies. Performance Criterion 5.3: All major tertiary and research institutions within the Sydney/Illawarra regions have been contacted regarding potential research areas within 3 years. Specific objective 6: To provide stakeholders with information that assist in conserving M. deanei The prompt and effective distribution of information on M. deanei is an important component of ensuring that the conservation requirements of the species are appropriately considered in decisions regarding land-use planning and field management. Actions under this objective aim to aid the dissemination of information regarding the taxon to stakeholders including land managers, consent and determining authorities, environmental consultants, bushland contractors, and community groups.
Action 6.1: The DECCW will provide public land managers with the site information that was collected during the preparation of this recovery plan. Performance Criterion 6.1: Relevant public land managers will have received site information within 6 months of publishing this plan and will be able to incorporate this information in relevant land-use and planning decisions.
Action 6.2: The DECCW will update the profile and environmental impact assessment guidelines for the species to incorporate information acquired during the implementation of the recovery plan. Performance Criterion 6.2: Profile and environmental impact assessment guidelines for the species updated as required. Specific objective 7: To raise awareness about the threats to the species and involve the community in the recovery program In order to enhance the social benefits of the recovery program and to assist in its implementation, actions under this objective aim to raise awareness of the recovery program and encourage community involvement in its implementation. A potential area of involvement of the community is in the implementation of threat and habitat management programs and the monitoring of their success, which is an action that public authorities will undertake (see Action 3.6). Community groups can use the Site Management Proforma (Appendix 5) to monitor sites supporting M. deanei.
Action 7.1: The DECCW will distribute information on the progress of the recovery program to raise awareness of the program and encourage community involvement in its implementation. The DECCW will distribute information on the progress of the M. deanei recovery program via existing DECCW newsletters and will also use relevant local media for such distribution. This information will be aimed at public authorities, community groups, interested individuals and selected affected landholders. Performance Criterion 7.1: Relevant information distributed annually.
Action 7.2: The DECCW will liaise with local governments, landcare groups and regional bodies such as Catchment Management Authorities to incorporate the implementation of recovery actions (including bush regeneration and site monitoring) into existing bushcare programs. Performance Criterion 7.2: Recovery actions implemented into existing bushcare programs and at least four bushcare groups involved in the recovery program annually.
Specific Objective 8: To coordinate an ex-situconservation program to safeguard genetic material from extinction
As discussed in Section 6.4, the establishment of a comprehensive ex-situ germ plasm collection for M. deanei is not considered necessary for the survival of the species. However, to provide protection against the unexpected loss of genetic material, it would be prudent to maintain an ex-situ collection of seed collected from priority sites.
Populations that are considered to be a high priority for seed collection are those that are known to contain less than 100 ramets. Care must be taken that seeds are not hybrids, that is a proportion of seed should be tested genetically before being included in the seedbank. Appendix 3 lists population size for those populations where this is known, and future surveys will reveal population sizes for additional populations.
Action 8.1: The DECCW will coordinate the collection of a representative sample of seed from each priority population and place in long-term seed storage.
Performance Criterion 8.1: A representative sample of seed collected from each priority population and placed in long-term storage within 3 years, subject to landholder approval.