Midwest Corporation Limited Koolanooka (M70/1012)and Blue Hills

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Figure 2.1: Areas surveyed for DRF and Priority Flora at Koolanooka (Tenement No. M70/1012)

Midwest Corporation Limited 

Koolanooka (M70/1012) and Blue Hills (M59/596) 

Hydrological Drilling Programme 

Targeted Rare and Priority Flora Survey 






Figure 2.2: Areas surveyed for DRF and Priority Flora at Blue Hills (Tenement No. M59/596)

Midwest Corporation Limited 

Koolanooka (M70/1012) and Blue Hills (M59/596) 

Hydrological Drilling Programme 

Targeted Rare and Priority Flora Survey 








The Koolanooka Hills occur in the IBRA Avon Wheatbelt (AW1) subregion of the 

Southwest Botanical Province (Western Australian Herbarium, 2008).  This active ancient 

drainage subregion in the Yilgarn Craton has a rich endemic flora on lateritic uplands within 

a cover of proteaceous scrub-heaths.  The region is relatively close to the intersecting 

Transitional Rainfall Zone between the South-Western and Eremaean Botanical Provinces of 

Western Australia (Beecham, 2001).  The Transitional Rainfall Zone, that includes most of 

the wheatbelt, is regarded as a focal point for speciation in woody perennial plants and has a 

nationally significant concentration of endemic plants at the species level (Aussie Heritage, 


The vegetation of the Avon Wheatbelt subregion comprises mixed eucalypts, (including tall 

eucalypt woodlands like Salmon Gum, Gimlet, York Gum and Red Morrel) and associated 

mallee (Natural Resource Management, 2007).  Sheoak (Allocasuarina) and Jam (Acacia 

acuminata) woodlands dominate on quaternary alluvials and elluvials (Australian 

Government, 2007).  Other vegetation communities that occur in the Avon Wheatbelt include 

salt lakes, shrubland and kwongan (an aboriginal name for low heath like vegetation) 

communities (NRM, 2007).  Native vegetation in the region is recognised internationally for 

its species richness and high levels of endemism. 

Beard (1976) classified the vegetation of the Koolanooka System and included it in the 

Greenough Region in the Irwin Botanical District.  This district is in the southern Murchison 

Region of the Southwestern Botanical Province (Beard, 1976). 

The plant assemblages of the Koolanooka Hills System contain a number of ecosystems that 

are classified as at risk and have been defined as a threatened ecological community (TEC) 

and listed as Vulnerable.  The vegetation of these areas is dominated by sheoak and mixed 

shrubland of Allocasuarina campestris (hilltops) and Acacia exocarpoides (on granite). 

Three land systems are associated with the Koolanooka area


Koolanooka Land System (comprises the Koolanooka Hills) 


Noolagabbi Land System (associated with the level and gently inclined flats and lower 

slopes surrounding the Koolanooka Land System and is often associated with a saline 

drainage network); and 


Pindar Land System (associated with the gently undulating sandplain with long, gentle 

slopes to the south-east of the Koolanooka Hills) (ATA, 2004a). 

Midwest Corporation Limited 

Koolanooka (M70/1012) and Blue Hills (M59/596) 

Hydrological Drilling Programme 

Targeted Rare and Priority Flora Survey 




Blue Hills 

Blue Hills lie within the South-western Interzone, a marginal area in the southern Murchison 

Region occurring at the boundary of the Irwin and Austin Botanical Districts (Beard, 1976). 

Blue Hills is in the Yalgoo sub-region of the Austin Botanical District within the Eremaean 

Province (Western Australian Herbarium, 2008).  The Yalgoo Botanical Province is 

characterised by low woodlands to open woodlands of Eucalyptus, Acacia and  Callitris  on 

red, sandy plains. (Desmond and Chant, 2001). 

In Beard’s vegetation classification (1976), the Yalgoo subregion is a transitional area of the 

Eremaean Province where the vegetation is mostly Eremaean in character but with a slight 

shift due to an increase in rainfall.  The major vegetation types of the Yalgoo subregion 

include heath on granite outcrops (Borya, Thryptomene, Baeckea and Calycopeplus), Acacia 

scrub (Acacia acuminata, A. ramulosa and  A. quadrimarginea),  Acacia-Melaleuca thicket 

(Acacia ramulosa, A. acuminata, Melaleuca uncinata with variations, including M. 

nematophylla), scrub with scattered trees (Acacia ramulosa, A. acuminata, Hakea preissii, 

Eucalyptus loxophleba, E. oleosa, Callitris columellaris, Bursaria spinosa and  A. aneura

and salt flats (surrounded by samphire e.g. Halosarcia spp., teatree e.g. Melaleuca / 

Leptospermum, and Acacia-Eremophila scrub). 

The vegetation of the Yalgoo subregion becomes lower and denser towards the South-

western Botanical Province as Acacia aneura (mulga - adapted to intermittent rainfall) starts 

to disappear and is replaced by other Acacia species.   

No TECs are listed as occurring in the Yalgoo bio-region. 





The vegetation associated with the Koolanooka System is described as consisting of several 

vegetation types (Beard, 1976).  Vegetation Type 1 comprises open woodland of  sheoak 

(referred to by Beard, by the synonym Casuarina huegeliana [Allocasuarina huegeliana], 

however this is treated as cf. (refer to the interpretation) Allocasuarina acutivalvis in a recent 

report by Meissner and Caruso (2006), as there are no WA Herbarium records for A. 

huegeliana from Koolanooka Hills).  Vegetation Type 2 comprises the mallee Eucalyptus 

ebbanoensis, Acacia acuminata and  Dodonaea inaequifolia interspaced with thickets of 

Allocasuarina campestris (referred to by Beard, 1976, by the synonym Casuarina 

campestris).  Vegetation Type 3 comprises Acacia acuminata thicket with Grevillea 

stenostachya, Melaleuca cordata, M. nematophylla and  M. radula.    Vegetation Type 4 

comprises Eucalyptus loxophleba (York Gum) woodland interspaced with the same thicket, 

which forms the vegetation pattern on the footslopes of Koolanooka Hills, while the granite 

outcrops support mixed Acacia spp. (A. tetragonophylla, A. quadrimarginea and A. 

ramulosa) (Beard, 1976). 

Five plant assemblages of the Koolanooka System are listed as TECs by the DEC.  Beecham 

(2001) lists these TECs as:  

Midwest Corporation Limited 

Koolanooka (M70/1012) and Blue Hills (M59/596) 

Hydrological Drilling Programme 

Targeted Rare and Priority Flora Survey 






Allocasuarina campestris shrub over red loam on hill slopes;  



shrubs (such as Acacia spp.) and emergent mallees on shallow red loam over massive 

ironstone on steep rocky slopes;  



Eucalyptus ebbanoensis subsp.  ebbanoensis  mallee and Acacia  spp. scrub with 

scattered Allocasuarina huegeliana (cf. Allocasuarina acutivalvis, see above) over 

red loam and ironstone on the upper slopes and summits;  



Eucalyptus loxophleba woodland over scrub on the footslopes; and,  



mixed Acacia spp. scrub on granite. 

The Koolanooka Hills TEC occurs over two areas, Koolanooka Hills and Perenjori Hills and 

covers approximately 5419 ha (M. Morley, DEC, pers. comm., 18


 December 2006).  The 

Koolanooka Hills area covers 3496 ha and the Perenjori Hills area 1948 ha.  Analysis of 

vegetation data by DEC has shown that the vegetation at Koolanooka Hills is significantly 

different from that at Perenjori Hills (Meissner and Caruso, 2006). 

Blue Hills 

Adjacent to Rothsay in the south of the Yalgoo subregion, steep ridges of Archaean 

metamorphic banded ironstone rocks occur, and these include the Blue Hills.  These 

formations are covered with shrublands of Acacia quadrimarginea and A. acuminata that are 

generally dominated by A. ramulosa, Casuarina sp., and Melaleuca uncinata, sometimes 

with scattered trees of Eucalyptus loxophleba and Allocasuarina  dielsiana (syn. Casuarina 

dielsiana referred to by Beard, 1976). 


Midwest Corporation Limited 

Koolanooka (M70/1012) and Blue Hills (M59/596) 

Hydrological Drilling Programme 

Targeted Rare and Priority Flora Survey 








Four vegetation units associated with a single topographic feature, the flat / plain, were 

recorded during the survey.  These vegetation types are detailed in Table 3.1.  Vegetation 

typical of the Koolanooka System TEC as described by Beard was not encountered during 

the survey.  

Table 3.1:  Vegetation units encountered at Koolanooka during the survey 


Vegetation recorded  


Vegetation encountered at site KWB01 and along 

tracks linking KWB01 to KWB03 and KWB01 to 



Acacia coolgardiensis high shrubland over 

Grevillea levis and Mirbelia bursarioides low 

open shrubland over scattered herbs and 



Vegetation encountered at site KWB02. 

Acacia coolgardiensis low woodland over 

Baeckea sp. Perenjori (J.W. Green 1516) 

shrubland over very open mixed herbs and 

scattered grasses. 

Midwest Corporation Limited 

Koolanooka (M70/1012) and Blue Hills (M59/596) 

Hydrological Drilling Programme 

Targeted Rare and Priority Flora Survey 





Vegetation recorded  


Vegetation encountered at site KWB03

Eucalyptus loxophleba subsp. lissophloia low 

open woodland over Acacia acuminata high 

shrubland over Acacia paraneura open 

shrubland over Grevillea levis low open 

shrubland over open mixed herbs. 


*Note, this site was located at the rifle range 

and had been previously cleared.  The 

vegetation description was derived from the 

vegetation surrounding the cleared area. 


Vegetation encountered at the proposed access track 

from KWB02 to an existing fence line track.


Eucalyptus ebbanoensis subsp. ebbanoensis 

medium mallee shrubs over Acacia 

coolgardiensis  high open shrubland over 

Acacia acanthoclada subsp. glaucescens 

and  Eremophila oldfieldii subsp.  oldfieldii tall 

open shrubland over Acacia acanthoclada 


glaucescens and Mirbelia 

bursarioides  low open shrubland over open 

mixed herbs and scattered soft grasses. 


Midwest Corporation Limited 

Koolanooka (M70/1012) and Blue Hills (M59/596) 

Hydrological Drilling Programme 

Targeted Rare and Priority Flora Survey 




Blue Hills 

Three vegetation types associated with two topographic features, minor gully base and flat / 

plain, were recorded during the survey.  These vegetation types are detailed in Table 3.2.  

The vegetation along the track leading to these sites was the same as that recorded at the 

proposed drill pads. 

Table 3.2: Vegetation units encountered at Blue Hills during the survey 


Vegetation recorded  


Vegetation encountered at WB01 – flat plain. 

Acacia sibilans and Acacia aneura var. 

argentea low open forest over Drummondita 

microphylla high woodland over Aluta aspera 

subsp. hesperia shrubland. 



Vegetation encountered at WB02 – minor gully base. 


Acacia aneura var. argentea low open 

woodland over Melaleuca nematophylla high 

open shrubland over Acacia sibilans open 

shrubland over Baeckea sp. Mt Gibson (R. 

Meissner & Y. Caruso MTGB16), Aluta 

aspera subs. hesperia and Drummondita 

microphylla low shrubland. 


Midwest Corporation Limited 

Koolanooka (M70/1012) and Blue Hills (M59/596) 

Hydrological Drilling Programme 

Targeted Rare and Priority Flora Survey 





Vegetation recorded  


Vegetation encountered at WB03 – minor gully base . 

Allocasuarina acutivalvis subsp. prinsepiana 

and  Acacia ramulosa var. ramulosa low 

woodland over Drummondita microphylla

Hibbertia arcuata and Aluta aspera subsp. 

hesperia low shrubland over scattered herbs 

and soft grasses. 


Midwest Corporation Limited 

Koolanooka (M70/1012) and Blue Hills (M59/596) 

Hydrological Drilling Programme 

Targeted Rare and Priority Flora Survey 







Forty three taxa from 23 families and 31 genera were recorded during the survey and none of 

these was a weed species (Appendix B).  Of these taxa, one was identified to family level and 

one to genus level only. 

Blue Hills 

Thirty three taxa from 21 families and 27 genera were recorded during the survey and none 

of these was a weed species (Appendix B). 



4.1.1  Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 

Flora species are protected at a National level under the Commonwealth Environment 

Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act).  The Act contains a list of 

species that are considered Critically Endangered, Endangered, Vulnerable, Conservation 

Dependent, Extinct or Extinct in the Wild (for definitions of categories, see Appendix C). 

A search of the Department of Water and Heritage database was conducted using a 30 km 

buffer around the centre of each survey area.  The results for both areas are outlined below. 


Four species of nationally threatened flora are known from the vicinity of the Koolanooka 

project area (Table D.1, Appendix D) (Dept of the Environment, Water Resources and the 

Arts, 2008); Eremophila viscida, (Endangered), Frankenia conferta (Endangered), 

Tecticornia bulbosa (Vulnerable) and Eucalyptus synandra (Vulnerable). 

None of these taxa was recorded during the current survey. 

Blue Hills 

One species of nationally threatened flora is known from the vicinity of the Blue Hills project 

area (Table D.2, Appendix D); Eremophila viscida (Endangered) (Dept of the Environment, 

Water Resources and the Arts, 2008).  However, Eucalyptus synandra has been collected 

from John Forrest Lookout and along the Emu Fence track on Karara Station (FloraBase, 

2008); however it does not appear within the 30 km search boundaries (but does when the 

buffer is increased to 60 km). 

These taxa were not recorded during the survey. 

Midwest Corporation Limited 

Koolanooka (M70/1012) and Blue Hills (M59/596) 

Hydrological Drilling Programme 

Targeted Rare and Priority Flora Survey 




4.1.2  Wildlife Conservation Act 1950 

In Western Australia conservation significance is determined under the Wildlife Conservation 

Act 1950 and under this Act flora taxa of conservation significance are protected.  Declared 

Rare Flora (DRF) is currently protected under the Western Australian Wildlife Conservation 

(Rare Flora) Notice 2008 of the above Act.  This notice lists flora taxa that are extant and 

considered likely to become extinct or rare.  They are defined as “taxa which have been 

adequately searched for and deemed to be either rare, in danger of extinction, or otherwise in 

need of special protection in the wild”.  These taxa are legally protected and removal or 

impact to their surroundings cannot be conducted without ministerial approval obtained 

specifically on each occasion for each population (for definitions of categories, see Appendix 


Under the Wildlife Conservation Act 1950, the Minister for the Environment may declare 

species of protected flora to be DRF if they are considered to be in danger of extinction, rare 

or otherwise in need of special protection. 


Currently 143 DRF are known to occur in the Avon Wheatbelt Bioregion.  Five DRF species 

are known from the vicinity of the Koolanooka project area; 

Eremophila nivea

,  Eremophila 

rostrata subsp. trifida,  Eremophila viscida,  Eucalyptus synandra and  Tecticornia  bulbosa 

(syn. Halosarcia bulbosa). 

No DRF taxa protected by this Act were recorded during the survey. 

Blue Hills 

Currently, 11 DRF taxa are known to occur in the Yalgoo bioregion, and two DRF taxa, 

Eucalyptus synandra and Acacia woodmaniorum,have previously been recorded in the 

vicinity of Blue Hills (Western Australian Herbarium, 2008). 

Eucalyptus synandra (Rare) has been collected along Emu Fence Road on Karara Station and 

at John Forrest Lookout. 

Acacia woodmaniorum (Rare) has been collected by ecologia during previous surveys at 

Blue Hills.  DEC also recorded collections at Blue Hills from their 2005 Tallering Peak 

surveys (collected as Acacia sp. Blue Hill Range (R.J. Cranfield 8582)). 

No DRF taxa protected by this Act were recorded during the current survey. 

4.1.3 Priority 


conservation significant flora taxa 

In addition to the Declared Rare Flora taxa, the Department of Environment and 

Conservation (DEC) maintains a list of Priority Flora taxa, which may be rare or threatened 

but for which there are insufficient survey data to accurately determine their status, or are 

regarded as rare but not currently threatened.  A priority flora taxon is assigned to one of four 

priority categories – P1 to P4 in order of rarity and level of threat (Atkins, 2008, and defined 

Midwest Corporation Limited 

Koolanooka (M70/1012) and Blue Hills (M59/596) 

Hydrological Drilling Programme 

Targeted Rare and Priority Flora Survey 




in Appendix C).  Five hundred thirty three Priority taxa are currently listed as occurring in 

the Avon Wheatbelt Bioregion and 89 in the Yalgoo Bioregion (FloraBase, 2008). 

4.1.4   Conservation significant flora recorded previously within the 

survey area or in adjacent areas 


Six hundred and seventy seven Declared Rare and Priority Flora taxa are known to occur in 

the Avon Wheatbelt Bioregion (Western Australian Herbarium, 2008) and a combination of 

33 DRF and Priority Flora have been recorded in the vicinity of Koolanooka.  Two DRF taxa 

and four Priority flora taxa were recorded during a survey of Koolanooka Hills and of the 

road and rail areas within the Midwest mining leases (ATA, 2004a): Eremophila viscida and 

Tecticornia bulbosa [syn. Halosarcia bulbosa] (DRF), and Baeckea sp. Three Springs (M.E. 

Trudgen 5368) (P2), Frankenia glomerata (P3), Grevillea stenostachya (P3) and Persoonia 

pentasticha (P3).  Acacia acanthoclada subsp. glaucescens (P3 at time of survey) was 

recorded during earlier surveys in the area, but it is no longer listed.  This previous survey 

encompassed a much larger area including the plains to which Eremophila viscida and 

Halosarcia bulbosa (DRF) are restricted. 

The following seven Priority Flora were recorded during the DEC’s survey of Koolanooka 

and Perenjori Hills; Melaleuca barlowii (P1), Millotia dimorpha (P1), Rhodanthe collina 

(P1),  Baeckea sp. Perenjori (J.W. Green 1516) (P2), Stenanthemum poicilum (P2), 

Gunniopsis rubra (P3) and Persoonia pentasticha (P3).  Acacia acanthoclada subsp. 

glaucescens  (P3 at time of survey) was also found during DEC’s survey (Meissner and 

Caruso, 2006).  Table D.1 (Appendix D) lists previously recorded conservation significant 

flora . 

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