National Recovery Plan for Eastern Bristlebird Dasyornis brachypterus

Table 5: Summary of Approximate Costs for Recovery Actions

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VH = very high, H = high, M = medium, L = low
Table 5: Summary of Approximate Costs for Recovery Actions
Some of these actions are already underway (or planned) in existing management plans and programs (as listed in Appendix 1). Integration of this plan with existing programs will result in the most efficient and effective use of resources for the conservation of Eastern Bristlebirds.
Management Practices

Management practices necessary to avoid significant impacts on Eastern Bristlebirds include:

  • compliance with existing protection under the EPBC, TSC, NC and FFG Acts;

  • site-appropriate fire and grazing management for known locations, potential habitat and adjoining land;

  • compliance with existing clearing and development restrictions and regulations;

  • conservation management of all relevant National Parks, Nature Reserves and other protected areas;

  • private land conservation schemes;

  • retention of suitable habitat and minimisation of fragmentation;

  • continuation of feral predator programs;

  • captive breeding, in accordance with the protocols and policies developed; and

  • community engagement and education activities.

Actions that result in any of the following within habitat critical for survival may result in a significant impact on the Eastern Bristlebird:

  • loss or intensified use of habitat, such as clearing for urban development and inappropriate burning regimes;

  • construction of new roads or substantial upgrades to existing roads;

  • medium to long-term removal of substantial areas of grassy undergrowth;

  • habitat disturbance from overgrazing by livestock, feral pigs, weeds or dieback;

  • unauthorised, non-scientific use of bristlebird call playback at occupied territories; and

  • unlawful taking of an Eastern Bristlebird or any bristlebird product (e.g. eggs, nests etc).

Affected interests

This plan aims to promote a co-operative approach to the protection and management of the Eastern Bristlebird and its habitat involving governments, the community, landholders and Indigenous peoples, in accordance with the EPBC Act.

A range of community stakeholders including private landholders, public authorities and organisations may be affected by actions to recover the Eastern Bristlebird. This plan aims to provide guidance to the community members, agencies and public authorities listed below for the management of Eastern Bristlebirds within their borders.
Australian Government

Department of Defence (Royal Australian Navy: Beecroft Weapons Range, Jervis Bay Range Facility and HMAS Creswell)

Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (Booderee NP)
Qld Government

Department of Environment and Heritage Protection

Department of National Parks, Recreation, Sport and Racing

Qld Fire and Rescue Service

NSW Government

Office of Environment and Heritage, Department of Premier and Cabinet (including National Parks and Wildlife Service)

Sydney Catchment Authority
Vic Government

Parks Victoria

Department of Sustainability and Environment
Queensland NRM bodies and NSW and Victorian CMAs

SEQ Catchments

Condamine Alliance

Northern Rivers CMA

Southern Rivers CMA

Hawksbury–Nepean CMA

East Gippsland CMA
Aboriginal councils and other bodies

South East Queensland Traditional Owner Alliance

Githabul Nation

Muli Muli LALC

Gugin Gudduba LALC

Tweed Byron LALC

Nowra LALC

Illawarra LALC

Jerrinja Aboriginal Community (LALC)

Wreck Bay Aboriginal Community Council


Far South Coast Elders Council (Eden District)

Nindi-Ngudjam Ngarigu Monero Aboriginal Corporation

Bidawal Traditional Owners

East Gippsland LALC

Aboriginal Affairs Victoria

Local government

Sunshine Coast Regional Council

Scenic Rim Regional Council

Tweed Shire Council

Kyogle Council

Shoalhaven City Council

Wingecarribee Council

Kiama Municipal Council

Bega Valley Shire Council

East Gippsland Shire Council


Private landholders

Birds Queensland

Birdlife Australia (formerly Birds Australia)

Border Ranges Alliance

Burnett-Mary Regional Group

Northern Rivers and SEQ Fire and Biodiversity Consortiums

Hotspots Program

Rural Fire Service

Nature Conservation Council of NSW

Bush Care Groups

Birdwatching groups

Conservation groups

Research organisations

International Obligations

This plan will assist in the co-operative implementation of Australia's international environmental responsibilities, including for treaties such as the World Heritage Convention, and the National Strategy for the Conservation of Australia's Biological Diversity (DEST 1996).

The Eastern Bristlebird occurs in the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area (WHA), listed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to preserve its outstanding value to humanity. This area is also listed as an area of National Environmental Significance on the National Heritage List. The Gondwana Rainforests are of extremely high conservation value and provide habitat for more than 200 rare or threatened plant and animal species. The WHA comprises more than 50 individual reserves in north-eastern NSW and south-eastern Queensland, and the northern population of Eastern Bristlebird occurs in a number of these reserves, including Border Ranges National Park (NP), Lamington NP, Main Range NP and Mt Barney NP.
Eastern Bristlebirds occur in declared wilderness in the Border Ranges NP and Nadgee Nature Reserve (NR) (declared under the Wilderness Act 1987). Nadgee NR and the adjoining Croajingalong NP in Victoria form the Croajingalong Biosphere Reserve, dedicated in 1977 under the UNESCO Man and the Biosphere program (UNESCO 2005; DEWHA 2010a). Eastern Bristlebirds also occur on the Beecroft Peninsula, an area listed on the Commonwealth Heritage list. The Eastern Bristlebird occurs within the Scenic Rim, Budderoo and Barren Grounds and Nadgee to Mallacoota Inlet Important Bird Areas (IBAs), which are considered to be of global conservation significance for threatened birds (Dutson et al. 2009).
The Eastern Bristlebird is not listed on any relevant international agreements, i.e. JAMBA, CAMBA, CMS/Bonn Convention or CITES.
In 1993, Australia ratified the Convention on Biological Diversity. The aims of the Convention are the conservation of biological diversity, the sustainable use of its components, and the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising from the use of genetic resources. The main implementation measure for the Convention is national strategies, plans or programs, to be developed in accordance with each country's particular conditions and capabilities. This plan will outline recovery actions for the Eastern Bristlebird which are consistent with Australia's international environmental responsibilities.

Biodiversity Benefits

The implementation of actions within this recovery plan will contribute to the conservation of a diverse range of sympatric (co-existing) fauna and flora. In particular, this plan recommends improvement in the condition and extent of Eastern Bristlebird habitat and minimising threats including fire, fragmentation, feral predators and overgrazing. These actions may benefit the suite of significant species that occur in or near bristlebird habitat, although it should be noted that some species may have different habitat requirements in terms of fire frequency, e.g. New Holland Mouse (Pseudomys novaehollandiae) which is an early successional stage species.

Research and monitoring proposed for the Eastern Bristlebird may provide additional beneficial data on the distribution and habitat of some of these species (e.g. Striated Fieldwren (Amytornis striatus) and Ground Parrot (Pezoporus wallicus wallicus)). Conservation agreements with landholders will provide further biodiversity benefits on private land.
For the northern population, the sympatric open forest species that are poorly conserved or threatened are listed in Table 6. For the central and/or southern populations the sympatric heathland and riparian scrub species that are poorly conserved or threatened are listed in Table 7.

Common name

Scientific name

EPBC status

Species listed under the EPBC Act that live in or near northern population bristlebird habitat

Hastings River Mouse

Pseudomys oralis


Spotted-tailed Quoll

Dasyurus maculatus maculatus


Brush-tailed Rock-wallaby

Petrogale penicillata


Long-nosed Potoroo

Potorous tridactylus tridactylus



Phascolarctos cinereus

V (Qld, NSW & ACT pops)

Other significant species that will benefit from protection of Eastern Bristlebird habitat

Eastern Chestnut Mouse

Pseudomys gracilicaudatus

Yellow-bellied Glider

Petaurus australis

Grey Goshawk

Accipiter novaehollandiae

Red-browed Treecreeper

Climacteris erythrops

Saproscincus rosei

Ophioscincus truncatus

Other species listed under the EPBC Act that will also benefit through protection of important parts of their habitat include

Coxen’s Fig Parrot

Cyclopsitta diophthalma coxeni


Black-breasted Button Quail

Turnix melanogaster


Red Goshawk

Erythrotriorchis radiatus


Table 6: Other important species which will benefit from the conservation of Eastern Bristlebirds in the northern population

(EPBC status: E=Endangered; V=Vulnerable)

Common name

Scientific name

EPBC status

Species listed under the EPBC Act that live in or near southern or central population bristlebird habitat

Jervis Bay Leek Orchid

Prasophyllum affine


Giant Burrowing Frog

Heleioporus australiacus


New Holland Mouse

Pseudomys novaehollandiae


Leafless Tongue-orchid

Cryptostylis hunteriana


Other significant species that will benefit from protection of Eastern Bristlebird habitat

Ground Parrot

Pezoporus wallicus

Striated Fieldwren

Calamanthus fuliginosus

Beautiful Firetail

Stagonopleura bella

White-footed Dunnart

Sminthopsis leucopus

Eastern Chestnut Mouse

Pseudomys gracilicaudatus

Eastern Pygmy Possum

Cercartetus nanus

Swamp Skink

Lissolepis coventryi

Martin’s Toadlet

Uperoleia martinii

Tyler's Toadlet

Uperoleia tyleri

Glossy Grass Skink

Leiolopisma rawlinsoni

She-oak Skink

Cyclodomorphus casuarinae

Diamond Python

Morelia spilota spilota

Tartan Tongue-orchid

Cryptostylis erecta

Table 7: Other important species which will benefit from the conservation of Eastern Bristlebirds in the southern or central populations

(EPBC status: E=Endangered; V=Vulnerable)

More broadly, increased public awareness of the recovery program for the Eastern Bristlebird, and providing people with the opportunity to participate in its recovery, will raise the profile of threatened species generally. This in turn will lead to greater opportunities for the conservation of threatened species and increased protection of general biodiversity.

Indigenous Interests

The connection between Aboriginal communities and the Eastern Bristlebird is likely to vary in significance throughout the range of the species. Recovery of the Eastern Bristlebird will be enhanced by the knowledge and experience of Aboriginal elders and communities, especially those with cultural responsibilities or kinship obligations to protect the species. Aboriginal people’s involvement in threatened species recovery enables them to fulfil cultural obligations to care for Country, maintain cultural traditions and practices and contributes to the wellbeing of their community (English and Baker 2003).

Eastern Bristlebird populations and their habitat occur across areas of cultural significance to numerous indigenous groups. The landscape, and the plants, animals and physical features within the landscape, are all an integral part of Aboriginal cultural heritage. The small areas occupied by the Eastern Bristlebird are part of a larger landscape which is recognised for its significance and connectivity to people and places beyond the scope of this recovery plan.
The advice of the Indigenous Engagement Unit (DERM), Cultural Heritage Unit (OEH NSW) and a traditional owner in Cann River, Victoria was sought regarding a strategy for engaging indigenous groups and individuals. While Aboriginal people may not wish to be consulted on every listed species, population or ecological community, involving Aboriginal people in the earliest stages of preparation of recovery plans allows them to determine which recovery plans they want to be involved in (English and Baker 2003).
The involvement of traditional owners was initially sought through information brochures and questionnaires (one for each of the three regions where Eastern Bristlebirds occur). The brochures invited comment regarding cultural responsibilities, kinship obligations or other knowledge of Eastern Bristlebirds. OEH staff offered to attend meetings, make presentations, provide more information and/or organise field visits for community members to observe the birds in the wild.
The Draft Recovery Plan was also distributed to Aboriginal groups and comment invited. The National Recovery Team has provided input to this plan on known interests or existing relationships with Aboriginal groups or individuals specifically relating to the species. In the past, comment has been sought from Local Aboriginal Land Councils (LALCs) and traditional owners on draft copies of previous state or population recovery plans for this species.
This Recovery Plan recognises that Indigenous peoples have a right to control their traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions, and the right to have them protected and recognised as intellectual property (United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as cited in Janke 2009). Any traditional knowledge incorporated in the recovery of the Eastern Bristlebird will be protected and managed appropriately.
Throughout the life of this plan, liaison with traditional owners, Aboriginal elders and their communities will continue and increase as partnerships become better established. Aboriginal people will continue to be encouraged to incorporate their knowledge and experience, and be involved in further consultation and implementation of recovery actions. Implementation of recovery actions under this plan will include the role and interests of relevant indigenous community groups, including the Wreck Bay Aboriginal Community Council.
Northern population:

Aboriginal groups have been engaged in planning, on ground resource management and education and cultural tourism projects in north-eastern NSW, as part of the Northern Rivers Regional BMP (DECCW 2010b) and the Border Ranges Rainforest BMP (DECCW 2010a). During these regional scale biodiversity planning projects, considerable time and resources were employed to build strong partnerships between government agencies, community groups and Aboriginal communities. Aboriginal communities and work crews have been involved in Eastern Bristlebird habitat management planning and rehabilitation.

In previous draft recovery plans, traditional owner involvement was sought through Aboriginal Land Management Facilitators from the SEQ Catchments Natural Resource Management regional body and Aboriginal Community Support Officers from Northern Rivers Catchment Management Authority (CMA).
Central population:

This bird and its family is of high cultural significance for the Dharawal and Dhurga Aboriginal people from southern Botany Bay down to Wreck Bay. The original habitats or “country” for this bird is of high significance for the local aboriginal families.
For the Dharawal and Dhurga the Eastern Bristlebird indicates extreme weather can be on its way, such as fire. We have always known the Eastern Bristlebirds make their nests in the old native sedge and lomandra gardens where our people once gathered seasonal plant seeds for food, such as bush rice from the lomandra species and other local grass seeds and also hard seed local fruits.

(R. Mason pers. comm.)

Jervis Bay has been a focus of human activity for at least 7,000 years and has an Aboriginal cultural heritage that is remarkable for its diversity; richness and significance to Aboriginal people (NPWS 2007; DEWHA 2010b). Occupation of the area by Aboriginal people in traditional and recent times and continuing use today for food gathering, educational and ceremonial activities has given the area high Aboriginal social value. Many of the traditional storylines linking different elements of the landscape are still recounted and spiritual ties to the land are maintained through stories, on-going use and the passing on of knowledge through the generations.
Through their cultural traditions, the South Coast (Yuin) Aboriginal people of the Dharawal-Dhurga language group and the Jerrinja community identify the Jervis Bay area as their Traditional Country. Booderee National Park and Booderee Botanic Gardens have been jointly managed by the Wreck Bay Aboriginal Community Council and the Australian Government since 1995 in accordance with the EPBC Act.
Southern population:

The Eastern Bristlebird was well known by Aboriginal people on the Far South Coast of NSW in the past. This bird was the skin of a local group. When European settlers moved into the area and cleared the land for farming, both the bird and the people disappeared from the area (G. Moore pers. comm. 2010).
Nadgee NR is highly culturally significant, with numerous stone arrangements, burials and middens (G Moore pers. comm. 2010). The abundance of artefacts and middens within the Croajingolong Biosphere Reserve (including Nadgee NR) indicates a history of occupation by fairly large populations of Indigenous communities, who were probably concentrated around the inlets, estuaries and wetlands (UNESCO 2005).
In Victoria, Aileen Blackburn (a traditional owner with the Nindi-Ngudjam Ngarigu Monero Aboriginal Corporation) liaised with East Gippsland LALC, Bidawal community, and the East Gippsland CMA. In far south NSW, Graham Moore and Paul House (OEH) liaised with the Eden Elders Council, Eden LALC, Bega Valley Shire Council Cultural Heritage Working Group (including Bega LALC and Merrimans LALC). Although there was considerable interest in the brochures among the Eden Elders, no feedback has been received to date.

Socio–Economic Impacts

Actions proposed in this plan may have certain economic and social impacts in the short-term. Any proposed or future works or developments that are likely to have a significant impact on the Eastern Bristlebird will need to be considered under the EPBC Act. See for further information on the referral and assessment process. This plan will help guide that consideration.

Possible conflicting interests in some catchments include: future developments, use of recreational vehicles, grazing, tourism and companion animals.
Site-specific management of Eastern Bristlebird populations is likely to cause a reduction in the frequency and extent of prescription burning in some areas with the potential social and economic benefits of reduced management costs and reduced smoke pollution leading to improved human health. The potential cost of reduced prescription burning may be an increased fire risk to peri-urban areas.
Cats have been identified as a potential threat to the Eastern Bristlebird (DEWHA 2008b) so there may be small social and economic costs associated with companion animal restrictions should local government authorities decide to implement such measures. This would particularly be the case in the Jervis Bay area where there is a significant interface between urban centres and the habitat of the Eastern Bristlebird.
The recovery plan could provide social benefits for the general public, by increasing awareness of the natural heritage values of coastal remnants that the Eastern Bristlebird is found in. Through increased awareness and education, local residents may become involved in programs to assist the recovery of the Eastern Bristlebird, including weed control and appropriate management of habitat on private lands. Proposed actions include maintaining and rehabilitating Eastern Bristlebird populations and habitat on private land and areas managed by Aboriginal communities. This will involve liaising with landholders and negotiating conservation agreements.
The economic consequences of this recovery plan relate to any implementation costs and possible development and primary production restrictions. Implementation costs may include captive breeding, habitat restoration, targeted survey, population and habitat monitoring, community liaison and research into the biology and ecology of the species. For northern local populations, there will be a cost associated with reducing grazing on private lands. Expense will also be incurred from liaison and negotiation with landholders and managers. It is anticipated that many of the recovery actions (especially monitoring) will involve community groups and may be funded by grants received by these groups.
Management costs for public land and reserves should be reflected in the plans of management. These are costs associated with on-park pest species management, fire management, and habitat management.

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