SEDGELANDS IN HOLOCENE
DUNE SWALES RECOVERY PLAN September 2011
Department of Environment and Conservation
Species and Communities Branch
Locked Bag 104, Bentley Delivery Centre, WA, 6983
FOREWORD Interim Recovery Plans (IRPs) are developed within the framework laid down in Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC) Policy Statements Nos 44 and 50.
IRPs outline the recovery actions that are required to urgently address those threatening processes most affecting the ongoing survival of threatened taxa or ecological communities, and begin the recovery process.
DEC is committed to ensuring that critically endangered ecological communities are conserved through the preparation and implementation of Recovery Plans or Interim Recovery Plans and by ensuring that conservation action commences as soon as possible and always within one year of endorsement of that rank by DEC’s Director of Nature Conservation.
This Interim Recovery Plan will operate from September 2011 but will remain in force until withdrawn or replaced. It is intended that, if the community is still listed as critically endangered after five years, the need for an updated plan will be evaluated. The provision of funds identified in this Interim Recovery Plan is dependent on budgetary and other constraints affecting DEC, as well as the need to address other priorities.
Information in this IRP was accurate at September 2011.
This interim recovery plan replaces plan number 110 Sedgelands in Holocene dune swales 2002-2007 by V. English, J. Blyth, N. Gibson, D. Pember, J. Davis, J. Tucker, P. Jennings and B. Walker.
This interim recovery plan was prepared by Gemma Grigg and Valerie English.
Cover photograph by Valerie English.
The following people provided valuable advice, data and assistance in the preparation of this interim recovery plan:
Swan Coastal District DEC
Community member of recovery plan implementation group
CITATION This Interim Recovery Plan should be cited as:
Department of Environment and Conservation (2011). Interim Recovery Plan 2011-2016 for Sedgelands in Holocene dune swales. Interim Recovery Plan No. 314. Department of Environment and Conservation, Perth.
Name: Sedgelands in Holocene dune swales (generally referred to in this plan as ‘the sedgeland community’).
Description: The community occurs in linear damplands and occasionally sumplands, between Holocene dunes. Typical and common native species are the shrubs Acacia rostellifera, Acacia saligna, Xanthorrhoea preissii, the sedges Baumea juncea, Ficinia nodosa, Lepidosperma gladiatum, and the grass Poa porphyroclados. Several exotic weeds are found in this community but generally at low cover values. DEC Regions: Swan, South West
DEC Districts: Swan Coastal, Wellington
Shires: City of Rockingham, City of Wanneroo, Shire of Capel
Current status: Community assessed June 1996 as Critically Endangered. Also listed as Endangered under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act).
The Becher Point wetlands are also nominated as a Wetland of International Importance under the Ramsar Treaty, an important suite of wetlands in ‘A Directory of Important Wetlands in Australia’, and are on the Register of the National Estate.
Habitat requirements: Water regime is the primary abiotic determinant influencing characteristics of wetland plant communities. Depth, timing and duration of flooding and length of the dry period all affect vegetation composition and distribution (Froend et al. 2004). The sedgelands in the damplands and sumplands of the Holocene dune swales have relatively specific water regime requirements to maintain current biology, but are tolerant of seasonal and longer-term variations that reflect natural climatic patterns.
The typical wetland in which this community type occurs is a dampland that becomes water logged in winter, and retains relatively high moisture near the surface of the soil profile in summer. The plant community occasionally occurs in sumplands, which have shallow surface water - generally less than 20cm for up to 2 months of the year.
The soils of these wetlands are sands or sandy-loams with a pH of about 8.0. The soils are more saline close to the coast, and this reflects inputs from salt spray. Nutrient levels are similar to those reported for other Quindalup sands.
Important occurrences: Occurrences that provide for a representative cross section of each geomorphic age sequence of this community and that can be managed for conservation and/or with conservation included in their purpose are considered critical to the survival of this community.
Affected interests: Occurrences of the sedgelands community are located on land managed by DEC, City of Rockingham, WA Beach and Golf Resort Pty Ltd, LandCorp and private land holders. Land owners and managers of all occurrences may be affected by actions in this plan, in particular land not managed by DEC at IP14, Lark Hill, on the western side of Golden Bay, and adjacent to Bakewell Drive in Port Kennedy.
Indigenous interests: The South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council (SWALSC), an umbrella group, covers the areas considered in this plan. Comment was sought from the Council about any aspects of the plan, but particularly about the proposed on-ground actions. Table 4 identifies areas of the ecological community that contain sites that are known to have particular aboriginal significance. No general significance to indigenous people has been identified for the ecological community. Action 2 identifies the intention to continue liaison with relevant groups, including indigenous groups.
Social and economic impacts and benefits: Pedestrian access by means of formal walk trails has potential to allow the aesthetic values of the sedgelands to be appreciated without degrading the community, and this provides a social benefit. Where specific active recreational pursuits such as four wheel driving are prevented through access control, this may be perceived as a social impact, however such access control also helps to prevent the continued degradation of the sedgelands and maintain other social benefits.
Two major areas that contain the community have been subject environmental impact assessment. Other occurrences may be threatened by proposals to clear for housing or from hydrological change following clearing and development of adjacent land. Implementation of actions such as seeking to protect the hydrological processes in the adjacent sedgeland community may result in an impact on development.
Wetlands such as this sedgeland community provide various ecosystem services such as absorption of nutrients and other chemicals from polluted surface and groundwater. These services would have an economic value but are lost when wetlands are cleared and filled.
Related biodiversity impacts and benefits: Recovery actions implemented to improve the quality or security of the community are likely to improve the status of any species within the community. Occurrences at Lake Richmond are in very close proximity to another State and EPBC-listed threatened ecological community; the ‘Stromatolite like microbialite community of coastal freshwater lakes (Lake Richmond)’. If actions implemented improve the quality of the Lake Richmond sedgelands occurrences it is likely the microbialite community will benefit - particularly if recreational impacts and fire frequency are decreased and groundwater quality is maintained or improved.
Term of plan:
The plan will operate from 2011 to 2016 but will remain in force until withdrawn or replaced. It is intended that, if the ecological community is still ranked Critically Endangered in Western Australia after five years, the need for further recovery actions and the need for an updated recovery plan will be evaluated by the recovery plan implementation group.
In accordance with the provisions of the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act1999 (EPBC Act) this recovery plan will remain in force until revoked.
The recovery plan must be reviewed at intervals of not longer than 5 years.
IRP objective(s): To maintain or improve the overall condition of the sedgelands in Holocene dune swales community and reduce the level of threat.
Criteria for success:
an increase of one or more in the number of occurrences of this community managed for conservation and/or with conservation included in their purpose, and that leads to an increase in the completeness of a geomorphic age sequence,
representative areas of each geomorphic age sequence maintained in the same or improved condition (Bush Forever 2000 scales), and
90% or more of the aerial extent of occurrences maintained at the same condition rank, or improved (Bush Forever 2000 scales)
Criterion for failure:
Loss of all representatives of a geomorphic age group that contains the sedgelands in Holocene dune swales community or decline in condition of all members of that age group to degraded condition or poorer.
Define the community in greater detail
Continue vegetation monitoring program
Continue to liaise with relevant groups to implement this IRP