Sarah comer, sandra gilfillan, malcom grant, sarah barrett and lawrie anderson



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Esperance 1 

188

 

Department of Conservation and Land Management 

Esperance 1 (ESP1 - Fitzgerald subregion) 

 

SARAH COMER, SANDRA GILFILLAN, MALCOM GRANT, SARAH BARRETT AND LAWRIE ANDERSON 



SEPTEMBER 2001 

 

Subregional description and biodiversity 



values 

 

Description and area



 

 

The Esperance bioregion is characterised by myrtaceous 



and proteaceous scrub and mallee heaths on sandplain 

overlying Eocene sediments; rich in endemics. Herbfields 

and heaths (rich in endemics) on abrupt granite tors and 

quartzite ranges that rise from the plain. Eucalypt 

woodlands occur in gullies and alluvial foot-slopes. The 

ESP1 subregion has variable relief, comprising subdued 

relief on the sandplains of the coastal region, punctuated 

with metamorphosed granite and quartzite ranges both 

inland and on the coastal plain. It lies mainly on the 

Bremer Sedimentary Basin and the eastern and western 

sections of the ESP1 subregion within the Albany-Fraser 

Orogen of the Yilgarn Craton. It has extensive western 

plains over Eocene marine sediment basement with small 

areas of Gneiss outcropping. Archaean greenstones – sand 

sheets with varying levels of lateritisation with gravel soils 

also occurs. The region is dominated by duplex soils and 

deep and shallow sands on the plains and dissected areas 

and by shallow sandy soils on the mountain ranges.  

 

Vegetation types are diverse, often cryptic and 



significantly endemically localised in nature. Eucalypts 

dominate most systems in an unparalleled array of 

diversity. They very broadly include: coastal dune 

woodlands of Eucalyptus utilis and E. cornuta, coastal 

shrublands and heathlands dominated by Agonis flexuosa, 

Eucalyptus angulosa and E. notactites, mallee shrubland 

and heath (rich in endemics) dominated by Eucalyptus 



captiosa, E. decipiens subsp. chalara and subsp. adesmophloia, 

E. falcata, E. flocktoniae, E. lehmannii, E. 

phaenophylla, 

E. pleurocarpa, E. sporadica, E.

 

tetraptera, E. thamnoides and 



E. uncinata; mallet and moort woodlands on gravel rises, clay 

sheets and colluvial slopes and greenstone (rich in endemics) 



Eucalyptus astringens subsp. redacta,  E. cernua, E. clivicola, 

E.

 

megacornutaE. platypus subsp. platypus, and E. praetermissa 

are typical dominants of these woodlands; Yate and York 

Gum (in the Pallinup system) woodlands on alluvials, 

Jarrah/Marri woodlands in the west and Goldfields 

woodland and mallee systems mixing with south coast 

and wheatbelt taxa on Greenstone in the east with 

Eucalyptus annulata, E. brachycalyx, E. cernua, E. desmondensis, E. gardneri 

subsp. ravensthorpensis, E. occidentalis, E. oleosa subsp. corvina, and 



E. salmonophloia. 

 

More cryptic vegetation communities comprise herbfields 



and heaths (rich in endemics) on abrupt granite tors and 

quartzite ranges that rise from the plain and the 

greenstone heath and shrublands. The subregion has a 

Temperate Mediterranean climate with 600 – 800 mm 

annual rainfall. 

 

 



Dominant land use

 

 



Mainly (vii) grazing - improved pasture & (iv) cultivation 

- dry-land agriculture, with lesser areas of (xiii) 

conservation, (xi) UCL and Crown reserves, (xiv) roads 

and other easements, (v) forestry plantation (see 

Appendix B, key b). 

 

Continental Stress Class 



 

The Continental Stress Class of ESP1 is 3. 



 

The subregion should be a higher continental stress class 

than 3 (perhaps 2), as approximately half of it has been 

cleared of native vegetation. There are some large 

reserves and areas of Unoccupied Crown Land in North-

West and eastern end of the subregion, but agriculturally 

productive landscapes (and the vegetation types that 

previously grew there) are now almost completely 

cleared. 

 

Known special values in relation to landscape, 



ecosystem, species and genetic values

 

 



Near Shore Islands:  

• 

Bald Island: haul out sites for New Zealand Fur Seal 



(Arctocephalus forsteri) and Australian Sea-lions 

(Neophoca cinerea); One of two known island 

refuges for Quokkas, and the only one on the south 

coast (isolated for approx 10,000 years); Significant 

breeding island for Great-winged Petrels 

(Pterodroma macroptera); Successful translocation 

site for Noisy Scrub-bird (Atrichornis clamosus); 

Vegetation is distinctive with stands of long unburnt 

(more than 100) Callitris preissi plus type locality for 

Bald Island Marlock Eucalyptus conferruminata.  

• 

Doubtful Island: is a breeding site for both New 



Zealand Fur Seals and Australian Sea lions.  

• 

Middle Doubtful Island is one of only two islands in 



WA known to have population of Yellow-footed 

Antechinus  (Antechinus flavipes), the other is 

Michlemas.  

• 

Red Islet (part of Fitzgerald River National Park) 



breeding site for Australian Sea-lions and New 

Zealand Fur Seals. 

• 

Glasse Island: haul out and breeding site for 



Australian Sea-lions. 

• 

Cheyne Island: Nesting sites for Hooded Plovers 



(Charadrius rubricollis) and Little Penguins 

(Eudyptula minor) and recently acquired as a Nature 

Reserve. 

 

Rare Ecosystems:  

• 

Stirling Range Montane Thicket and Heath of the 



South West Botanical Province – DRF includes 

Dryandra montana,  Sphenotoma drummondii and 

Andersonia axilliflora, other priority taxa are 

Adenanthos filifolius,  Calothamnus crassus and 

Andersonia echinocephala.  

Esperance 1 

A Biodiversity Audit of Western Australia’s 53 Biogeographical Subregions in 2002 

189 

• 

Vegetation communities of the Ravensthorpe Range 





Eucalyptus argyphea low forest on magnesite on 

ridgetops and upper slopes. Species include Beyeria 



brevifolia

Eremophila latrobei

Lasiopetalum 

rosmarifolium,  Leucopogon carinatus,  Melaleuca 

striata and Scaevola densifoliea

• 

Thumb Peak/Mid Mount Barren Woolburup Hill 



Eucalyptus acies mallee heath - DRF includes 

Coopernookia georgeiDaviesia obovata and Grevillea 

infundibularis

• 

Montane Mallee Thicket Community, including 



Banksia brownii,  B. solandri,  Eucalyptus marginata 

and Kunzea montana.  

 

Vulnerable and Specially Protected Fauna:  

• 

Birds include the Noisy Scrub-bird (Atrichornis 



clamosus), Western Ground Parrot (Pezoporus 

wallicus), Western Bristlebird (Dasyornis 

longirostris), Western Whipbird (Psophodes 

nigrogularis), Malleefowl (Leipoa ocellata)

Carnaby’s Cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus latirostris), 

Little Bittern (Ixobrychus minutus), Australian 

Bustard (Botaurus poiciloptilus), Shy Heathwren 

(Hylacola cauta) and Rufous Fieldwren 

(Calamanthus campestris).  

• 

CWR mammals, such as the Dibbler (Parantechinus 



apicalis), Heath Rat (Pseudomys shortridgei), Red-

tailed Phascogale (Phascogale calura), Brush-tailed 

Phascogale (Phascogale tapoatafa), Southern Brown 

Bandicoot (Isoodon obesulus), Tammar Wallaby 

(Macropus eugenii derbianus), Western Brush 

Wallaby (Macropus irma), and Water Rat (Hydromys 



chrysogaster). Numbats (Myrmecobius fasciatus) have 

been released into Stirling Range National Park.  

• 

Reptiles such as Lerista viduata and Carpet Python 



(Morelia spilota).  

• 

Rare invertebrates Moggridgea sp. S and Rhytidid sp. 



Undescribed. 

 

Centres of Endemism: 

• 

Stirling Ranges Flora 



• 

Fitzgerald River National Park (Biosphere) 

• 

Ravensthorpe Range Flora (see Landform Junctions 



below) 

 

Refugia: 

• 

Mountain-top and gully communities of the Stirling 



Range (Threatened Montane Heath community, 

Allocasuarina decussata).  

• 

Gondwanan refugia in deeply incised south facing 



gullies contain relictual species ie. Moggridgea sp. S, 

unnamed Rhytidid). 

• 

Mt Manypeaks - Two Peoples Bay (crossing into JF2 



subregion) mountain tops as climatic refugia for 

Gondwanan relictual species including threatened 

birds.  

• 

Fitzgerald River National Park is a refuge for CWR 



mammals, proteaceous endemics from impacts of 

Phytophthora sp. 

• 

Bremer Bay-Pallinup area may provide relictual 



habitat for some species normally restricted to west 

of Albany and Two Peoples Bay area including: Stipa 



compressaEucalyptus calcicola subsp. unitaBanksia 

grandisBeaumea vaginalis and others.  

 

High Species or Ecosystem Diversity: 

• 

Plant assemblages of the Stirling Range National 



Park.  

• 

Proteaceous and Myrtaceous assemblages of the 



Fitzgerald River National Park - sandplain and 

Barren Ranges heath families (e.g. Proteaceae, 

Myrtaceae, Epacridaceae) 

• 

Manypeaks - Waychinicup National Park. Diversity 



of avifauna, including high number of threatened 

species. High floristic diversity, especially Proteaceae, 

Epacridaceae, Papillionaceae and Myrtaceae. 

• 

Cape Riche 



• 

Ravensthorpe Range exhibits very high Eucalypt 

diversity 

 

Geology: 

• 

The igneous granite systems of the Yilgarn Craton 



southern edge inland, and the coastal and sub-

coastal Albany – Fraser Orogen which includes 

Porongurup Range, 

• 

The igneous greenstone gneiss and mixed quartzite 



metamorphose complex of the Ravensthorpe Range, 

• 

The metamorphose sedimentary quartzite systems of 



the Stirlings and Barrens Group 

• 

The Eocene sedimentary plain, 



• 

Laterite archipelagos as breakaways and gravel rises, 

and 

• 

Quaternary Aeolian coastal limestone units. 



 

Drainage Systems: 

• 

The internal lake systems of the North Stirlings area 



• 

The long south eastern draining Pallinup and 

Corackerup system that brings the western wheatbelt 

flora to the Subregion,  

• 

Very short south-eastern draining creeks and rivers 



south from Lookout Point east to Groper Bluff. 

• 

Short southern draining rivers south of the 



Jarrahwood axis of the Bremer, Gairdner, Fitzgerald 

and Hamersley rivers, 

• 

The Phillips and Jerdacuttup systems that drain 



south off the Ravensthorpe Ramp over the 

Jerdacuttup Fault, 

• 

The Mallee Road sump internal drainage, 



• 

The Pabelup wetland swamp system 

 

Soil Systems: 

• 

Limestone sands 



• 

Duplex sand plains 

• 

Spongolite colluviums 



• 

Laterite gravel colluviums and rises 

• 

Alluvial flats and valleys 



• 

Clay plains and rises 

• 

Granite sands and loams 



• 

Quartzite sands 

• 

Wetland sands and loams 



 

Landform Junctions: 

Considerable diversity exists along borders where 

different land systems and soil types meet. This means 

that species and vegetation types that are common in 

other areas are found in unique combinations at landform 

junctions. For example: 

• 

East Mt Barren and Hopetoun marks the edge of 



the Esperance sandplain and contains a mix of 

sandplain and quartzite species. Indeed this is the 

edge of the two ESP subregions.  


Esperance 1 

190

 

Department of Conservation and Land Management 

• 

Ravensthorpe Range contains a mix of species that 



are common in the Wheatbelt and South Coast and 

also includes endemic species.  

• 

The Pallinup system provides a corridor where 



wheatbelt species such as York gum Eucalyptus 

loxophleba, jam Acacia acuminata, Swamp sheoak 

Casuarina obesa and flooded gum Eucalyptus rudis 

can exist on the South Coast. 

 

Existing subregional or bioregional plans 

and/or systematic reviews of biodiversity 

and threats

 

 

In 1974 the Conservation Through Reserves Committee 



(CTRC) made recommendations for reserves within the 

Eastern South Coast (System 3) and South Coast 

(System 2) in the CTRC Green Book (Conservation 

Through Reserves Committee 1974). Some but not all of 

these recommendations (with modification) were 

implemented over the following ten years. The ESP1 

subregion is covered by a CALM Regional Management 

Plan, that provides an overview of biota, addresses land 

and wildlife conservation issues, but was generalised in its 

attention to detail (Department of Conservation and 

Land Management 1992). The reviews and strategies 

therein (for reserve system development or management 

of weeds, fire, feral animals, mining, ecosystem 

rehabilitation & disease quarantine) do not address the 

specific needs of the subregion, or even the bioregion. 

Management plans exist for the Stirling Range National 

Park (Herford et al. 1999) and Fitzgerald River National 

Park (Moore et al. 1991), and is in preparation for the 

Ravensthorpe Range. Interim Management Guidelines 

are in place for other conservation reserves (Waychinicup 

(Department of Conservation and Land Management 

1994d), Corackerup, Peniup). The South Coast Macro 

Corridor Project identifies areas in ESP1 where improved 

landscape connectivity will benefit biodiversity 

conservation. 

 

Wetlands 



 

Wetlands of National significance (DIWA listings) 

 

Name Location 

Description

1

Condition

2

 Trend

3

 Reliability

4

 Threatening 

Processes

5

 

Balicup Lake 

System 

34

° 13’-34° 18’ S,  



117

° 46’-118° 00’ E  

20 km E of Cranbrook 

B8, B12 


iii 

vi 


ii 

xii (agricultural activity in part of 

catchment impacts on wetlands 

in the system), x, i, vi 

(agricultural weeds), ix 

Culham Inlet System 

33

° 54’ S,  



120

° 04’ E; 

6 km NW of Hopetoun 

 

B7, B1, 



B12 

ii 


iii 

iii 


ix, xi (eutrophication, siltation), x, 

i, xii (increased flow and 

frequency of flooding) 

Fitzgerald Inlet 

System 

33

° 49-34° S, 119°  



18’-119

° 40’ E;  

35 km NE of Bremer Bay 

A10, B8, 

B2, B12 

iii 


iii-iv 

iii 


ix (river inflows), xi 

(eutrophication), i, xii (increased 

flow and frequency of flooding) 

Yellilup Yate Swamp 

System 

34

° 18’-34° 23’ S 



118

° 51’-119° 09’ E 

22 km WNW of Bremer Bay 

B15, B7 


ii 


iii 

ix, x (inundation , eutrophication, 

siltation), i 

1

Appendix B, key d; 



2

Appendix C, rank 2; 

3

Appendix C, rank 3; 



4

Appendix C, rank 1; 

5

Appendix B, key e 



 

Wetlands of subregional significance (in addition to the DIWA listed wetlands) 

 

Name Location 

Description

1

Special 

Values

2

 

Condition

3

 Trend

4

 Reliability

5

 Threatening 

Processes

6

 

Blue Lagoon Suite 

34

° 27’ S  



119

° 13’ E  

Cheynes 

A11-A12 


ii, iii, v 

iv 


vi 

No known 



threatening 

processes 

Pabelup Suite 

34

° 06’ S  



119

° 24’ E 


Bremer 

B6, B7, B8, 

B14 

ii, iii, v 



iii-i 

iii-ii 


iii 

iv, ix, x, xii 

(eutrophication) 

Corimup Suite 

34

° 35’ S  



118

° 20’ E 


(& surrounds) 

Manypeaks 

B9, B10, 

B15 


ii, iii, v 

iii 


iii 

iii 


xii 

(eutrophication), 

vii 

Coyanarup Suite 



34

° 24’ S  

118

° 06’ E  



Borden  

B15 ii, 


iii  iv  iv ii 

vii 


Name Location 

Description

1

Special 

Values

2

 

Condition

3

 Trend

4

 Reliability

5

 Threatening 

Processes

6

 

Kojaneerup Suite 

34

° 21’- 30’ S 



118

° 16’- 29’ E 

Borden 

B8 ii, 


iii  iii iii ii 

ix 


Manypeaks Suite 

34

° 11’- 34° 49’ S  



118

° 04’- 119° 16’ E 

South Stirling 

B6, B8, 


B14 

ii, iii, iv 

iii-i 

iv-ii 


iii 

ii, iv, ix, x 

Marendiup Suite 

34

° 25’ S 



B9 

ii, iii 


iii 

iv 


vii, xi 


Esperance 1 

A Biodiversity Audit of Western Australia’s 53 Biogeographical Subregions in 2002 

191 

119


° 10’- 11’ E 

Bremer 


Mt Bland Lake  

34

° 11’ S 



119

° 29’ E 


Bremer 

B9 ii  iv iv 

iii 



(possibly 



affected by 

diminishing 

rainfall) 

Lake Chillinup 

34

° 33’ S  



118

° 04’ E  

South Stirlings 

B7/B8 


ii, iii, iv 

ii 


iii 

iii 


ix, x, i, iv, xii 

(access road has 

been re-aligned, 

may lead to 

runoff problems 

in lake) 

Pabelup Suite (not 

including Yellilup Yate 

swamp system 

wetlands) 

34

° 06’- 23’ S 



119

° 01’ E - 25’ 

Bremer 

B6, B7, B8, 



B14 

ii, iii 


iii-i 

iii-ii 


iii 

iv, ix, x, xii 

(eutrophication) 

Qualimup Suite 

34

° 25’ S 


118

° 59’ E 


Bremer 

A11 ii  iii-ii iii i 

Swan Lake Suite  



34

° 43’ S  

117

° 28’ E 


Manypeaks 

A11 


ii, iii, iv, v 

iii 


iii 

iii 


xii (part of 

sandmining 

reserve), viii, i, vii

 

1



Appendix B, key d; 

2

Appendix B, key c; 



3

Appendix C, rank 2; 

4

Appendix C, rank 3; 



5

Appendix C, rank 1; 

6

Appendix B, key e 



Riparian zone vegetation

In general, when rivers in ESP1 are inundated 

(particularly with summer rainfall), bank erosion, and 

uprooting/burial of native riparian vegetation occurs. 

Weed plant species then invade and overrun riparian 

areas. 


 

Name Condition

1

 Trend

2

 Reliability

3

 Threatening 

Processes

4

 

Fitzgerald River 

ii 

iv - iii 



ii 

ix, x, xii (agricultural drainage; bank erosion, destruction of native 

vegetation, altered flow regimes and weed invasion), i, ii, v, iii, vii, vii

Gairdner River 

i – ii 

ii - iii 



ii 

vi (Bridal Creeper, agricultural weeds), ix, x, xii (agricultural 

drainage; bank erosion, destruction of native vegetation, altered 

flow regimes and weed invasion) 

Bremer River 

i – ii 


ii 

ii 


vi (Bridal Creeper, agricultural weeds), ix, x, xii (agricultural 

drainage; bank erosion, destruction of native vegetation, altered 

flow regimes and weed invasion) 

Pallinup River 

i – ii 

ii 


ii 

vi (Bridal Creeper, agricultural weeds), ix, x, xii (agricultural 

drainage; bank erosion, destruction of native vegetation, altered 

flow regimes and weed invasion) 

Hamersley River 

iii 


iv 

ii 


xii (agricultural drainage; bank erosion, destruction of native 

vegetation, altered flow regimes and weed invasion), x 

Phillips River 

ii 


iii 

ii 


ix, x, xii (agricultural drainage; bank erosion, destruction of native 

vegetation, altered flow regimes and weed invasion), vi (boxthorn, 

Bridal Creeper) 

Waychinicup River 

iii 

iii - iv 



ii 

ix, x, xii (agricultural drainage; bank erosion, destruction of native 

vegetation, altered flow regimes and weed invasion), viii, vi (Bridal 

Creeper, Pine trees, agricultural weeds, Watsonia

1

Appendix C, rank 2; 



2

Appendix C, rank 3; 

3

Appendix C, rank 1; 



4

Appendix B, key e 



NOTE: Ranks for condition of riparian vegetation reflect variations in catchment land use activities e.g. for the Fitzgerald River much of the riparian vegetation is in good condition 

within conservation estate, while two major tributaries – the Sussetta and Twertup Rivers –are classed as degraded. Threatening processes refer to the latter listing. 

 

Ecosystems at Risk 



 

Threatened Ecological Communities (TECs) 

 

In general, plant communities comprising of susceptible 



plant species are threatened by dieback (Phytopthora 

cinnamomi) and can be considered as ecosystems at risk. 

These fungi eliminate numerous species of structurally 

and floristically dominant plant families such as the 

Proteaceae and Myrtaceae from ecosystems. 

 



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