Shrublands and woodlands on perth to gingin ironstone recovery plan



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2.RECOVERY OBJECTIVE AND CRITERIA




2.1 Objective

To maintain or improve the overall condition of the wetlands and the associated plant community in the known locations and reduce the level of threat, with the aim of reclassifying it from Critically Endangered to Endangered.



2.2 Criteria for success





  • An increase in the number of occurrences held within the conservation estate and being managed for conservation.




  • Maintenance in terms of diversity and basic composition of native plant taxa (as described in Department of Environmental Protection 1996; Ecoscape Pty Ltd 2004) taking account of natural change in the community over time. This will be measured as a loss of no more than 10% of the native plant taxa in any occurrence over the life of the plan.




  • Improvement in the condition of the habitat, in terms of reduction of numbers of exotic species. This will be measured as a reduction of 10% or more in the cover of exotic plant taxa in any occurrence.




  • Groundwater levels and quality maintained within the parameters expected as a consequence of natural change, by comparison with monitoring results for the Gnangara Mound in areas remote from development.



2.3 Criteria for failure:





  • A decrease of 10% or more in the area covered by the community, and/or decline in the area and/or number of occurrences of this community under conservation management.




  • A decline in terms of diversity and basic composition of native plant taxa (as described in as described in Department of Environmental Protection 1996; Ecoscape Pty Ltd 2004) taking account of natural change of the community over time. This will be measured as a loss of more than 10% of the native plant taxa in any one occurrence over the life of the plan.




  • Decline in the condition of the habitat, in terms of increase in numbers of exotic species. This will be measured as an increase in the cover of exotic plant taxa of more than 10% in any occurrence of the community.




  • Groundwater levels and quality not maintained within the parameters expected as a consequence of natural change, by comparison with monitoring results for the Gnangara Mound in areas remote from development.



3.

4.RECOVERY ACTIONS

Note: The responsible authority is frequently listed as the relevant DEC District (Swan Coastal District). This refers largely to initiating and guiding actions. However, in general the relevant DEC District, the Species and Communities Branch (SCB) and the Recovery Team share the primary responsibility for securing resources for recovery actions.


Future Actions

3.1 Coordinate recovery actions

The Swan Region Threatened Flora and Communities Recovery Team (SRTFCRT) encompasses all threatened ecological communities and threatened species in DEC's Swan Region. The recovery team will continue to coordinate recovery actions for the Perth to Gingin Ironstone community in Swan Region. They will include information on progress in their annual reports to DEC’s Corporate Executive and funding bodies.


Responsibility: Swan Region Threatened Flora and Communities Recovery Team

Cost: $1,000 pa

Completion date: Ongoing

3.2 Monitor boundaries and condition of occurrences

The extent of the three known occurrences have been mapped and boundaries determined. The boundary of occurrences will be monitored every two years and changes identified to determine if the ‘criteria for success/failure’ have been met.


Responsibility: DEC (SCB, Swan Coastal District) through the Recovery Team

Cost: $1,000 every second year

Completion date: Ongoing

3.3 Map habitat critical to survival

Although habitat critical to survival is described in Section 1, the areas as described have not yet been mapped and that will be done under this action. If any additional occurrences are located, then this habitat will also be determined and mapped for these locations.


Responsibility: DEC (Swan Coastal District; SCB) through the Recovery Team

Cost: $1000

Completion date: Year 1

3.4 Seek to exclude stock from occurrences


Occurrences 1 and 2 have been entirely fenced and stock are now excluded from these areas. Negotiations are continuing with the private land holder to fence the southern occurrence (Occurrence 3) and remove grazing pressure from this area. Monitoring and maintenance of the existing fencing will be ongoing.


Responsibility: DEC (Swan Coastal District) in liaison with adjacent landowner, through the Recovery Team

Cost: $8,000 for fencing of Occurrence 3

Completion date: Fencing Occurrence 3 – Year 1; other issues ongoing

3.5 Liaise with relevant land managers and other groups

Where occurrences of the community are privately owned or managed by authorities other than DEC, the involvement of these land managers in the recovery of the community wherever possible and practical is therefore essential to the recovery process. Input and involvement will also be sought from any Indigenous groups that have an active interest in areas of the Perth to Gingin Ironstone community.


DEC staff will provide information to the landholder who manages Occurrences 2 and 3, with regard to accessing incentives for protection. This will include information about the Land for Wildlife scheme and other funding sources, to help ensure long term protection of the community.
Responsibility: DEC (Swan Coastal District; SCB)

Cost: Total costs of all liaison $500 pa

Completion date: Ongoing

3.6 Develop a Fire Management Strategy




3.6.1 Develop and implement fire management and response plans as follows (3.6.1-3.6.3):

Currently, a draft fire response plan is being implemented, however, the full response plan will be completed by the end of 2005.


Prescribed burning within occurrences will not be carried out until the results of the fire response research is complete (L. Sage, personal communication). Therefore the TEC will be listed as a ‘no plan burn’ area in the interim. Liaison with the landholder and the Shire of Gingin will be maintained relating to prescribed burning.
DEC is responsible for fire management on land managed by DEC outside the Metropolitan Gazetted Fire District, while Fire and Emergency Services Authority (FESA) and the Local Authority (Shire of Gingin) is responsible on non-DEC-land. A DEC District ‘Fire Emergency Availability’ officer will be present at wildfires that may potentially threaten the TEC, with additional staff and/or crews dispatched as required.
Use of heavy machinery to create new fire breaks within the community will be avoided as additional disturbance would encourage further weed invasion, and fire retardant chemicals that may be toxic to the community will not be used. DEC District staff and local volunteer brigades will be provided with the fire response plan for the TEC so that the importance of not constructing new tracks during wildfires is recognised.
Responsibility: DEC (Swan Coastal District); liaison with local Bush Fire Brigades (and Fire and Emergency Services if necessary) through the Recovery Team

Cost: $900 for preparation of plan; additional funds for DEC District staff to attend fires in the community $1000 pa

Completion date: Ongoing

3.6.2 Ensure maintenance of strategic firebreaks

Maintenance of existing firebreaks is appropriate where firebreaks are already constructed, unless maintenance is likely to cause further degradation of the community. Local DEC staff will ideally be involved in planning the construction and maintenance of firebreaks for all occurrences of the community.


No new firebreaks should be constructed or existing breaks upgraded around occurrences of this community on DEC-managed lands unless they are provided for in the fire response plan and approved by the Recovery Team.
Responsibility: DEC (Swan Coastal District) through the Recovery Team

Cost: Firebreak maintenance $1000 pa; through the Recovery Team

Completion date: Ongoing

3.6.3 Determine the community’s response to wildfire

Research into recovery of the community from fire is being undertaken following the fire in January 2003. The findings will be used to determine future fire management for the community. As the fire in January 2003 burnt all occurrences, the fuel age of all the occurrences is the same. As little is known of the response of the community to fire, no planned burn will be implemented for the life of this IRP, unless results of future studies suggest fire is required to enhance regeneration.


Responsibility: DEC (Swan Coastal District) through the Recovery Team

Cost: Additional funds for DEC District staff for research and monitoring $2,500 pa

Completion date: Year 1 and 2

3.7 Ensure hygiene conditions

This plant community is believed not to be susceptible to dieback caused by Phytophthora cinnamomi as there are very few dieback indicator species within the community. In 2004, the community was recorded as ‘uninterpretable’ in a dieback assessment. However, even if it is likely to be affected the occurrences should be treated as uninfested. Good hygiene procedures can reduce the risk of introduction of disease and limit the impact of the disease if introduced. This will involve wash-down of any equipment used adjacent to the community, and restricting access by vehicles and machinery to dry soil conditions.


No vehicle access will be allowed onto bushland areas within Occurrence 1.
Responsibility: DEC (Swan Coastal District); all personnel operating machinery on site, including during fire control operations

Cost: To be underwritten by user of machinery; costs of liaison included in 3.5

Completion date: Ongoing

3.8 Implement program for monitoring flora

Ten monitoring transects were established in Timaru Nature Reserve (Occurrence 1) following the January 2003 fire (L. Sage, personal communication). Each transect consists of a 10m point intercept transect that measures diversity and cover of all species, including weed taxa. These transects have been sampled for the last 2 years in spring and will continue to be monitored bi-annually.


In addition to the transects, two floristic plots occur in Occurrence 1 (DEP 1996) and all native and weeds species have been recorded. There is a need for a floristic survey of the two private property occurrences. Pending landholder permission, plots will be established in Occurrences 2 and 3. These will be monitored every fifth year, or following any major disturbance, such as fire.
The floristic list from Occurrence 1 is relatively detailed and is from plot data (DEP 1996), a floristic survey (Ecoscape 2004) and the post fire transects (L. Sage, personal communication) (see Appendix 1).

Data will be entered on a database program such as that used by Gibson et al. (1994) and unknown plant species will be collected, identified and lodged with the WA Herbarium.


Responsibility: DEC (Swan Coastal District; SCB)

Cost: $3000 annually for point intercept transects; $2000 to establish additional permanent plots in Occurrences 2 and 3 in Year 1

Completion date: Ongoing

3.9 Monitor weed populations

In 2003, DEC commissioned Ecoscape Pty Ltd to conduct a survey of weeds within the Timaru Nature Reserve (Occurrence 1). Post-wildfire monitoring transects established by DEC District staff in Occurrence 1 complemented this work. As a consequence a comprehensive list of weeds species, cover values and their distribution within the reserve was obtained. This has helped to determine weeds that pose the greatest threat in Occurrence 1. The weeds that are highest priority for control in this community include Romulea rosea, Sparaxis bulbifera, Lupinus cosentinii and Zantedeschia aethiopica.


Weed control has been undertaken in the heavily infested areas of the reserve. Weed levels will be monitored in conjunction with flora monitoring and weed control (refer Action 3.8 and 3.10). Mapping of the boundaries of weed species that are high priority for control will be undertaken.
As part of the weed monitoring program, weed control trials will being undertaken by Swan Coastal District with assistance from staff from DEC’s Urban Nature program. Trials will also include research into seed rain from adjacent pasture land.
Responsibility: DEC (Swan Coastal District) through the Recovery Team

Cost: $2000 every second year for mapping of high priority weeds

Completion date: Ongoing

3.10 Implement weed control, and replanting where necessary

The first stage in protecting Occurrences 1 and 2 was the erection of the fencing in 2004 to prevent stock entering the sites. In addition, a 2m high shadecloth fence was erected along the western boundary of Occurrence 1. This will help to slow the spread of weed seed fall on the prevailing winds from the west-southwest in the adjoining paddocks.


The next stage of rehabilitation will involve control of perennial weeds and their replacement with local species, where appropriate. Initial weed control was undertaken in the south west corner of the reserve, where a high density of weeds occurs. The highest priority will be controlling weeds that pose the greatest threat to the community in the early stages of invasion where possible, eg, invasive perennial grasses and Watsonia. Rehabilitation through reintroduction of local native species may be necessary if areas are no longer capable of regenerating following weed control.


    Seed has been collected from the main overstorey species within Occurrence 1 and is being grown as tubestock (L. Sage, personal communication). The seed was collected from within the reserve and only seed from the same occurrence will be used for rehabilitation. No seed from other areas will be introduced into occurrences.


Responsibility: DEC (Swan Coastal District) through the Recovery Team

Cost: $2,000 pa for weed control; costs of replanting and rehabilitation to be determined

Completion date: Ongoing

3.11 Monitor water levels and water quality

There is little information available about the local hydrology and interactions with regional groundwater for this winter inundated, freshwater dependent community. Regional groundwater levels and water quality are routinely monitored by the Department of Environment (DoE), and in specific areas by the Department of Agriculture and local Landcare District Committees (LCDCs). There is some opportunity for local hydrological studies to be undertaken and data for areas close to the ironstone community will be assessed as they may indicate that remedial measures are required.


Responsibility: DEC (Swan Coastal District); in liaison with the Department of Agriculture, DoE and LCDCs, through the Recovery Team

Cost: $1,000 pa

Completion date: Ongoing

3.12 Design and conduct research

Research will be designed to increase the understanding of the biological and ecological characteristics of the community to assist future management decisions. Such research will ideally include:




  1. The impact of weeds on the community

  2. The role of disturbance such as fire and grazing in regeneration or maintenance of the community.

  3. Investigation of significant biological processes in the community, eg, pollination biology, germination requirements, longevity and time taken to reach maturity of important plant taxa in the community.

  4. Monitoring of water depth, timing and depth of inundation, and water quality in ironstone occurrences.

  5. Research on hydrogeology of the community.

  6. Seed rain experiment to determine the impact of wind blown weed seeds


Responsibility: DEC (Science Division; Swan Coastal District; SCB, Urban Nature) through the Recovery Team

Cost: $10,000 pa to initiate research

Completion date: To be determined

3.13 Report on success of management strategies

Reporting on the success of management strategies will be part of annual reports prepared by the Recovery Team for DEC’s Corporate Executive. A more detailed analysis of results as measured against the success criteria will be undertaken at the completion of the five years of implementation of this plan.


Responsibility: DEC (Swan Coastal District; SCB)

Cost: $1,000 in Year 1-4, $5,000 in Year 5

Completion date: Year 5


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