Taxa which at a particular time if, at that time, it is facing an extremely high risk of
extinction in the wild in the immediate future, as determined in accordance with the
Taxa which is not critically endangered and it is facing a very high risk of extinction in the
wild in the immediate or near future, as determined in accordance with the prescribed
Taxa which is not critically endangered or endangered and is facing a high risk of extinction
in the wild in the medium-term future, as determined in accordance with the prescribed
Taxa which at a particular time if, at that time, the species is the focus of a specific
conservation program, the cessation of which would result in the species becoming
vulnerable, endangered or critically endangered within a period of 5 years.
The survey area is located in the Irwin and Carnarvon Botanical Districts, which are sections of the
South-Western and Eremaean Botanical Provinces, respectively. The dominant vegetation system of the
survey area is referred to as the Tamala System. The typical vegetation of the Tamala System is a unique
formation termed “tree heath” or heath with scattered trees. Nothing resembling this formation has been
found elsewhere in the State (Beard 1976).
The proposed development occurs on the boundary of the Southwestern and Eremaean Botanical
and later by Gardner (1944) and Gardner and Bennetts (1956). This boundary has been acknowledged by
Beard (1976) and Gibson et al. (2000) as representing the boundary between the complex and species rich
heathlands and woodlands of southwestern Australia and the less diverse Acacia shrublands of the
Carnarvon Basin (Beard 1976, Gibson et al. 2000).
In other work by Thackway and Cresswell (1995), the boundaries near Peron Peninsula, Edel Land and
The detailed floristic studies undertaken in the Irwin and Carnarvon areas (Trudgen and Keighery 1995,
representation in the local and regional context.
Local and Regional Significance
Plant communities are referred to as locally significant where the presence of Priority Flora species has
been recorded, where they provide a range extension of a particular taxon from previously recorded
locations, or where they are very restricted to one or two locations or occur as small isolated
communities. In addition, communities that exhibit unusually high structural and species diversity are
also of local significance (E.M. Mattiske, pers. comm.).
Plant communities are referred to as regionally significant where they are limited to specific landform
populations of Declared Rare Flora (E.M. Mattiske, pers. comm.).
Communities are described as ‘Threatened Ecological Communities’ (TECs) if they have been defined by
the Western Australian Threatened Ecological Communities Scientific Advisory Committee and found to
be Presumed Totally Destroyed (PD), Critically Endangered (CR), Endangered (EN) or Vulnerable (VU).
For definitions of TEC categories and criteria refer to English and Blyth (1997). Selected plant
communities have also been listed as “Threatened Ecological Communities” under the EPBC Act (1999).
The TECs at the national level are defined on the Environment Australia website (www.ea.gov.au).
The specific objectives of the vegetation study were to:
Collect and identify the vascular plant species present in the area;
Review the biogeographical pattern and conservation status of the vascular plant species
Herbarium (2005a, 2005b) and the Environmental Protection Biodiversity Conservation Act
(EPBC Act, 1999) and with plant collections held at the State Herbarium;
Establish permanent vegetation plots, within a range of the previously defined plant
foliage cover, within each permanent vegetation plot; and
Submit a report that summarises the findings.
An initial search for the Declared Rare and Priority flora species known to occur in the region was made
using the West Australian Herbarium database compiled by the West Australian Herbarium (2005a,
Mattiske Consulting Pty Ltd conducted the following vegetation surveys for Gunson Resources over a 15
northern access route;
April 2004 - An autumn survey in which 56 permanent vegetation monitoring plots were
November 2004 - A survey of the southern access road and the construction camp and two
During each survey the flora was described and collected systematically at a series of sites that were
undertaken at additional sites in equivalent plant communities. At each site the following floristic and
environmental notes were made: topography, percentage litter cover, soil ratio, percentage of bare
ground, outcropping rocks and their type, pebble type and size, and time since fire. For each species
recorded, the average height and percent foliage cover of species both alive and dead was noted.
In the April 2004 survey, 56 permanent vegetation monitoring plots were established within the survey
were defined in the area. At least one vegetation monitoring plot was placed in the vicinity of the
vertebrate fauna monitoring sites. Each 10m x 10m vegetation monitoring plot was pegged using 107cm
aluminium fence droppers to mark each of the four corners. The plots were established in a north-south
orientation, with a tag labelling the plot number on the northwest corner peg. A photograph of each plot
was taken from the northwest corner. In each plot, floristic and environmental notes were made as
requirements of the West Australian Herbarium. The plant species were identified and then compared
with pressed specimens housed at the West Australian Herbarium. Where appropriate, plant taxonomists
with specialist skills were consulted. Nomenclature of the species recorded follows the West Australian
Herbarium (2005a, 2005b).
The main study limitations on the survey work undertaken were the lack of seasonal rainfall events and
the difficulty of access into some of the survey areas. Every attempt was made to address the coverage of
seasonal conditions through targeted surveys in August 2003, April 2004, September 2004 and November
2004. Additional surveys are planned in coming months, and in view of recent rainfall events in the Shark
Bay area there will be the opportunity to undertake additional collecting of flora in the survey area.
The difficulty of access into some sections of the survey area placed additional restrictions on the
denser vegetation access by foot was influenced by the density of the vegetation. Nevertheless the area
was covered by selecting representative areas for sampling from the aerial photographs.
The base data for Figure 16 was reliant on information from GeoScience and it was apparent from field
these dunes should not be relied upon in any deliberation of extent of species on landforms from Figure
A total of 231 taxa (including subspecies and varieties) from 132 genera and 51 families were recorded
within the survey area (Appendix A). Some species were not identified to the species or variety level due
to the paucity of flowering and fruiting specimens. The most common families recorded were Myrtaceae
(27 taxa), Asteraceae (23 taxa), Poaceae (19 taxa), Mimosaceae (17 taxa), Chenopodiaceae (15 taxa) and
Proteaceae (14 taxa), a floral composition typical of the intermediate zone between the Southwestern and
Eremaean Botanical Provinces.
Based on information available through the West Australian Herbarium (Department of Conservation and
range. These were Acacia rigens, Austrostipa macalpinei, Daviesia divaricata subsp. ?lanulosa (ms),
subsp. leucopetala, as well as the introduced species Avellinia michelii.
A range of species present in the survey area is endemic to the Shark Bay region. These include Acacia
11346) (pn), Calothamnus formosus subsp. formosus, Conostylis candicans subsp. flavifolia, Eucalyptus
range (based on CALM FloraBase 2005 records). Some species are at the northern limit of their
distribution in the Irwin Botanical Region, while other species are at the western and southern limit of
their distribution in the Carnarvon Botanical District. Species at their southern and western limit are
northern limit of their distribution include Actinobole condensatum, Amyema miraculosa subsp.
overlapping ranges of these species illustrate the significance of this area as a boundary between two
botanical provinces. This unique feature of the Shark Bay flora has also been highlighted in the surveys
by Trudgen and Keighery (1995) and Gibson et al. (2000) (Appendix A).
The flowering times are summarised in Appendix C for the species recorded in the recent surveys on the
In the initial surveys only three introduced species were recorded, namely Lamarckia aurea (Goldentop),
species, Senecio sp., identified only to genus level, may or may not be an introduced species, as some
collected that had germinated after winter rainfall. These were Aira caryophyllea (Silvery Hairgrass),
(Common Sowthistle) and Urospermum picroides (False Hawkbit). None of the introduced species
recorded are listed as Declared Plants, as defined by the Department of Agriculture (2005).
Rare and Priority Flora
No plant taxa recorded in the survey plots are gazetted as Declared Rare Flora pursuant to subsection (2)
of section 23F of the Wildlife Conservation Act (1950). No plant taxa listed as Threatened pursuant to
Schedule 1 of the Environmental Protection Biodiversity Conservation Act (EPBC Act, 1999) were
recorded in the survey plots.
Eucalyptus beardiana which is listed as a Declared Rare Flora pursuant to subsection (2) of section 23F
of the Wildlife Conservation Act (1950) and as Endangered pursuant to Schedule 1 of the Environmental
Protection Biodiversity Conservation Act (1999) has been recorded previously within the survey area.
Nine Priority Flora species were recorded from the Coburn survey area. The distribution and habitat of
locations of these species in the survey area are listed in Table 3 and shown on Vegetation Maps 2 to 15.
Additional locations for some of these species were also extracted from the Department of Conservation
and Land Management databases and these are presented in Figure 16. The following summaries reflect
records collected during the recent surveys by Mattiske Consulting Pty Ltd.
This erect shrub is classified as Priority 2 as it has only been recorded from several locations and is
often found as a scattered or uncommon shrub. In the Coburn survey area it was recorded at four
locations in Communities S1, S2, S3 and S5, It occurred as a dominant element of Community S5.
The populations of Acacia subrigida occurring in the survey area may have particular conservation
significance as they may have affinities with a wide phyllode variant that has been previously
recorded nearby (6km west of Overlander-Denham road towards Tamala Station (Maslin 2001)).
This northern population of Acacia subrigida may represent a distinct taxon. However, further
taxonomic investigation is required.
This shrub to 1.5m is classified as Priority 2 as it has only been recorded from two isolated areas at
Shark Bay and North West Cape (total of four collections). In the Coburn survey area, it is a
relatively common shrub found at seven locations across three widespread communities (S1, S2
and S3). As the known distribution of this species is highly restricted, the number of individuals
within the survey area represents a significant proportion of the total species.
This species is classified as Priority 2 as it has only been recorded from six locations within the
northern section of the Geraldton Sand Plains and Shark Bay. In the Coburn survey area it was
found only once in a mature and open shrubland (Community S2), which suggests it is a late
This species typically occurs as a small tree and is classified as a Priority 3 species as it has a
restricted distribution between Hamelin Pool and to an area just south of the Billabong Roadhouse
on the North West Coastal Highway (total of 28 collections). Within the Coburn survey area it was
recorded from eight locations across four plant communities. It was most abundant in
Communities S8 and S9, where it was a co-dominant with Acacia xiphophylla, and Acacia
as a shrub in Communities S7 and E3. The two potential haul roads will have the greatest impact
on this species where they dissect Communities S8 and S9 at their eastern end.
This conspicuous shrub or small tree is classified, as Priority 3 as it is endemic to Shark Bay and
Peron Peninsula (total of 30 collections). In the Coburn survey area it was recorded at five
locations across Communities S1, S2 and S3, but was most commonly found when shrublands
were tall and open.
This dense, pungent shrub is classified as Priority 3 as it has a narrow distribution from 25
locations. The presence of this species in the survey area is particularly significant as it represents
a 70km extension to the west of its known range near Murchison. It was locally abundant in the
three locations in which it was recorded, in the Communities E6 and S7.
This small intricately branched shrub is classified as Priority 3 as it has only been recorded at nine
locations and is endemic to the Shark Bay area. In the Coburn survey area it was uncommon and
found only in Communities S2 and S10.
This erect shrub is classified as Priority 3 as it has only been recorded from 20 locations in the
northern section of the Geraldton Sand Plains. In the Coburn survey area it was relatively common
in Communities S1, S2, and S3 and was a dominant species in Community S10.
This small tree is classified as Priority 4 as it has only been recorded from nine locations in the
northern section of the Geraldton Sand Plains. In the Coburn survey area it was uncommon and
restricted to mature, open shrublands (Community S2), suggesting it is a late successional species.
Other Rare and Priority Flora that were recorded in the Shark Bay region by Trudgen and Keighery