Australia has one of the highest levels of extinction of species and is among the top 10 countries for species that are endangered or threatened. Australia has lost more mammal and plant species over the past years than any other country, but it also has one of the highest number of mammal species. Some species are categorised as critically endangered, endangered or vulnerable on the Red List, an international list that has been running since In the federal government launched a threatened species strategy to much fanfare and promised to make it a priority.
The year one report card showed that 21 of the 26 objectives in that report were achieved. Based on current data, an appropriate inter-fire interval for this community may be a minimum of 10 years, with this community often being dominated by fire sensitive Melaleucas and other shrubs. As the clay pans are wetlands that would have burnt very seldom historically, they are considered fire sensitive habitats, so minimum inter-fire intervals of years are advised. Drying climate also needs to be considered when designing appropriate fire regimes.
It is likely that reduced rainfall will cause diminishing growth rates, and plant maturation times will also therefore increase. Longer inter-fire intervals will therefore be desirable. Given the peri-urban location of most of the clay pans long-term fire exclusion is unlikely due to the frequency of bushfires in bushland with easy access close to human population centres. Maintenance of existing firebreaks is appropriate where firebreaks are already constructed, unless maintenance is likely to cause spread or intensification of disease or otherwise degrade the community.
Careful use of herbicides is the preferred method of maintenance of firebreaks to minimise soil movement and risk of disease spread or intensification in the community. No new firebreaks should be constructed in intact vegetation in occurrences. Local Parks and Wildlife staff will be involved in planning fire break construction and maintenance for the community. Fire management or response plans have been developed for some occurrences Brixton St wetlands occurrences 35, 53; Ambergate reserve occurrence Fire fighting authorities need to recognise the importance of not constructing new tracks during their operations, including during bushfires.
The use of heavy machinery to create new fire breaks within the community should be avoided to avoid further degrading the community, and chemicals that may be toxic to the community should not be used. A local Parks and Wildlife staff member will ideally be present during bushfires and controlled burns in remnants that contain occurrences of the community, to advise on protecting the conservation values of the community. Prescribed fire in winter or spring will probably cause mortality of actively growing geophytes and perennial herbs and prevent seed set in annuals.
Much of the flora is dormant from early summer to early autumn. A weed management strategy is required that identifies control of highest priority weeds that pose the greatest threat to the community in the early stages of invasion and in vegetation in good-excellent condition, including Watsonia meriana var.
Options may include hand weeding or localized application of herbicides that are highly specific to the target species. Much of the floristic diversity in these wetlands is in the herb layer and particular care should be taken to minimize off-target damage. The window of opportunity for herbicide application in winter-inundated areas of seasonal wetlands can be quite narrow, often just as the wetlands dry but while weeds are still actively growing.
In some cases for small localized populations of serious weeds in winter inundated areas hand weeding may be the most appropriate control option. Summer bushfires or prescribed burns can facilitate invasion of some serious weeds of clay pans Brown and Brooks , Brown et al. South African perennial grasses resprout, flower and produce seed post fire.
Germinating seedlings are able to establish easily in the post fire environment with reduced competition from native flora, and increases in light and nutrients. Immediately post-fire is also an ideal time to control resprouting clumps and seedlings with grass selective herbicides Brown and Brooks a when they are accessible, small, and vulnerable to herbicide application.
The use of grass selective herbicides ensures no off-target damage to regenerating native flora. A number of bulbous and cormous species, particularly watsonia and cape tulip, also flower en masse and set prolific amounts of seed in the post-fire environment. Wherever possible these species should be controlled prior to fire. Watsonia in particular creates a mat of dead leaves once it has been killed that, along with dense mats of corms, tends to inhibit regeneration of invaded bushland.
Once the watsonia plants have been killed a fire will destroy the dead mat of leaves and facilitate regeneration of native flora. In addition while the recommended herbicide for watsonia invading native plant communities, DPA, is fairly specific to watsonia it can impact vulnerable new growth of resprouting native flora and germinating native seedlings in the post-fire environment.
The limited studies of groundwater and surface water in the clay pan communities indicate a lack of connection between the two systems. Baseline and ongoing hydrological information is required however, to understand and avoid adverse changes to natural hydrological regimes. Data should include water quality information including, pH, salinity, nutrients, and temperature , and water levels from bores in key occurrences of each of the clay pan communities.
A key requirement is the determination of thresholds of fundamental water level and quality parameters that are required to sustain the clay pan communities. Determining if there are groundwater inputs to some of the clay pan occurrences will also be important for management decisions.
Water sensitive design should be applied to drains through clay pans. The existing drainage system at the greater Brixton St wetland complex should be further assessed for functional importance and opportunities to improve natural values explored. Changes to hydrology that may result in alterations to the natural hydrological regime of the clay pans, groundwater levels and subsequent increase or decrease in run-off, salinity, or pollution should be avoided and opportunities to improve the natural values of the ecological community through hydrology should be explored.
Appropriate buffers should be determined on a case-by-case basis using regional as well as local scale hydrological data and applied to developments. This will assist in protecting surface water quality and levels and potentially groundwater sources if relevant. Consideration should be given to the potential establishment of regional scale buffers for particularly important occurrences of the ecological community.
Impacts from grazing in particular in oc currences at Fish Road Occurrence 2, 76 , Forrestdale Lake Occurrences 33, 34, 46, 47, 80, 86 , Nicholson Road Occurrences 43, 44, 82 , Karnup Road Occurrence 45 , Plantation Road occurrence 87 and Keane Road Occurrences 88 and 89 Brixton St occurrences, 35, 53 , Ellen Brook occurrence 31 , Bullsbrook occurrence 8 , Austin Bay occurrences by rabbits, horses and kangaroos will be monitored.
Biodiversity Conservation Strategy | Your Say Byron Shire
Feral pig activity has been recorded in Moore River Nature reserve occurrence 22 , Drummond Nature Reserve occurrences 99, , Goonaping Swamp occurrence and in other nearby wetlands that are likely to be identified as clay pan TECs including Little Darkin and Dobaderry Swamps. Control programs will be implemented for feral animals, and results of control and the ongoing impacts will be monitored as part of action 3.
Impact from kangaroo grazing is a major threat in particular to remnants adjacent to pastures on agricultural lands including Fish Rd Occurrences 2, 76 , Ruabon occurrence 3 , Ambergate occurrence In addition to control trials for feral animals, grazing exclusion should also be investigated where high kangaroo impact is observed. Completion date: Ongoing. Illegal off-road vehicle or motor bike activity has been recorded in Julimar State Forest occurrences , , Bashford Nature Reserve Occurrence , near Goonaping Swamp occurrence and within other nearby wetlands that are likely to be identified as clay pan TECs including Little Darkin and Dobaderry Swamps.
Access control such as fencing, bollards and signage will be installed wherever practical to control damage by inappropriate off-road vehicle use, and results of controls and the ongoing impacts will be monitored as part of action 3. Plots will be established in these areas and floristic data analysed to determine affinities to the clay pan types. Completion date : Year 2.
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Although habitat critical to survival is described in Section 1, the areas as described have not yet been mapped and that will be completed under this action. In particular this will include determining the area required to maintain hydrological processes in the communities. If any additional occurrences are located, then this habitat will also be determined and mapped for these locations. The application of appropriate buffer zones will also be implemented throughout areas of the clay pan communities to protect the communities from edge effects such as hydrological changes, weed invasion and increased wind velocities.
Completion date : Year 1. Some occurrences of the clay pan communities may be at risk from hydrological impact from adjacent development, for example occurrence 19 Capel , 22 Moore River , Austin Cove or direct clearing, for example as planned for occurrences 17, 18, 25 Perth Airport Corporation Parks and Wildlife will seek to influence the management of bushland that contains occurrences and adjacent lands that are likely to occur in areas that influence the hydrology such that groundwater and surface water processes are maintained within likely limits of tolerance.
The limits of tolerance to change in water levels and quality are not known and will only be determined through the application of an adaptive management framework. Hydrology will be managed within an adaptive management framework, with detailed quantitative monitoring of floristic composition and structure linked to areas where there is likely to be significant hydrological change in terms of groundwater or surface water levels or quality. Parks and Wildlife will continue to negotiate to seek minimal future clearing of the communities.
The disease susceptibility of the clay pan communities is likely to vary greatly depending on local habitat and flora.
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Risk of introduction of disease will be minimized by ensuring good hygiene procedures. This will involve adequately washing down any equipment and footwear used near or in the clay pans, and restricting access by vehicles and machinery to dry soil conditions. No vehicle access should be allowed onto vegetated areas of the clay pans. Hygiene management plans should be prepared for all occurrences and disease mapping should also occur where relevant. Responsibility : All personnel accessing occurrences. Seek long term protection of the clay pan communities for conservation. If suitable areas that contain the communities become available, Parks and Wildlife will seek to have the remnants that contain the communities, and adequate buffer areas where required, protected through perpetual protection agreements or reserved as conservation reserves vested with the Conservation Commission of WA.
Many occurrences are currently or are proposed for long-term management for conservation. For example, reserve occurrences 33, 46, 47, 80, 86, Forrestdale is currently vested in the City of Armadale, for the purpose of recreation. The City proposes division of the reserve so that areas outside the golf course lease are managed for conservation in future by the Conservation Commission of WA. Under this proposal a large portion of about hectares of the reserve is proposed for conservation.
A series of locations are Bush Forever sites that are proposed for future conservation management that contain clay pan communities for example occurrences 4, 13, 41, 54, 55, 56, 79, 92, 93 Kenwick , and suitable management will be sought for these areas. Ellen Brook Nature Reserve occurrence 31 was created for the protection and recovery of the critically endangered Pseudemydura umbrina western swamp tortoise. Moore River and Lake Wannamal Nature Reserves that contain clay pan occurrences 22, , , , are also translocation sites for the tortoise.
Impacts of recovery actions for the tortoise within the reserves such as soil disturbance, altered localised hydrology and some weed control methods have potential to negatively impact on the clay pan vegetation. Linked monitoring of hydrology, flora, and vegetation is required to identify best practice management options and maintain vegetation condition. Up to date management guidelines are required for each major bushland area that contains the community. The management guidelines will include a weed map, weed control strategy, and a detailed fire management strategy, as described in other actions.
If site-based management guidelines for areas that contain the clay pan communities are not already being prepared or implemented, Parks and Wildlife will seek involvement in the cooperative preparation of guidelines for occurrences that include management considerations as listed in this plan. Completion date : Year 3. Reporting will be part of annual reports prepared by the Recovery Team for the Department of Parks and Wildlife, and will include results of analysis of monitoring within an adaptive management framework.