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Media Release
Senator the Hon Robert Hill
Leader of the Government in the Senate
Minister for the Environment and Heritage

7 September 2001

COMMONWEALTH SUPPORTS WA IN PROTECTING ITS WILDLIFE


The threatened Red-tailed Phascogale, Malleefowl and Whorled Emu-Bush are among a number of species that stand a better chance of survival after the announcement today of Federal Government funding to Western Australian community groups.

Ten community groups have received funding totalling $104,600 through the Threatened Species Network Community Grants Program to undertake action to help safeguard the future of some of Western Australia's threatened biodiversity.

Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill said the latest funding complements more than 10,000 Natural Heritage Trust projects across the country with Commonwealth Government support in protecting species through work such as feral animal control and habitat restoration. Speaking at this year's National Threatened Species Day event in Brisbane, Senator Hill announced total funding of over $520,000 to 40 community groups across Australia through round four of the Grants.

"The Threatened Species Network Community Grants, a joint initiative of the Federal Government's $2.5 billion Natural Heritage Trust and the World-Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), not only assist in saving our flora and fauna but also reward community groups with the recognition they deserve," Senator Hill said.

"Local communities in Western Australia play a vital role in helping to save Australia's unique and precious threatened species. Western Australian projects funded in this round will undertake on-ground activities including habitat restoration and corridor protection.

"With $20,000 funding, the King-Murray Rocks Catchment Group will work to ensure the long-term survival of the nationally endangered Red-tailed Phascogale, a small, tree-dwelling marsupial which is threatened by predation, habitat loss and fragmentation. The community project will carry out habitat planting, feral animal control and negotiation of conservation covenants. It is hoped this community project will be a model for incorporating threatened species issues into broader catchment plans."

WWF Australia Chief Executive Officer Dr David Butcher highlighted the importance of the Threatened Species Network Community Grants program in building community interest in conservation activities.

"Australia has one of the world's most megadiverse ecosystems, yet many of our native species are currently at risk of extinction," Dr Butcher said.

"The conservation work that is funded through this important partnership between WWF, community groups throughout Australia and the Federal government is a vital step toward creating awareness of Australia's unique environment by encouraging community participation in a range of projects and conservation initiatives that will help conserve native wildlife.

"Conserving threatened species and ecosystems has been the foundation of WWF's work internationally for 40 years and WWF is pleased to continue this relationship with West Australian communities and the Natural Heritage Trust."

National Threatened Species Day is held on 7 September each year to commemorate the day that the last Tasmanian Tiger died in captivity in 1936. A list of WA projects funded in 2001-02 is attached.

September 7, 2001

Contacts:
Belinda Huppatz (Senator Hill) (02) 6277 7640 or 0419 258 364
Rosslyn Beeby (WWF) (02) 9281 5515 or 0419 520 960


WESTERN AUSTRALIAN THREATENED SPECIES NETWORK GRANT RECIPIENTS

For further information on any of the projects listed here or to get in contact with proponents, please contact the West Australian Threatened Species Network coordinator:
Sandra McKenzie, WWF
Ph: (08) 9387 6444
Fax: (08) 9387 6180
Email: wwfperth@ozemail.com.au

Project Title: Protecting the Habitat of the Red-tailed Phascogale
Grant: $20,000
Proponent: King-Murray Rocks Catchment Group
Project Summary: This projects aims to ensure the long-term survival of the nationally Endangered Red-tailed Phascogale, a small marsupial mouse which is threatened by predation, habitat loss and fragmentation. It is hoped this project will set a precedent in incorporating threatened species targets into broader catchment planning programs.

Project Title: Newdegate Fox Control Project
Grant: $2500
Proponent: Newdegate Land Conservation District Committee
Project Summary: This fox baiting program aims to protect populations of threatened species found in the Newdegate area, including the Malleefowl, the Numbat and the Red-tailed Phascogale. The project will work in conjunction with the WA Department of Conservation and Land Management, which baits nearby nature reserves. It aims to create awareness and encourage landholders to continue fox baiting to protect threatened species into the future.

Project Title: Survey and Translocation of the Critically Endangered Whorled Emu-Bush
Grant: $3500
Proponent: Newdegate Land Conservation District Committee (LCDC)
Project Summary: The nationally Endangered Whorled Emu-Bush (Eremophila verticillata) is an erect woody shrub with small flowers which is endemic to the Newdegate area. Only two populations remain with a total of around 570 plants, and they are threatened by adjacent mining activities, weed invasion, salinity and road maintenance. The project will conduct surveys for new populations and suitable translocation sites, and will be undertaken in partnership with the WA Department of Conservation and Land Management.

Project Title: Unravelling the Mysteries of Pilbara Olive Python Ecology
Grant: $7000
Proponent: Nickol Bay Naturalists' Club
Project Summary: This project builds on a previous Threatened Species Network Community Grant that documented the ecology of the nationally Vulnerable Pilbara Olive Python on the Burrup Peninsula and raised community awareness of this species. Scientists and the community will work together to study unknown aspects of the python's ecology, particularly the reproductive cycle and nest site location. The project will contribute to effective protection and recovery of the species, be valuable in updating the Action Plan for Australian Reptiles, and can be used in formalising a recovery plan.

Project Title: Translocation of the Critically Endangered Bailey's Symonanthus (Symonanthus bancroftii) Population
Grant: $6000
Proponent: Bruce Rock Land Conservation District Committee
Project Summary: The Critically Endangered Bailey's Symonanthus is a small shrub with many stems, and there is only one plant and two sets of tissue known to be in existence. Through community partnerships, this project aims to establish two new populations of the Symonanthus on two separate crown reserves, using field plantings of cloned (micropropagated) plants. It is thought this project is a first in reconstructing a population from a single set of parents.

Project Title: Rehabilitating Critically Endangered Communities in the Swan Region
Grant: $16,000
Proponent: Conservation Volunteers Australia
Project Summary: This project will contribute to the rehabilitation of critically endangered Sedgelands occurring behind coastal dunes and Eucalyptus calophylla in the Kingia Australia woodlands. Both of these are susceptible to inappropriate fire regimes, dieback, weed infestation and fragmentation. This project builds on the successful efforts of a Green Corps project entitled 'Restoring Ecological Communities on the Swan Coastal Plain'.

Project Title: Eremophila nivea Habitat Reconstruction
Grant: $6300
Proponent: Conservation Volunteers Australia
Project Summary: Eremophila nivea (a medium sized shrub with branches and leaves covered with distinctive woolly silvery-coloured hairs) is ranked as Critically Endangered due to the severe fragmentation of populations and a decline in the area, extent and quality of habitat. Approximately 450 individual plants have been found in seven populations north of Three Springs in Western Australia. Building on work undertaken in 1997, this project intends to improve the habitat quality and provide protection against salinity at one of these populations through reintroducing endemic plant species, weed control and fencing an area of remnant vegetation in the drainage line.

Project Title: Designated Access Paths for Bob Blackburn Flora Reserve
Grant: $4300
Proponent: Friends of Bob Blackburn Flora Reserve (Inc.)
Project Summary: The Friends of Bob Blackburn Flora Reserve (Inc) group is constructing access paths through the reserve and erecting signs providing information about flora, fauna and educational issues. The project is a high-exposure educational activity encouraging greater understanding and awareness of the area's importance. The construction of a limestone path has another benefit - limiting spores, which cause dieback in trees, being carried into healthy areas of the reserve on visitors' shoes.

Project Title: Assessing Ampurta and Other Threatened Species Populations in Western Desert Regions
Grant: $19,000
Proponent: Arid Lands Environment Centre
Project Summary: Assisted by traditional owners from nearby communities, a three week survey along the Canning Stock Route in WA aims to gather information on the distribution, status and habitat requirements of threatened Ampurta and Mulgara. The information obtained will be essential to the formulation of a joint national recovery plan for both species, and will also provide information for other nationally threatened species, including Bilbies, Marsupial Moles and the Great Desert Skink.

Project Title: Managing Southern Bilby Populations on the Ngaanyatjarra Lands
Grant: $20,000
Proponent: Ngaanyatjarra Council
Project Summary: This project involves surveying and monitoring the Vulnerable Ninu (bilby) populations around Tjirrkarli and Warburton communities and assessing the impacts of predation and fire. Hunting and humane baiting will be trialled as methods of predator control, and patch burning to improve habitat quality will also be tested. This project is expected to be very important in managing the populations.

Commonwealth of Australia