Three Springs Daviesia Daviesia bursarioides Interim Recovery Plan 2004-2009

Western Australian Threatened Species and Communities Unit (WATSCU)
© The Western Australian, Department of Conservation and Land Management, 2004

2. Recovery Objective And Criteria

Objectives

The objective of this Interim Recovery Plan is to abate identified threats and maintain or enhance in situ populations to ensure the long-term preservation of the species in the wild.

Criteria for success:

The number of individuals within populations and/or the number of populations have increased by ten percent or more over the period of the plans adoption under the EPBC Act.

Criteria for failure:

The number of individuals within populations and/or the number of populations have decreased by ten percent or more over the period of the plans adoption under the EPBC Act.

3. Recovery Actions

Existing recovery actions

All relevant land managers have been notified of the location and threatened status of the species. The notification details the Declared Rare status of Daviesia bursarioides and associated legal obligations, and provides contact details of CALM District staff for future liaison.

Declared Rare Flora (DRF) markers are in place for all roadside populations of the species. These alert road maintenance workers to the presence of each population, and help avoid damage to the vegetation in the area. An excellent working relationship has been established between CALMs Moora District and Shire of Three Springs with regard rare flora management. The road near Population 2 is undergoing maintenance work. The road will be slightly realigned to accommodate this species, and any gravel moved through this work will be re-spread in the gravel pit adjacent to Population 2. The gravel pit has already been deep ripped in preparation for this rehabilitation to counter soil compaction brought about by movement of heavy machinery during gravel extraction.

Population 5 on private property has been fenced. CALM supplied the materials for 3 km of fencing and organized a contractor to erect the fence in 1997.

Approximately 3,000 seeds collected between 1995 and 1998 from Populations 1, 2, 3, 5 and 6 are stored at the TFSC. The viability of seeds produced has been found to vary from year to year, with germination as low as 6% from 1995 collections. A high proportion of this seed was shriveled. Germination from collections made in 1997 was 80-100% 1997 (unpublished data A. Cochrane). Additional seed was collected in 2002 by G. Broun and J. Borger of the Moora District Threatened Flora Recovery Team, but this has not yet been processed.

The germinants resulting from TFSC viability trials were delivered to the Botanic Garden and Parks Authority (BGPA) nursery to allow them to grow to maturity. A number of these are still growing in the nursery, although all are in fairly poor condition. There were 8 plants remaining in October 2003. Another seven plants were previously planted in the Botanic Gardens, but these have since died. BGPA also hold 13.93g of seed from six clones (Amanda Shade, Horticulturalist, Botanic Garden and Parks Authority, pers. comm.).

Plants were propagated for translocation by TFSC and BGPA. Seed was germinated at TFSC, and then transferred to the BGPA nursery for hardening off and establishment (Cochrane et al. 2000a). Daviesia bursarioides was considered easy to establish and the survival rate of germinants was high. The species remained disease free and there were no problems in cultivating them. However, initial growth was slow and not particularly vigorous, so at least six months of growing time was required before seedlings were ready for planting into the wild (Cochrane et al. 2000b).

Translocation of this species commenced in September 1998 with the planting of 192 seedlings into the Nature Reserve that contains Population 6. Three treatments were trialed to determine optimal techniques for future translocations: mulching; watering; and mulching with watering. However as fauna, (probably cockatoos), cut the irrigation pipe at this site over summer 1998-1999, the delivery of water during the driest time of year was unreliable. That is, plants in watered treatments would not have received as much water as intended and perhaps not much more than unwatered treatments. There was relatively little difference across treatments in mean height and width of translocated plants. In November 1998, mean height ranged from 10 cm in control to 12 cm in watered and mulched treatment. In November 1999, mean height ranged from 40 cm in control to 47 cm in mulched treatment. However, the benefit of even a little more water was reflected in survival statistics, with survival rates of translocated plants in watered treatments approximately double those of translocated plants in unwatered treatments. In March 1999, survival rates were 18.8% for control, 14.6% for mulch only, 37.5% for water only and 41.7% for watered and mulched.

An additional 144 seedlings were planted into the same site with the same range of treatments (mulching, watering, and mulching with watering) in August 1999. There was heavy grazing of these seedlings across all treatments, probably by kangaroos. A total of 45 seedlings (31%) survived to November 1999. The remaining seedlings were fenced to prevent further losses.

In August 2000, 262 additional plants were translocated into this site with caging as a treatment. Unfortunately, no watering system was used for these plants due to a lack of funding. Monitoring suggested that most uncaged plants died from grazing, whereas most caged plants died from a lack of moisture. Two years after planting, only 5 plants (2%) of the original 262 remained.

Survival of Daviesia bursarioides after translocation

1998 plantings 1999 plantings 2000 plantings
Year No. surviving % survival Year No. surviving % survival Year No. surviving % survival
Initial (Sep 1998) 192   Initial (Aug 1999) 144   Initial (Aug 2000) 262  
Nov 1998 180 94 Nov 1999 45 31 Jun 2001 13 5
Aug 1999 47 24 Aug 2000 22 15 Aug 2002 5 2
Jul 2000 46 24 Jun 2001 20 14      
Jun 2001 41 21 Aug 2002 16 11      
Aug 2002 37 19            

The success of translocated plants has been relatively poor due to grazing and a lack of watering as described above. To ensure these constraints do not limit the success of future translocation trials, the following method will be adopted:

  • Irrigation pipes will be buried to prevent damage by fauna
  • Watering systems will be run and maintained throughout the first summer
  • Seedlings will be caged to prevent grazing
  • Seedlings will be mulched to maximise the effect of the watering

A double-sided information sheet has been printed, and includes a description of Daviesia bursarioides, its habitat, threats, recovery actions and photos. This will continue to be distributed to the community through the Shire of Three Springs office and library, wildflower shows and so on. It is hoped that this may result in the discovery of new populations.

Staff from CALMs Moora District regularly monitor all populations of this species. The growth of translocated plants at Population 6T continues to be monitored to assess the effects of each treatment and the success of the translocation overall. Twelve plants at Population 6 have permanent metal tags, and growth and reproductive data were collected from these in 2000 for comparison with translocated plants.

The Moora District Threatened Flora Recovery Team is overseeing the implementation of this IRP and will include information on progress in its annual report to CALM's Corporate Executive and funding bodies.

Future recovery actions

Where populations occur on lands other than those managed by CALM, permission has been or will be sought from appropriate land managers prior to recovery actions being undertaken. The following recovery actions are roughly in order of descending priority; however this should not constrain addressing any of the priorities if funding is available for lower priorities and other opportunities arise.

1. Coordinate recovery actions

The Moora District Threatened Flora Recovery Team will coordinate recovery actions for Daviesia bursarioides and other Declared Rare Flora in the district. They will include information on progress in their annual report to CALMs Corporate Executive and funding bodies.

Action: Coordinate recovery actions
Responsibility: CALM (Moora District) through the MDTFRT
Cost: $1,000 per year

2. Map critical habitat

It is a requirement of the EPBC Act that spatial data relating to critical habitat be determined. Although critical habitat is described in Section 1, the areas as described have not yet been mapped and that will be redressed under this action. If any additional populations are located, then critical habitat will also be determined and mapped for these locations.

Action: Map critical habitat
Responsibility: CALM (Moora District, WATSCU) through the MDTFRT
Cost: $2,000 in the first year

3. Liaise with relevant land managers

Staff from CALM's Moora District will continue to liaise with relevant land managers and landowners to ensure that populations are not accidentally damaged or destroyed. Input and involvement will also be sought from any indigenous groups that have an active interest in areas that are habitat for Daviesia bursarioides.

Action: Liaise with relevant land managers
Responsibility: CALM (Moora District) through the MDTFRT
Cost: $1,000 per year

4. Seek long-term protection of habitat

Ways and means of improving the security of populations and their habitat will be investigated. On private land, this may include conservation covenants with a range of agencies or registration through the Land for Wildlife scheme.

Action: Seek long-term protection of habitat
Responsibility: CALM (Moora District) through the MDTFRT
Cost: $1,200 in the first and third years.

5. Reduce shading by associated vegetation

Tall Allocasuarina campestris plants are overshadowing D. bursarioides plants at Population 5, more successfully competing for light and water. It is thought that D. bursarioides responds with slow growth and lower seed set (Schwarten 1995). The A. campestris plants close to D. bursarioides plants will be trimmed as required if monitoring indicates that dense shading appears to be impacting on growth and seed-set in D. bursarioides. It may be, however, that when a strategy of regular disturbance such as burning is introduced, this competition will be reduced.

Action: Reduce shading by associated vegetation
Responsibility: CALM (Moora District) through the MDTFRT
Cost: $1,300 per year in first and fifth years

6. Implement disturbance regime

Schwarten (1995) researched the biology and ecology of a number of threatened Daviesia species, including Daviesia bursarioides. He recommends actively managing these populations with some form of disturbance every six to eight years. Disturbance will take place after seed-set has occurred (approximately 3 months after flowering, or longer if the season is particularly hot and dry). This ensures seed is young with relatively high viability, and minimises predation of seed by vertebrates and insects. The form of disturbance will depend on the timing of seed set. If seed set is early enough, weather conditions may be mild enough for burning to be considered. When temperatures increase the risk associated with use of fire, careful mechanical disturbance of the topsoil is likely to be a better alternative. Disturbance by either method is likely to increase the invasion of weeds, and follow-up weed control will be undertaken as necessary. Monitoring will detail the response of associated habitat as well as that of D. bursarioides, and will also record any negative impacts such as the level and type of weed invasion. Monitoring of regeneration will continue for at least three years, and monitoring of D. bursarioides recruitment will continue as for all populations.

Action: Implement disturbance regime
Responsibility: CALM (Moora District) through the MDTFRT
Cost: $2,500 per year

7. Implement weed control as required

The current level of threat from weeds is low at most populations, with the harsh nature of the habitat limiting invasion. If required, weed control will be undertaken in consultation with the land managers. This will be by hand weeding or localised application of herbicide during the appropriate season to minimise the effect of herbicide on the species and the surrounding native vegetation. All weed control will be followed by a report on the method, timing and success of the treatment against weeds, and the effect on Daviesia bursarioides and associated native plant species.

Action: Implement weed control as required
Responsibility: CALM (Moora District) through the MDTFRT; relevant land managers
Cost: $900 per year

8. Collect seed

It is necessary to store germplasm as a genetic resource, ready for use in translocations and as an ex situ genetic blueprint of the species. Some seed has been collected from most populations, but additional collections are required from all populations to maintain adequate representation of the remaining genetic diversity of this species, and to replace seed used in translocations to date.

Action: Collect seed
Responsibility: CALM (TFSC, Moora District) through the MDTFRT
Cost: $2,800 in the first, third and fifth years

9. Monitor populations

Annual monitoring of factors such as habitat degradation (including weed invasion and salinity), population stability (expansion or decline), pollination activity, seed production, recruitment, longevity and predation is essential. The visibility of DRF markers will also be monitored to ensure they remain effective, and have not faded or been covered by vegetation. There is no evidence to suggest that dieback (Phytophthora species) is present at any populations. However, testing has found that this species is highly susceptible to Phytophthora infection, so if there is evidence of dieback in future appropriate action will be required.

Action: Monitor populations
Responsibility: CALM (Moora District) through the MDTFRT
Cost: $1,000 per year

10. Conduct further surveys

Community volunteers will be encouraged to be involved with further surveys supervised by CALM staff to be conducted during the flowering period of the species (June-July). Records of areas surveyed will be sent to Wildlife Branch and retained at the District, even if Daviesia bursarioides is not located. Nature Reserves in the Three Springs area will be particularly targeted, and any areas appropriate for future translocations recorded.

Action: Conduct further surveys
Responsibility: CALM (Moora District) through the MDTFRT
Cost: $2,500 per year in the first, third and fifth years

11. Develop and implement a fire management strategy

Fire kills adult plants of this species and regeneration occurs from seed. Frequent fire may prevent the accumulation of sufficient soil-stored seed for recruitment to occur. Fire also promotes the introduction and proliferation of weed species. Frequent fire should therefore be prevented from occurring in the habitat of populations. A fire management strategy will be developed in consultation with land managers to recommend fire intensity, control measures and fire frequency for the habitat.

Action: Develop and implement a fire management strategy
Responsibility: CALM (Moora District) through the MDTFRT
Cost: $2,500 in first year, and $1,700 per year in subsequent years

12. Undertake and monitor translocation

A three year experimental translocation program has been implemented for this species, and has provided much information about how best to ensure survival of translocated plants. However, less than 60 plants (some still juvenile) survive after almost 600 seedlings have been planted. If this species is to be made less vulnerable to extinction, larger and additional populations are needed on land of secure tenure.

A second Translocation Proposal will be developed. The propagation of plants in readiness for translocation will also be undertaken, and when appropriate, these will be planted in accordance with the approved Translocation Proposal. Information on the translocation of threatened plants and animals in the wild is provided in CALM's Policy Statement No. 29 Translocation of Threatened Flora and Fauna. All Translocation Proposals require endorsement by CALMs Director of Nature Conservation. Following the results of the earlier translocation, translocated plants will be watered and caged, and irrigation pipes will be buried. In the first year, two watering systems will be employed off one tank to deliver different rates of water over summer months. This will help refine future watering regimes.

Monitoring of the translocation is essential and will be undertaken according to the timetable developed for the Translocation Proposal.

Action: Undertake and monitor translocation
Responsibility: CALM (Moora District, TFSC) and BGPA through the MDTFRT
Cost: $18,800 in the first year, and $14,500 per year in subsequent years

13. Promote awareness

The importance of biodiversity conservation and the need for the long-term protection of wild populations of this species will be promoted to the community through poster displays and the local print and electronic media. Formal links with local naturalist groups and interested individuals will also be encouraged. An information sheet will be produced, and will include a description of the plant, its habitat, threats, recovery actions and photos. This will be distributed to the public through CALMs Moora District office and at the office and library of the Shire of Three Springs. Such information distribution may lead to the discovery of new populations.

Action: Promote awareness
Responsibility: CALM (Moora District) through the MDTFRT
Cost: $1,700 in first year, and $1,100 per year in subsequent years

14. Obtain biological and ecological information

Improved knowledge of the biology and ecology of Daviesia bursarioides will provide a scientific basis for its management in the wild. An understanding of the following is necessary for effective management:

  1. 1.Seed longevity in soil.
  2. 2.Factors affecting flower and fruit abortion.
  3. 3.The pollination biology of the species.
  4. 4.The requirements of pollinators.
  5. 5.The population genetic structure, levels of genetic diversity and minimum viable population size.

Schwarten (1995) found that seed viability fell from 100% to 65% after 12 months in the soil. Of particular relevance is whether the viability rate plateaus or continues to decline, and if it declines, whether the decline is slow or rapid. This information will have an impact on the disturbance regime implemented.

Action: Obtain biological and ecological information
Responsibility: CALM (Science Division, Moora District) through the MDTFRT
Cost: $12,000 per year in the second, third and fourth years

15. Review the need for a full Recovery Plan

At the end of the fourth year of its five-year term this Interim Recovery Plan will be reviewed and the need for further recovery actions will be assessed. If the species is still ranked as Critically Endangered at that time a full Recovery Plan may be required.

Action: Review the need for further recovery actions and/or a full Recovery Plan
Responsibility: CALM (WATSCU, Moora District) through the MDTFRT
Cost: $500 in the fifth year