Whorled eremophila (Eremophila verticillata) Interim Recovery Plan 2003-2008

Interim recovery plan no. 142
Robyn Phillimore and Andrew Brown
Department of Conservation and Land Management, WA, 2003


Scientific Name: Eremophila verticillata Common Name: Whorled Eremophila
Family: Myoporaceae Flowering Period: October to January
Departmental Region: Wheatbelt Departmental Districts: Katanning, Narrogin
Shire: Lake Grace Recovery Teams: Katanning & Narrogin Districts Threatened Flora Recovery Teams (KDTFRT, NTFRT)

Illustrations and/or further information: Brown, A., Thomson-Dans, C. and Marchant, N. (Eds). (1998). Western Australia's Threatened Flora. Department of Conservation and Land Management, Western Australia; Chinnock, R.J. (1986). Five endangered new species of Myoporaceae from south-western Australia. Nuytsia 5(3), 391-400; Richmond, G. and Coates, D. (1995). Population dynamics, seed biology and conservation of six endangered Eremophila species. Unpublished report, Australian Nature Conservation Agency, Canberra and Department of Conservation and Land Management, Western Australia.

Current status: Eremophila verticillata was declared as Rare Flora in September 1987 and ranked as Critically Endangered in September 1998. The species currently meets World Conservation Union Red List Category 'CR' under criteria A2c, B1a,b(ii,v)+2a,b(ii,iv) and C1 due its small area of occupancy, low number of plants and a decline in the number of populations, area of occupancy and extent and quality of habitat (IUCN 2000). Threats include mining (extraction of dolomite), poor recruitment, competition from associated native species and weeds, vehicle damage, rising salinity, road maintenance and inappropriate fire regimes.

Distribution and habitat: Eremophila verticillata is endemic to Western Australia where it is confined to the Lake Cobham area. The species grows on powdery brown loam over dolomite in open low Eucalyptus woodland of E. longicornis (Morrell), E. annulata and E. flocktoniae (Merrit) in association with Maireana erioclada and Threlkeldia diffusa (Chinnock 1986).

Critical habitat: The critical habitat for Eremophila verticillata comprises the area of occupancy of known populations; similar habitat within 200 metres of known populations; corridors of remnant vegetation that link populations; additional nearby occurrences of similar habitat that are not known to contain the species but may have done so in the past and may be suitable for translocations; and the local catchment for surface and ground waters that provide habitat for the species.

Habitat critical to the survival of the subspecies, and important populations: Given that this species is listed as Critically Endangered it is considered that all known habitat containing wild and translocated populations is habitat critical.

Benefits to other species/ecological communities: Recovery actions implemented to improve the quality or security of the habitat of Eremophila verticillata will also improve the status of remnant vegetation in which it is located.

International obligations: This plan is fully consistent with the aims and recommendations of the Convention on Biological Diversity, ratified by Australia in June 1993, and will assist in implementing Australia's responsibilities under that Convention. However, as Eremophila verticillata is not listed under any international agreement, the implementation of other international environmental responsibilities is not affected by this plan.

Role and interests of indigenous people: There are no known indigenous communities interested or involved in the management of areas affected by this plan. Therefore no role has been identified for indigenous communities in the recovery of this species.

Social and economic impacts: The implementation of this recovery plan is unlikely to cause significant adverse social and economic impacts. However, a mining lease near the area of one population does not expire until 2004 and it is possible that the protection of this species will have some minimal impact on the extraction of dolomite.

Evaluation of the Plans Performance: The Department of Conservation and Land Management, in conjunction with the Recovery Team will evaluate the performance of this IRP. The plan is to be reviewed within five years of its implementation.

Existing Recovery Actions: The following recovery actions have been or are currently being implemented -

  1. Land managers have been made aware of the threatened nature of Eremophila verticillata and its location.
  2. Declared Rare Flora (DRF) markers are installed at population 1.
  3. Dashboard stickers and posters that illustrate DRF markers and describe their purpose have been produced and distributed.
  4. In June 1994, staff from DCLM's Science Division and Katanning District conducted an experimental regeneration burn (to promote germination of soil-stored seed) on 10 mature senescing Eremophila verticillata plants at Population 1.
  5. Approximately 646 seeds were collected from Population 1 in March and April 2000, and 2954 seeds in March 2000. These are stored in DCLM's Threatened Flora Seed Centre (TFSC) at -18°C.
  6. The Botanic Garden and Parks Authority currently have seven plants of Eremophila verticillata in cultivation, all from cuttings.
  7. The Katanning and Narrogin Districts Threatened Flora Recovery Teams are overseeing the implementation of this IRP and will include information on progress in their annual report to DCLM's Corporate Executive and funding bodies.
  8. Departmental staff from Katanning and Narrogin District offices regularly monitor both presumed extinct and extant populations.

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

Recovery criteria
Criteria for success: The number of individuals within populations and/or the number of populations have increased by 10% or more.
Criteria for failure: The number of individuals within populations and/or the number of populations have decreased by 10% or more.

Recovery actions
1. Coordinate recovery actions. 9. Develop and implement a translocation proposal.
2. Stimulate germination of the soil seed bank. 10. Develop and implement a fire management strategy.
3. Conduct further surveys. 11. Continue liaison with land managers.
4. Undertake weed control using proven, best practice methods. 12. Fencing.
5. Vest unallocated Crown land in the Conservation Commission as a Class A reserve. 13. Monitor populations.
6. Rehabilitate habitat. 14. Promote awareness.
7. Collect seed and cutting material. 15. Obtain biological and ecological information.
8. Propagate plants for future translocation. 16. Write a full Recovery Plan.