Gypsum Goodenia (Goodenia integerrima) Interim Recovery Plan 2003-2008

Interim recovery plan no 136
Robyn Phillimore and Andrew Brown
Department of Conservation and Land Management, WA, 2003

1. Background

History

Alex. George made the first known collection of Goodenia integerrima from Lake King in 1965. Surveys were then undertaken in the Lake King area by Dianna Papenfus as part of a Commonwealth Government funded project, however, no new populations were located. Surveys were also carried out near Lake Varley and Lake Pallarup without success. Between 1993 to 1996, as part of a "Review of Botanical Values on a Range of Gypsum Dunes in the Wheatbelt of WA" (Mattiske, 1995), some 30 lakes were surveyed but no new populations of G. integerrima were found. A. Wilson also conducted surveys of salt lake margins in the Esperance area in 1988 but was unable to locate any new populations.

Goodenia integerrima is currently known from three populations, together containing around 130 mature plants. Population counts have not been undertaken since 1997 and need to be done again to see if any changes have occurred.

Description

Goodenia integerrima is a ground-hugging or slightly ascending perennial herb which grows to about 9 cm tall. The leaves are linear, 1 to 2 mm wide, clustered and have re-curved margins on the upper surface. The flowers are in sub-umbels, up to about 8 cm long, with a yellow and brown corolla, about 7 mm long (Brown et al. 1998).

Goodenia integerrima is not closely allied to any other species, but the form of the hairs and the seeds are closest to G. fascicularis (Carolin 1990). Its low-growing habit, yellow flowers with a brown throat, and unusual habitat on rises in salt lakes distinguish it from other species (Brown et al. 1998).

Biology and ecology

Mattiske (1996) suggests that Goodenia integerrima is likely to be a gypsophylia plant species that is unique to a single lake. Its rarity is borne out by its not being found elsewhere despite extensive surveys.

Distribution and habitat

Goodenia integerrima is endemic to Western Australia where it is restricted to Lake King. The species grows on elevated islets in sandy, clay soils with samphire and other dwarf shrub species such as Pimelea halophila which is Priority 2 (Brown et al. 1998).

Critical habitat

Critical habitat is habitat identified as being critical to the survival of a listed threatened species or listed threatened ecological community. Habitat is defined as the biophysical medium or media occupied (continuously, periodically or occasionally) by an organism or group of organisms or once occupied (continuously, periodically or occasionally) by an organism, or group of organisms, and into which organisms of that kind have the potential to be reintroduced. (Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act)).

The critical habitat for Goodenia integerrima comprises:

  • the area of occupancy of the known populations,
  • areas of similar habitat ie. on elevated islets in gypsum dunes in sandy, clay soils with samphire and other dwarf shrub species such as Pimelea halophila, within 200 metres of known populations (these provide potential habitat for natural range extension),
  • corridors of remnant vegetation that link populations (these are necessary to allow pollinators to move between populations and are usually road and rail verges),
  • the local catchment which supplies groundwater and habitat for the species (the species occurs in rises on a salt lake and is dependent on maintenance of local surface hydrology),
  • additional occurrences of similar habitat ie. on elevated islets in sandy, clay soils with samphire and other dwarf shrub species such as Pimelea halophila that do not currently contain the species (these represent possible translocation sites).

Habitat critical to the survival of the species, and important populations

Given that this species is listed as Endangered it is considered that all known habitat for wild and any future translocated populations is habitat critical.

Threats

Goodenia integerrima was declared as Rare Flora under the Western Australian Wildlife Conservation Act 1950 in March 1998. It currently meets World Conservation Union (IUCN 2000) Red List Category 'EN' under criterion D as less than 250 mature individuals are known. Threats include:

  • Extraction of gypsum and activities associated with mining, such as vehicle usage. Currently there are two mining leases with gypsum being mined in an area adjacent to the G. integerrima and Pimelea halophila (P2) populations.
  • Rising groundwater and increasing salinity due to agricultural clearing. All populations occur on rises in samphire flats that are seasonally wet/waterlogged and susceptible to excessive inundation and increasing salinity. Assessment and monitoring of the populations is required.
  • Grazing by rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus). Grazing may impact on the establishment of G. integerrima seedlings thereby limiting natural recruitment. In addition, disturbance of soil by rabbit warren construction and increased nutrient levels from their droppings may affect the habitat of the species and encourage weeds. In recent years, the impact of rabbits has declined due to rabbit baiting by many landholders, and the introduction of the calici virus.
  • Inappropriate fire regimes may affect the viability of populations of Goodenia integerrima. It is not known what the fire response of the species is, however, frequent fire is likely to kill adult plants before regenerating or juvenile plants reach maturity. Further research is required and will be addressed in Recovery Action 9.
Summary of population information and threats
Pop. No. & Location Land Status Year/No. plants Condition Threats
1. Lake King Nature Reserve 1997 30 Healthy Gypsum extraction, salinity, grazing, inappropriate fire regimes
2. Lake King Nature Reserve 1997 50 Healthy Gypsum extraction, salinity, grazing, inappropriate fire regimes
3. Lake King Nature Reserve 1997 50 Healthy Gypsum extraction, salinity, grazing, inappropriate fire regimes

Benefits to other species/ecological communities
There are no other threatened species or threatened ecological communities in the immediate vicinity of Goodenia integerrima. However, recovery actions implemented to improve the quality or security of the habitat of the species, such as weed control and rehabilitation, will benefit the remnant bushland habitat in which it occurs.

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 Goodenia integerrima 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 any significant adverse social and economic impacts. The species occurs on rises in large salt lakes in a Nature Reserve. It is not known to occur in any areas of Private property.

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. In addition to annual reporting on progress with listed actions and comparison against the criteria for success and failure, the plan is to be reviewed within five years of its implementation.

Guide for decision-makers
Section 1 provides details of current and possible future threats. Any on-ground works (clearing, firebreaks etc) in the immediate vicinity of Goodenia integerrima will require assessment. On ground works should not be approved unless the proponents can demonstrate that they will not have an impact on the taxon, its habitat or potential habitat.