National recovery plan for the East Lynne Midge Orchid (Genoplesium vernale)

NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, May 2002
ISBN 0 731 36253 5

Proposed Recovery Objectives, Actions and Performance Criteria for 2001-2005

The overall objective of this Recovery Plan is to ensure that all or most natural populations are stable or increasing in size.

Specific Objective 1: Further survey

Action 1.1: Determine the geographic range of the East Lynne Midge Orchid.

Further survey will be carried out to detect additional populations beyond the known distribution of the species and to locate new populations within the known range.

Performance Criterion 1.1

Within two years the geographic range of the species will be established.

Action 1.2: Undertake accurate counts of the numbers of flowering individuals, and determine the extent of local populations at each of the known sites.

Further survey work is needed to more accurately determine the size and extent of the known populations. The first stage of this process, completed in 2000, was to record the number of flowering plants within each population and the area that each population covered. This survey work will be repeated in the next favourable flowering season to confirm the accuracy of the previous work. Due to the limited time available for the 2000 survey, further work will provide a more accurate measure of population size. Such counts should be repeated for all populations in 2005-6, providing seasonal conditions are favourable.

Performance Criterion 1.2

Within three years (providing suitable conditions are experienced in this period) accurate counts of flowering plants and the area occupied for known populations will be obtained.

Specific Objective 2: Sites are afforded appropriate long term protection

Action 2.1: Develop appropriate management strategies for the various populations on State Forests through a Species Specific Management Plan.

The NPWS and SFNSW will develop a Species Specific Management Plan under the auspices of the IFOA for the Southern Region in order to implement appropriate management regimes/protection levels for the various populations of the species on State Forests.

The Management Plan will establish the types of activities appropriate, and area of protection required around each site. Such a plan would allow greater management flexibility across the various sites than is possible under the current IFOA licence conditions. For example, sites of high significance might be afforded greater levels of protection whilst others of lesser significance might be permitted to have higher levels of disturbance.

Performance Criterion 2.1

Within four years a Species Specific Management Plan will have been established to afford appropriate levels of protection for sites on State Forest.

Action 2.2: Advise Shire Councils and the RTA of sites that occur on roadsides and provide information on appropriate management of those sites.

The NPWS will notify Eurobodalla Shire Council, Shoalhaven City Council and the RTA in writing of any East Lynne Midge Orchid sites found to occur on roadsides owned/managed by these agencies and advice will be provided on the appropriate management of these sites. The NPWS will also investigate erecting signs that will assist in the protection of each of these sites.

Performance Criterion 2.2

Within three years the NPWS has notified the appropriate agencies of sites that occur on roadsides and provided information on their appropriate management.

Specific Objective 3: Monitoring

Action 3: Monitoring.

It is recommended that a minimum of four selected sites be monitored annually to establish the extent of year to year variation in such attributes as the extent and timing of flowering and leaf production, and to record the incidence of browsing. All individuals in these monitoring plots should be marked and monitored. The monitoring sites should be selected to sample the species across its geographic range.

It is important to intensively monitor some sites to determine the conditions which induce flowering, the percentage of the population flowering in individual years, how long individuals live and the percentage of flowers that produce seed.

Performance Criterion 3

Within one year a monitoring program will have been developed by NPWS in consultation with the Recovery Team and conducted annually for the life of this Plan.

Specific Objective 4: Investigate the general ecology of the East Lynne Midge Orchid

Action 4.1: Investigate the response of the East Lynne Midge Orchid to fire.

In order to determine the response of this species to fire, eight plots were established in December 2000. Experimental burns of four of these plots were undertaken in April 2001. The response of the marked individuals within the burnt and unburnt plots will be monitored annually during the flowering period for the life of this Plan.

Performance Criterion 4.1

Monitoring of the eight monitoring plots will be conducted annually for five years from December 2001. Information on the initial response of the East Lynne Midge Orchid to fire will be obtained within one year, providing favourable flowering conditions prevail.

Action 4.2: Consider the need for external research into the ecology of the East Lynne Midge Orchid.

As necessary, the Recovery Team and NPWS will encourage relevant institutions to carry out research into the East Lynne Midge Orchid. At this stage it is not clear what specific issues relating to the ecology of the species might require research. The need, or otherwise, for research may become clearer once trends from the monitoring program become available.

Performance Criterion 4.2

If required, within five years contact will be made with research institutions to investigate and promote research projects on the species.

Specific Objective 5: Encourage community involvement in the conservation of the East Lynne Midge Orchid

Action 5: Investigate options to involve community groups in the Recovery Program for the East Lynne Midge Orchid, where appropriate.

Local community groups may be interested in being involved in survey and/or monitoring actions. These groups will be contacted, provided with information about the East Lynne Midge Orchid Recovery Program and encouraged to participate in appropriate actions.

Performance Criterion 5

Within three years of the approval of this Plan a species profile of the East Lynne Midge Orchid, including information about the Recovery Program will be produced by NPWS with the assistance of the Recovery Team and distributed to relevant interested parties. Invitations to participate in appropriate actions to be made within three years.

Specific Objective 6: Maintenance of an effective Recovery Team

Action 6: NPWS to continue to hold Recovery Team meetings at least annually.

Recovery Team meetings will be required on a regular basis (at least annually) to review progress of the Recovery Program and ensure all interested parties are fully informed. If significant new populations are found on land under different ownership, then those new owners are likely to be invited to participate on the Recovery Team.

Performance Criterion 6

A Recovery Team meeting is convened by NPWS at least annually for the life of this Plan.

Implementation

Table 2 shows the allocation of responsibilities for the implementation of Recovery Actions specified in this Plan amongst relevant government agencies and/or parties for a period of five years from the time this Recovery Plan is adopted, and identifies the costs associated with each action. The total estimated cost for the implementation of the Plan is $67,250. The majority of the funds will be provided from existing resources within the NPWS and SF with a contribution of $6,700 from the NHT funding already received from Environment Australia. The majority of the funds provided from the NHT ($18,127) has already been used in undertaking the previous Recovery Actions listed in the Plan.

An additional $ 21,200 is required to implement some of the actions. These additional funds will be sought from various sources, including corporate sponsorship and other external funding sources.

Social and Economic Consequences

The main social benefit of conserving the habitat in which the East Lynne Midge Orchid occurs is in meeting the desire of many in the community that further loss of species and the ecological communities in which they occur, should be prevented.

It is not envisaged that State Forests of NSW will be asked to apply management restrictions beyond those already imposed by the IFOA licence conditions on areas that contain the East Lynne Midge Orchid. Also, most of the known sites occur in currently non-production State Forest, and it is therefore considered that protection of the East Lynne Midge Orchid will have minimal economic impact on current operations.

Biodiversity Benefits

In protecting the East Lynne Midge Orchid, the plant community in which it is found will also be conserved.

Preparation Details

This Recovery Plan was prepared by John Briggs and Genevieve Wright of the NPWS, and edited by Michael Saxon of the NPWS.

It has been formulated with the advice and assistance of the East Lynne Midge Orchid Recovery Team. The Recovery Team is a non-statutory group of expert biologists, landowners/managers and other stakeholders. The Team has been established by the NPWS to discuss and resolve issues relating to the conservation and management of the species.

Review Date

In relation to its status as the State-endorsed Recovery Plan for the East Lynne Midge Orchid, any major changes to this Recovery Plan will require the revised Plan to be placed on public exhibition in NSW and re-approval by the NSW Minister for the Environment. The NPWS, Environment Australia or other Recovery Team members should be contacted if it is believed any change to the Recovery Plan or to the Recovery Program should be considered. This Recovery Plan is to be formally reviewed by the NPWS in conjunction with the Recovery Team within five years from the date of its publication.