Thick-billed Grasswren (Eastern Subspecies) (Amytornis textilis modestus) (North, 1902) Recovery Plan

NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, July 2002
ISBN 0 7313 65143

11 Alternative management strategies

11.1 Option 1 - Nominate the species as 'Presumed Extinct'

The Thick-billed Grasswren underwent a dramatic contraction of its distribution in NSW at the end of the 19th century. The most recent record was from an egg collector in 1956 and was only recently reported in scientific literature (McAllan 2000). There has been some discussion as to the accuracy of the collector's identification and the subsequent validity of the record. Should the record be discounted the Thick-billed Grasswren would no longer meet the criteria for an Endangered species under the TSC Act and should be removed from Part 1 of Schedule 1 and listed under Part 4, 'Presumed Extinct'.

This strategy is not considered appropriate as the NSW Scientific Committee has indicated in correspondence that the record is acceptable and that the Thick-billed Grasswren should remain as Endangered until its status in NSW is officially reviewed in 2007. The actions in this Plan seek to determine the status of the species in NSW prior to any official review.

11.2 Option 2 - No management action taken

The cause of the dramatic range contraction of the Thick-billed Grasswren is thought to be the result of severe drought and extraordinarily high stocking rates at the turn of the 20th century. These events may have caused a permanent change in the structure and distribution of the species preferred habitat of chenopod shrublands across the state. Following these events the species apparently persisted within areas of the far west and north west where the impacts associated with high stocking rates would have been minimal, as indicated by the last known record of the species being obtained in 1956 near Tibooburra. To this day the species may still occur in these areas of NSW and has simply remained undetected. Given this, an option of no active management could be suggested.

This option is not considered appropriate as NSW NPWS has a statutory responsibility under the TSC Act to conserve biodiversity and recover threatened species. Given the documented history of the species in NSW and the fact that certain threatening process are still operating, there is a necessity for active management to ensure the conservation of the species. Failure to do so could result in the species unnoticed extinction in NSW.

11.3 Undertake immediate active management

Active management could be undertaken in those areas likely to contain viable populations based on the existence of suitable habitat. Active management could include regulation of pastoral activities, promotion of Voluntary Conservation Agreements and land acquisitions.

This option is considered inappropriate given the lack of recent records. Further active management would only be considered when a future record of the species is obtained in NSW and there was a demonstrated need for action to be taken. Should further management be considered, a cooperative approach involving all stakeholders is advocated.