Spiral flag Patersonia spirafolia interim recovery plan 2004-2009

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

3. Recovery Actions

Existing recovery actions

All relevant land managers have been notified of the location and threatened status of the species, including private property owners who live adjacent to road reserve populations. Western Power has also been notified as they have operations near Population 4. The notification details the Declared Rare status of P. spirafolia and associated legal obligations.

Declared Rare Flora (DRF) markers have been installed at Populations 2, 3, 4 and 5. These alert maintenance workers to the presence of each population, and help to ensure that people working in the area take appropriate care. CALM staff from Moora District liaise with Western Power at both operational and managerial levels to ensure that they are familiar with the purpose and location of DRF markers as well as their location at Population 5, next to an access track used by their contractors. The Shire of Dandaragan and CSR Emolium ( Main Roads WA consultants) are also aware of these markers and their meaning.

There are currently three P. spirafolia plants in the Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority (BGPA) Nursery. BGPA records indicate that another three individuals were planted into the Botanic Gardens, although these couldnt be located recently, and may have died (A. Shade

Amanda Shade, Horticulturalist, Botanic Garden and Parks Authority, pers. comm.). These plants were all grown from seed collected from Population 1 in January 1997 by CALMs Threatened Flora Seed Centre (Anne Cochrane, Manager, CALMs Threatened Flora Seed Centre, pers. comm.).

The presence of Phytophthora cinnamomi has been tested and confirmed in the vicinity of Population 5. Strict dieback hygiene is practiced in this area by CALM and Shire staff.

An inactive gravel pit occurs in the habitat of Population 5. This has been ripped, and some regeneration of heath species is occurring.

A protection burn was carried out near Population 1 in September 2001. Early protection burning was carried out around the main population, and then a buffer burn was carried out along parts of the northern edge of the National Park. Unfortunately, the plants excluded from this burning operation were burnt in a wildfire in December 2002. Little regeneration was noted in April 2003, but post-fire regeneration will continue to be monitored. Population 5 was burnt in the same fire, and regeneration at that site was vigorous when monitored in August 2003. However, Population 1 occurred in crevices in virtual caprock in many places, and would have been exposed to much hotter temperatures.

A double-sided information sheet has been prepared, and includes a description of P. spirafolia, its habitat, threats, recovery actions and photos. This will be printed, and distributed to the general public through local libraries, wildflower shows and other avenues. It is hoped that this may result in the discovery of new populations, as well as encourage awareness of rare flora and native vegetation generally.

Patersonia spirafolia also appears in a handbook that lists Declared Rare Flora that occur on roadsides in the Shire of Dandaragan (Smith and Broun 2003). The handbook was produced by the West Midlands Natural Resource Management Group (WM NRM Group), with funding through the World Wide Fund for Natures Threatened Species Network Community Grant scheme, and in partnership with staff from CALMs Moora District. Through this project, staff and associates of the WM NRM Group have been trained in survey techniques and identification of this species and other Rare Flora in the area.

Staff from CALMs Moora District regularly monitor all populations of this species. Population 5 was surveyed in 2004 with the assistance of a number of community members, including many from the Jurien Bay Regional Herbarium.

The Moora District Threatened Flora and Communities 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 P. spirafolia 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:$1,500 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 Patersonia spirafolia.

Action:Liaise with relevant land managers
Responsibility:CALM (Moora District) through the MDTFRT

Cost:$1,400 per year

4. Maintain dieback hygiene

Phytophthora cinnamomi (dieback) is known to occur in the vicinity of Population 5. Standard dieback hygiene practices will be followed to minimise the spread and impact of this disease. The susceptibility of Patersonia spirafolia is unknown. However, many components of the species-rich heath in which this species occurs are typically susceptible to the disease. Changes in vegetation structure such as alterations to canopy cover are likely to impact this species by changing localised characteristics of temperature, humidity and shading. Degradation of the community may also reduce pollinator availability and increase weed competition.

Action:Maintain dieback hygiene
Responsibility:CALM (Moora District) through the MDTFRT
Cost:$500 per year

5. Assess dieback susceptibility

The susceptibility of this species to dieback is unknown. It is anticipated to be low due to a suspected ability to produce new roots annually, but testing will confirm the actual level of threat to this species.

Action:Assess dieback susceptibility
Responsibility:CALM (Science Division), BGPA through the MDTFRT
Cost:$1,000 in second year

6. Monitor populations

Annual monitoring of factors such as habitat degradation (including plant diseases such as Phytophthora cinnamomi, 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 growth. Populations 1 and 5 were burnt by wildfire in December 2002. Monitoring for regeneration is necessary at these populations. The condition of Population 1 is of particular interest, as the presence or absence of several hundred plants on secure conservation tenure dramatically affects the conservation status of the species.

Action:Monitor populations
Responsibility:CALM (Moora District) through the MDTFRT
Cost:$1,400 per year

7. Conduct further surveys

Further surveys by CALM staff and community volunteers are a high priority for this species, as extensive areas of suitable habitat occur within National Park and on private property. Surveys will be concentrated in the flowering period of the species (October-November). Records of areas surveyed will be sent to Wildlife Branch and retained at the districts, even if Patersonia spirafolia is not located.

Action:Conduct further surveys
Responsibility:CALM (Moora District) through the MDTFRT
Cost:$2,000 per year

8. Develop and implement a fire management strategy

It is thought likely that fire destroys above ground parts of the plant, and that regeneration occurs from the rhizome of mature plants as well as 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 if possible. Occasional fire may be employed with care when it is being used for necessary fuel reduction in the National Park, or experimentally as a recovery tool. A fire management strategy will be developed in consultation with land managers to determine fire control measures and a recommended fire frequency and intensity.

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

9. 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. The germplasm stored will include seed and live plants in cultivation. A very small quantity of seed was collected from Population 1, and this was germinated and given to BGPA Nursery to grow on, and resulted in six plants. No seed has yet been placed in storage, and collections are required from all populations to maintain adequate representation of the genetic diversity of this taxon. The patterns of viability that emerge from standard tests on seed collected may indicate the need for other recovery actions. For example, if viability is consistently low, it may be appropriate to conduct some hand pollination trials. Germinants produced during viability testing will be grown on to increase the living collection at BGPA.

Action:Collect seed
Responsibility:CALM (TFSC, Moora District) through the MDTFRT
Cost:$2,700 per year

10. 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 printed that includes 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 Dandaragan. 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 thereafter

11. Obtain biological and ecological information

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

  1. Soil seed bank dynamics, including seedbank location and viability.
  2. The role of various disturbances (including fire), competition, rainfall and grazing in germination and recruitment.
  3. The pollination biology of the species.
  4. The requirements of pollinators.
  5. The reproductive strategies, phenology and seasonal growth of the species.
  6. The population genetic structure, levels of genetic diversity and minimum viable population size.

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

12. 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 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:$20,300 in the fifth year (if full Recovery Plan required)