Wongan Hills Triggerplant (Stylidium coroniforme) Interim Recovery Plan 2003-2008

Interim recovery plan no. 149
Gillian Stack, Nicole Willers and Andrew Brown
Department of Conservation and Land Management, WA, 2003

2. Recovery objective and criteria

Objectives

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

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.

3. Recovery actions

Existing recovery actions

All land managers have been notified of the location and threatened status of Stylidium coroniforme. The notification details the Declared Threatened status of the species and the legal responsibility to protect it.

Using funding contributed by Main Roads a rehabilitation project has been undertaken in the gravel pit where Population 2 occurs. This has included access restrictions such the closing of access tracks with padlocked gates, press releases to raise public awareness of the rehabilitation work and collection of seed from local native species. Some of this seed was grown to seedling stage by DCLM's Narrogin Plant Nursery, with 10,000 seedlings anticipated for planting into the gravel pit.

Populations 3 and 4 have been fenced and DRF markers installed.

Approximately 200 seeds were collected from six plants in Population 1 in December 1992. A further collection of approximately 28,000 seeds was made from Populations 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 in December 1993. All seeds are stored in DCLM's Threatened Flora Seed Centre (TFSC) at -18°C. Staff of the TFSC test the viability of seed soon after collection and again after one year in storage. The initial germination rate of Stylidium coroniforme seed ranged from 74 to 87%. After one year in storage the germination rate ranged from 67 to 75% with seeds that did not germinate still appearing viable (unpublished data A. Cochrane ¹).

The Botanical Garden and Parks Authority (BGPA) has had success propagating this species by plant division (50% success) and cuttings (85%). However, none of these plants survived for longer than 12 months and it is speculated that the quality of the resulting plants may be poor. The BGPA currently have 19 plants of Stylidium coroniforme derived from tissue culture (Personal communication A. Shade).

Staff from DCLM's Merredin and Geraldton Districts regularly monitor all populations of this species.

The Wongan/Ballidu Threatened Flora Recovery Team (WBTFRT) and Geraldton District Threatened Flora Recovery Team (GDTFRT) are overseeing the implementation of this IRP and will include information on progress in their respective annual reports to DCLM's Corporate Executive and funding bodies.

Future recovery actions

Where populations occur on lands other than those managed by DCLM, permission has been or will be sought from appropriate land managers prior to recovery actions being undertaken.

1. Recovery coordination

The WBTFRT and GDTFRT will coordinate recovery actions for Stylidium coroniforme and other Declared Rare flora in their respective areas and will include information on progress in their annual reports to DCLM's Corporate Executive and funding bodies.

Action: Coordinate recovery actions
Responsibility: DCLM (Merredin and Geraldton Districts) through the WBTFRT and GDTFRT
Cost: $800 per year

2. Recruitment trials

Research will be conducted to identify what needs to be done to achieve a more favourable recruitment regime. Factors such as soil seed-bank dynamics and the role of disturbance, fire, competition, rainfall and grazing in germination and seedling survival will be investigated. These trials will be conducted near existing populations whose plant numbers have markedly declined, particularly Populations 2, 5 and 7.

Action: Conduct recruitment trials
Responsibility: DCLM (Merredin District) through the WBTFRT
Cost: $10,000 in first and second years, $2,000 in subsequent years

3. Weed control

As weeds are a threat to Population 9 weed control will be undertaken in consultation with the current land managers. Control will include hand weeding and localised application of herbicide. All weed control will be followed by a report on the method, timing and success of the treatment and any effect on Stylidium coroniforme and associated native plant species.

Action: Undertake weed control
Responsibility: DCLM (Merredin District) through the WBTFRT
Cost: $1,500 per year

4. Seed collections

Preservation of germplasm is essential to preserve genetic diversity and guard against extinction if wild populations of Stylidium coroniforme are lost. Such collections are also needed to propagate plants for translocations. Seed has been collected from Populations 1 to 5 with 67-75% viability after one year in storage. Collections are also required from other populations.

Action: Collect and store seed
Responsibility: DCLM (TFSC, Merredin and Geraldton Districts) through the WBTFRT and GDTFRT
Cost: $3,000 for the first two years and $1000 in subsequent years

5. Liaison

Land managers have been officially notified of the occurrence of the species. DCLM staff will continue to liaise with them to ensure the populations are not damaged or destroyed accidentally.

Action: Liaise with land managers
Responsibility: DCLM (Merredin and Geraldton Districts) through the WBTFRT and GDTFRT
Cost: $500 per year

6. Care, control and management of habitat

Staff from DCLM's Merredin and Geraldton Districts will liaise with land managers and landowners to ensure that populations of Stylidium coroniforme and the closely related new taxon are not accidentally damaged or destroyed. In addition, ways of improving the security of populations and their habitat will be investigated. This may include conservation covenants, the Land for Wildlife scheme, and possibly land purchase. Protection from clearing will also be sought for remnant vegetation adjacent to Population 2, to allow recovery actions relating to that area (Actions 7 and 12) to take place.

Action: Care, control and management of habitat
Responsibility: DCLM (Merredin and Geraldton Districts) through the WBTFRT and GDTFRT
Cost: $1,000 per year

7. Fire management strategy

Stylidium coroniforme is an opportunistic species that germinates from soil-stored seed following fire and soil disturbance. However, frequent fire will kill plants before they reach maturity and may result in the accumulation of insufficient soil stored seed for regeneration. Except for recovery purposes, fire should be excluded from the area of populations. A fire management strategy will be developed to determine fire control measures and optimum fire frequency.

Action: Develop and implement a fire management strategy
Responsibility: DCLM (Merredin and Geraldton Districts) through the WBTFRT and GDTFRT
Cost: $2,000 in the first year and $1,000 in subsequent years

8. Community awareness

The importance of biodiversity conservation and the need for the long-term protection of wild populations of Stylidium coroniforme will be promoted through poster displays. Formal links with local naturalist groups and interested individuals will also be encouraged. A two sided information sheet will be produced that includes a description of the plant, its habitat, threats, recovery actions and photos.

Action: Promote community awareness
Responsibility: DCLM(Merredin and Geraldton Districts) through the WBTFRT and GDTFRT
Cost: $4,000 in first year, $1,000 in subsequent years

9. Declared Rare Flora markers

Declared Rare Flora (DRF) markers are required on all road reserve populations. These serve to alert people working in the vicinity to the presence of DRF and the need to avoid work that may damage the species or its habitat.

Action: Install DRF markers
Responsibility: DCLM (Merredin and Geraldton Districts) through the WBTFRT and GDTFRT
Cost: $3,000 in first year

10. Monitoring

Annual monitoring of weed invasion, plant diseases such as Phytophthora cinnamomi, rising salinity, population stability (expansion or decline), pollination activity, seed production, recruitment, longevity and predation is essential.

Action: Monitor populations
Responsibility: DCLM (Merredin and Geraldton Districts) through the WBTFRT and GDTFRT
Cost: $2,500 per year

11. Surveys

Surveys by Departmental staff and community volunteers will be conducted during the flowering period of the species (October to February).

Action: Conduct surveys
Responsibility: DCLM (Merredin and Geraldton Districts) through the WBTFRT and GDTFRT
Cost: $4,000 per year

12. Biology and ecology

Better knowledge of the biology and ecology of Stylidium coroniforme will provide a scientific basis for management of wild populations. Note; as the Maya populations are know known to represent a closely related but distinct taxon separate assessment of their biology and ecology is required. An understanding of the following is necessary for effective management:

  1. Pollination biology and reproductive strategies.
  2. Pollinator requirements.
  3. Population genetic structure, levels of genetic diversity and minimum viable population size.
  4. The impact of salinity on Stylidium coroniforme and its habitat.

Action: Obtain biological and ecological information
Responsibility: DCLM (Science Division, Merredin and Geraldton Districts) through the WBTFRT and GDTFRT
Cost: $11,600 per year in the second third and fourth years

13. Review this IRP and revise it or prepare a full Recovery Plan if necessary

This species is currently ranked Endangered and it is unlikely that a Full Recovery Plan will be required. However, at the end of the fourth year of the five-year term of this IRP the need to rewrite this IRP or to replace it with a full Recovery Plan (RP) will be determined.

Action: Review this IRP and revise it or prepare a full Recovery Plan if necessary
Responsibility: DCLM (WATSCU, Merredin and Geraldton Districts) through the WBTFRT and GDTFRT
Cost: $20,300 in the fifth year (if required)