Narrow-petalled Featherflower (Verticordia plumosa var. pleiobotrya) Interim Recovery Plan 2003-2008

Interim Recovery Plan no. 143
Robyn Phillimore and Rebecca Evans, July 2003
Department of Conservation and Land Management
Western Australian Threatened Species and Communities Unit (WATSCU)

Summary

Scientific Name: Verticordia plumosa var. pleiobotrya Common Name: Narrow-petalled featherflower
Family: Myrtaceae Flowering Period: October to November
Dept Region: Swan Dept Districts: Swan Coastal and Perth Hills
Shires: Serpentine-Jarrahdale, Swan Recovery Team: Swan Region Threatened Flora Recovery Team

Illustrations and/or further information: Brown, A., Thomson-Dans, C. and Marchant, N. (Eds). (1998) Western Australia's Threatened Flora. Department of Conservation and Land Management, Western Australia; George, A.S. (1991) New taxa, combinations and typifications in Verticordia (Myrtaceae: Chamelaucieae). Nuytsia 7(3): 231-394; George, E. A. (2002) Verticordia, the turner of hearts. University of Western Australia Press, Perth.

Current status: Verticordia plumosa var. pleiobotrya was declared as Rare Flora under the Western Australian Wildlife Conservation Act 1950 and ranked as Critically Endangered (CR) in September 2000. The variety is also listed as Endangered under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act). It is now recommended to be listed as Vulnerable 'VU' under World Conservation Union (IUCN 2000) Red List criteria B1ab(iii,v)+2ab(iii,v) due to the fragmentation of populations, and a continuing decline in the quality of habitat, and the number of plants. The level of threat to the variety has declined recently as a consequence of the acquisition of the property that contains the largest population of the taxon for conservation, and other recovery actions. The main threats are weed invasion, drainage channel maintenance, rising salinity, road, track and firebreak maintenance, grazing, crushing, degraded habitat, poor regeneration, rabbits, inappropriate fire regimes and dieback disease.

Critical habitat: The critical habitat for Verticordia plumosa var. pleiobotrya comprises the area of occupancy of the known populations; similar habitat within 200 metres of known populations; remnant vegetation that links populations; additional nearby occurrences of similar habitat that do not currently contain the taxon but may have done so in the past and may be suitable for translocations; and the local catchment for the surface and possibly ground waters that provide the winter-wet habitat of the taxon.

Habitat critical to the survival of the species, and important populations: Given that this taxon is listed as threatened it is considered that all known habitat is habitat critical. The largest populations are numbers 2 and 6, and these are considered particularly significant for the continued existence of the taxon.

Benefits to other species/ecological communities: Populations 5 and 6 are located within occurrences of two Threatened Ecological Communities (TECs). Recovery actions implemented to improve the quality or security of the habitat of Verticordia plumosa var. pleiobotrya Populations 5 and 6 are likely to improve the status of the TECs in which the populations are located.

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 Verticordia plumosa var. pleiobotrya 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 taxon.

Social and economic impacts: The implementation of this recovery plan has the potential to have some limited social and economic impact, as some populations are located on 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. The plan is to be reviewed within five years.

Habitat requirements: Verticordia plumosa var. pleiobotrya grows in grey sand, loam and clay on winter-wet flats, in low heath and open shrubland (George 2002).

Existing Recovery Actions: The following recovery actions have been or are currently being implemented:

  1. Land managers have been notified of the location and threatened status of the taxon.
  2. Declared Rare Flora (DRF) markers have been installed at Populations 2 and 5, and Subpopulation 7a.
  3. Dashboard stickers and posters describing the significance of DRF markers have been produced and distributed.
  4. Concrete bollards were placed around the single plant at Population 4 to protect it from trampling.
  5. Private property containing Population 6 of Verticordia plumosa var. pleiobotrya was purchased by the Department of Planning and Infrastructure in 2002. This land will eventually be transferred to the Conservation Commission.
  6. Numerous surveys for this taxon have been undertaken in the Bullsbrook and Serpentine areas by Departmental staff and volunteers.
  7. Weed control and phosphite spraying has been undertaken at Population 2 by the Shire of Serpentine-Jarrahdale, Jarrahdale Land Conservation District (LCDC) and the Roadside Care Volunteers.
  8. The Swan Region Threatened Flora Recovery Team (SRTFRT) is overseeing the implementation of this IRP and will include information on progress in their annual report to the Department's Corporate Executive and funding bodies.
  9. Staff from the Department's Swan Coastal and Perth Hills Districts regularly monitor populations of this taxon.

IRP Objective: 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 taxon in the wild.

Recovery criteria Criteria for success: The number of individuals within populations and/or the number of populations have increased by ten percent or more.
Criteria for failure: The number of individuals within populations and/or the number of populations have decreased by ten percent or more.

Recovery actions
1. Coordinate recovery actions. 11. Develop and implement a fire management strategy
2. Map critical habitat 12. Control rabbits.
3. Collect seed and cutting material. 13. Implement disease hygiene measures.
4. Install Declared Rare Flora markers. 14. Apply phosphite and monitor effects.
5. Undertake weed control. 15. Monitor populations.
6. Install fencing. 16. Seek improved security for populations.
7. Conduct further surveys. 17. Promote awareness.
8. Stimulate the germination of soil-stored seed. 18. Re-evaluate taxonomy.
9. Rehabilitate habitat. 19. Obtain biological and ecological information.
10. Develop and implement a drainage management strategy. 20. Review the need for a full Recovery Plan.