National recovery plan for the Milky Emu Bush (Eremophila lactea)
Department of Environment and Conservation, Kensington, 2009
- Scientific Name: Eremophila lactea
- Common Name: Milky Emu Bush
- Family: MYOPORACEAE
- Flowering Period: September - November
- Dept Region: South Coast
- Dept District: Esperance
- Shire: Esperance
- Recovery Team: Esperance District Threatened Flora Recovery Team (EDTFRT)
Illustrations and/or further information:
Atkins, K. (2008) Declared Rare and Priority Flora List for Western Australia. Department of Conservation and Land Management, Western Australia; Chinnock (1985) Five endangered new species of Myoporaceae from south-western Australia. Nuytsia 5 (3): 391-400; Blackall and Grieve (1988) How to know Western Australian Wildflowers I, 2nd Ed.: 56. University of Western Australia Press, Perth; Brown, A., Thomson-Dans, C. and Marchant, N. (Eds). (1998) Western Australia’s Threatened Flora. Department Conservation and Land Management, Perth, Western Australia.
Analysis of outputs and effectiveness of IRP No. 38, Eremophila lactea (1999-2002), prepared by G. Stack and A. Brown.
The criteria for success in the previous plan (the number of individuals within populations and/or the number of populations have increased) has been met, as the number of known populations in the wild has increased from four to six. The number of known plants in wild populations has increased from 547 to the current 1142, an increase of 595 plants. This has occurred as a result of new areas with similar habitat being searched and new populations being found.
Actions carried out through the previous plan include:
Action 1. All populations are monitored on an annual basis
Action 2. Initial investigations have begun into the impact of fire on Eremophila lactea
Action 3. Seed has been collected from 4 populations and placed in long term storage at DEC’s Threatened Flora Seed Centre (TFSC).
Action 5. Further surveys for new populations are being conducted in areas of suitable habitat outside the species’ known range.
Action 6. An information sheet for Eremophila lactea has been produced.
Action 7. An updated Interim Recovery Plan has been prepared.
Actions 1, 2, 3, 5, 6 and 7 in the plan are ongoing and are included in this revised plan.
New recovery actions included in this plan are - coordinate recovery actions, map habitat critical to the survival of the species, conduct fire and disturbance trials, liaise with landholders.
Eremophila lactea was declared as Rare Flora under the Western Australian Wildlife Conservation Act 1950 in October 1996 and ranked as Critically Endangered under World Conservation Union (IUCN) Red List Criteria B1+2ce (IUCN 1994) in November 1998 due to the fragmented nature of populations and a continuing decline in the numbers of mature plants. The species is probably naturally rare as it has only ever been recorded from a very small area of distribution and this rarity has been exacerbated by the extent of clearing for agriculture in the Esperance area. There are 1142 mature plants known from 6 road reserve populations that are threatened by road maintenance, inappropriate fire regimes and the taking of illegal cutting material. The species is listed as Endangered under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act).
Eremophila lactea is an erect spindly shrub to 3.5 m tall that often has drooping branches when old. The five lipped flower tube is very pale and densely glandular-hairy on the outside, while inside the tube is deeper lilac with purple spots and contains long soft hairs. E. lactea is allied to E. psilocalyx, but has thinner, broader leaves, milky exudates on the branches and leaves, smaller sepals and a smaller, glandular-pubescent corolla.
Eremophila lactea is endemic to the Esperance area of Western Australia where it occurs over a range of approximately 19 km in disturbed habitat (for example, following road verge grading) on low lying sandy-loam flats. Habitat is Eucalyptus (including mallee) woodland over a range of shrubs including Melaleuca bromelioides, Halgania andromedifolia, Acacia profusa and Westringia rigida.
Habitat critical to the survival of the species, and important populations:
The habitat critical to the survival of Eremophila lactea comprises the area of occupancy of the known population, similar habitat surrounding the known population and additional nearby occurrences of similar habitat that do not currently contain the species but may have done so in the past and may be suitable for translocations. Given that the species is listed as Critically Endangered it is considered that all known habitat for wild and possible future translocated populations is habitat critical to its survival, and all populations, including translocated populations, are important populations.
Benefits to other species/ecological communities:
Eremophila lactea is found withseveral priority flora species including Acacia amyctica, Eremophila chamaephila and Eucalyptus dolichorhyncha. Recovery actions implemented to improve the quality or security of the habitat of Eremophila lactea will also improve the status of these species and the vegetation in which they occur.
This plan is fully consistent with the aims and recommendations of the Convention on Biological Diversity, ratified by Australia in 1993, and will assist in implementing Australia’s responsibilities under that convention. This species is not specifically listed under any international treaty and therefore does not affect Australia’s obligations under any other international agreements.
Role and interests of Indigenous people:
According to the Department of Indigenous Affairs Aboriginal Heritage Sites Register, no sites occur within the area inhabited by Eremophila lactea. However, the involvement of the Indigenous community is currently being sought to determine whether there are any issues or interests identified in the Plan. If no role is identified for Indigenous communities in the recovery of this species, opportunities may exist through cultural interpretation and awareness of the species.
The advice of the South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council (SWALSC) and Department of Indigenous Affairs is being sought to assist in the identification of potential Indigenous management responsibilities for land occupied by threatened species, or groups with a cultural connection to land that is important for the species' conservation.
Continued liaison between DEC and the Indigenous community will identify areas in which collaboration will assist implementation of recovery actions.
Stakeholders potentially affected by the implementation of this plan include the Shire of Esperance, DEC, and potentially the owners of private property in close proximity to populations.
Social and economic impact:
Most known populations occur on Shire Road Verge managed by the Shire of Esperance and negotiations will continue with the Shire in regard to the future management of Eremophila lactea populations in these areas. One subpopulation of Eremophila lactea (1b) is located in close proximity to private property and recovery actions refer to continued liaison with the owners in regard to this site.
Evaluation of the Plans Performance:
DEC in conjunction with the EDTFRT, will evaluate the performance of this recovery plan.
Completed recovery actions
- Land managers have been notified of the presence of Eremophila lactea.
- Declared Rare Flora (DRF) markers have been installed.
- Populations are being monitored.
- Some biological and ecological information has been obtained.
- Seedhas been collected.
- Surveys have been undertaken.
- Fire and soil disturbance trials have been undertaken.
Recovery Plan Objective:
The objective of this recovery plan is to abate identified threats and maintain viable in situ populations of Eremophila lactea to ensure the long-term preservation of this species in the wild.
Criteria for success:
The number of populations have increased and/or the number individuals within populations have increased by ten percent or more over the five year term of this plan.
Criteria for failure:
The number of populations have decreased and/or the number of individuals within populations has decreased by ten percent or more over the five year term of this plan.
- Coordinate recovery actions
- Map habitat critical to the survival of Eremophila lactea
- Monitor populations
- Conduct further surveys
- Conduct further fire and disturbance trials
- Develop and implement a fire management strategy
- Liaise with landholders and land managers
- Collect seed
- Promote awareness
- Obtain biological and ecological information
- Review the recovery plan and assess the need for further recovery action