09054: Protection by prevention: protecting priority areas from dieback – eastern South Coast

    Dieback-affected banksia scrubland. Courtesy South Coast Natural Resource Management Inc.
    Dieback-affected banksia scrubland. Courtesy South Coast Natural Resource Management Inc.

    National parks and other conservation lands with varying levels of environmental protection are called the 'conservation estate', in total. 

    Vegetation systems that are poorly represented in WA's conservation estate are the Alexander Bay and Kennedy's reserves in the Shire of Esperance and off-reserve areas between the Fitzgerald River and Cape Arid national parks.

    These systems contain up to 44 threatened flora populations and some of the last stands of banksia species in the state that are free of dieback disease.

    With the help of funding from the State NRM Program, South Coast Natural Resource Management Inc. established a project to protect priority areas within these sites from the introduction of dieback through:

    • clean 'on entry' areas
    • disease hygiene plans for soil and gravel movement
    • a best-practice model for the local timber industry.

    Local stakeholders were also engaged to improve understanding and ownership of the dieback issue and to become involved in active dieback protection.

    The model developed as part of this project sets a new benchmark for the timber industry for managing remnant vegetation. Potentially, the model offers statewide benefits in protecting off-reserve priority remnant vegetation.

    Investment: $ 128 218
    In-kind contribution: $ 7 227
    Delivery organisation: South Coast Natural Resource Management Inc.
    Project duration: September 2010 - September 2011
    Location: South Coast region—Esperance sand plain and Fitzgerald Biosphere

    Major project achievements

    • 8000 ha remnant vegetation surveyed to identify dieback protection areas.
    • 20 dieback protection areas covering 3600 ha remnant vegetation identified, and signature and hygiene plans developed for each.
    • Report developed outlining best-practice methodology for determining protectable areas.
    • 9 tracks blocked and rehabilitated to reduce possible introduction or spread of Phytophthora.
    • 3 tracks upgraded and repaired to prevent wet areas that may harbour and spread disease.
    • Recreation areas upgraded to reduce potential for disease to be harboured, picked up and spread to other areas by recreational users.
    • 8 wash-down units supplied to strategic centres to enable basic dieback hygiene before entering the field.
    • Sampling regime and database created to monitor the spread of dieback, and to contribute to the State Dieback Atlas and other databases.
    • 168 community stakeholders engaged in dieback awareness training.
    • 10 key agencies engaged in dieback awareness training.
    • 3 key agencies initiated policy inclusion in management practices.
    • 6 key agencies practicing hygiene in the field through implementation of hygiene kits in vehicles.
    • Report developed outlining baseline stakeholder knowledge and behaviours.
    • 8 information workshops held to increase dieback awareness. Participants represented 17 groups and agencies.
    • 2 field workshops held to detail hygiene procedures using practical methods. There were 23 attendees from three agencies.
    • Elders Forestry Best-Practice Management Model developed. This model was specifically developed for the plantation industry to facilitate dieback best practice management to protect native vegetation. Implementation of the model is helping to safeguard 3600 ha of priority high-quality dieback-free vegetation on private property.

    Project partners

    Esperance Senior High School; Elders Forestry; Great Southern Biologic; Shire of Esperance; Transfield Services Ltd; Fire and Emergency Services Authority; Department of Environment and Conservation; St John Ambulance; State Emergency Services; Department of Fisheries WA; Bushfire Brigade; earthmoving contractors

    More information

    South Coast Natural Resource Management Inc. (08) 9845 8537 or

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