15234: Caroline Gap Reserve Resource Management Strategy – Protecting the granite outcrops

    There are numerous granite outcrops across south-west Australia making up 1% of the landscape. In contrast, these specialised habitats contain 17% of the flora species found in the area. Granite outcrops form unique habitats for multitudes of flora and fauna species, and are also considered important climate change refugia. 

    The granite outcrops targeted in this project support two nationally threatened species: 
    1)Black-flanked Rock-wallaby (Petrogale lateralis lateralis), listed under the Environment Protection Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act (1999) as Vulnerable and under Western Australia' s (WA) Wildlife Conservation Act (1950) as fauna that is rare or likely to become extinct. The granite outcrops support a significant population of this threatened rock-wallaby, which were once spread more widely throughout WA. Five of the outcrops presently support a population of about 250 rock-wallabies, with ongoing improvement of habitat and control of predators these outcrops will sustain a larger more stable population.

    2) Granite Tetratheca (Tetratheca deltoidea), listed as Endangered under the EPBC Act and listed as rare under Schedule 1 of the WA Wildlife Conservation Act 1950. It is endemic to WA and is known from one population at Mt Caroline Nature Reserve. The Commonwealth's Conservation Advice (2008) identifies the main threats to this species as grazing, inappropriate fire regimes, weed invasion and drought. 

    The significant biodiversity on these granite outcrops are threatened by a number of processes, including pest plants (Bridal Creeper (weed of national significance), Ice plant, Cape Weed, and Cape Tulip) and animals (feral cats, foxes, bees and rabbits), inappropriate fire regimes and extreme landscape fragmentation. The region is mostly cleared for agriculture and presently has less than 10% remnant vegetation remaining. 

    This project will create a comprehensive Management Strategy that will guide management decisions for the granite outcrops by considering the whole of landscape context. There has been a range of data collected on the biodiversity values of the sites over the past 30 years and different management practices have been undertaken. However never has there been a detailed resource document to provide details on biodiversity values and priority management requirements. Such a document would ensure that limited available resources to manage this landscape are used to the best possible effect to ensure the long term conservation of this important area. 

    Advice will be sought from Wheatbelt NRM, Parks and Wildlife and stakeholders on appropriate management actions to ensure that the plan provides best practice for long-term management both on and off reserve. This strategy will also provide guidance for future investment by stakeholders.

    Surveys on specific values such as cultural significance and fauna and flora which have already been gathered by Parks and Wildlife, WWF and volunteers will be important resources for the consultant developing the management plan.

    The finished plan will inform the development of 'Interim Management Guidelines' for use by Parks and Wildlife and will provide operational guidance for management actions on-reserve and actions that could be undertaken off-reserve by other stakeholders.

    Investment: $ 42 500
    In-kind contribution: $ 81 540
    Delivery organisation: WWF-Australia
    Location: Nangeen Hill Nature Reserve
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