Wetland flora survey Murray Drainage and Water Management Plan and



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Wetland flora survey

Murray Drainage and Water Management Plan and

Associated Studies

This report was prepared for the Department of Water

September 2010



61/23937/03/102989

Murray Drainage and Water Management Plan and Associated Studies

Wetland flora survey

Contents

1.

Introduction



1

1.1


Background

1

1.2



Aim of Study

1

1.3



Location

1

1.4



Existing Natural Environment

3

1.5



Vegetation

3

1.6



Environmentally Sensitive Areas

4

1.7



Flora

5

1.8



Methodology

7

2.



Results

10

2.1



Vegetation

10

2.2



Flora

37

3.



Report Limitations

42

4.



References

43

Table Index



Table 1

Wetlands in the Murray Catchment selected for

flora and vegetation assessment

2

Table 2



EPBC Listed Protected Flora that may occur in the

project area.

5

Table 3


Priority Flora identified from NatureMap as

occurring within the vicinity of selected wetlands for

the Murray Flood study area

6

Table 4



Limitations and constraints associated with the

Murray wetlands flora and vegetion assessment.

8

Table 5


Vegetation types present along the survey transect

of UFI 3945

11

Table 6


Vegetation types present along the survey transect

of UFI 5724

13

Table 7


Vegetation types present along the survey transect

of UFI 5180

16

Table 8


Vegetation types present along the survey transect

of UFI 7046

17


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Wetland flora survey

Table 9

Vegetation types present along the survey transect



of UFI 7029

20

Table 10



Vegetation types present along the survey transect

of UFI  4835 (north)

23

Table 11


Vegetation types present along the survey transect

of UFI  4835 (South)

25

Table 12


Vegetation types present along the survey transect

of UFI  5032

28

Table 13


Vegetation types present along the survey transect

of UFI  5056

32

Table 14


Priority Flora identifed as occuring within the

wetland quadrats

40

Table 15


Conservation Categories and Definitions for EPBC

Act Listed Flora and Fauna Species

46

Table 16


Conservation Codes and Descriptions for DEC

Declared Rare and Priority Flora Species

46

Table 17


Flora identified as being present in the quadrats

along the transect of UFI 3945

47

Table 18


Flora identified as being present in the quadrats

along the transect of UFI 5724

48

Table 19


Flora identified as being present in the quadrats

along the transect of  UFI 5180

51

Table 20


Flora identified as being present in the quadrats

along the transect of UFI 7046

53

Table 21


Flora identified as being present in the quadrats

along the transect of  UFI 7029

55

Table 22


Flora identified as being present in the quadrats

along the transect of  UFI 4835 North

58

Table 23


Flora identified as being present in the quadrats

along the transect of UFI 4835 South

60

Table 24


Flora identified as being present in the quadrats

along the transect of  UFI 5032

62

Table 25


Flora identified as being present in the quadrats

along the transect of  UFI 5056

65

 Appendices



A

Figures


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Murray Drainage and Water Management Plan and Associated Studies

Wetland flora survey

1. Introduction

1.1

Background

1.2

Aim of Study

GHD has been commissioned by the Department of Water (DoW) to prepare a

Drainage and Water Management Plan (DWMP) for the Murray area.  This plan will

provide guidance to the Department of Planning, the Shire of Murray, land owners and

potential developers to inform future land use planning processes in the area.

A scientific understanding of surface and groundwater regimes and the Ecological

Water Requirements (EWR’s) of wetland biosystems in the study area is required as

part of the planning process. The purpose of this investigation was to undertake

baseline monitoring of the vegetation and flora along transects within the wetlands

surveyed.  The purpose of undertaking the vegetation monitoring along a transect (as

opposed to quadrats within each identified vegetation type within a wetland) was to

identify how the vegetation and flora relates to the ground water gradient.



1.3

Location

The Murray Drainage and Water Management Plan study area (Figure 1) lies within

the Murray Catchment which encompasses an area from Keysbrook in the north to

Mandurah in the west and Pinjarra in the south.



1.3.1  Wetland 

Selection

Wetlands surveyed as part of this investigation were were selected by a process of

elimination in consultation with the landowners, DoW and the Department of

Environment and Conservation (DEC).

A desktop analysis of the following data sets was undertaken as part of the initial

selection process:

Recent aerial photography;

Geomorphic Wetlands of the Swan Coastal Plain data set; and

Aboriginal sites of significance.

This desktop assessment identified a series of wetlands that met the following criteria:

conservation category wetland;

representative of a range of wetland types, not influenced hydrologically by the

Peel Harvey Estuary (this eliminated all of the riparian and estuarine wetland sites);

geographically located across the entire catchment;

wetlands with “good” or better vegetation condition that had a vegetated buffer; and

wetlands not located within an Aboriginal site of significance.



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Murray Drainage and Water Management Plan and Associated Studies

Wetland flora survey

Landowners of wetlands identified from the desktop assessment were contacted and

permission was obtained to undertake the following:

surveying a transect,

base line monitoring of the vegetation along the transect, and

installing monitoring bores within proximity of the wetland.

Wetlands where permission to undertake monitoring was denied were removed from

the list of potential study sites.

Wetlands where permission was obtained to undertake the monitoring were then

ground-truthed and assessed for suitability.  During the ground-truthing phase,

wetlands that were highly altered or degraded were eliminated.  These wetlands have

beenn included in a separate desktop assessment report.

After this process of elimination, the final selection of wetlands for detailed assessment

of the vegetation was made. These wetlands are listed in Table 1 and their respective

locations are shown in Figure 1.



Table 1

Wetlands in the Murray Catchment selected for flora and vegetation

assessment

Wetland

UFI

Property Reference

Management

Category

Wetland

Type

3945


Lot name 2978  (Reserve R35077)

Pinjarra Rd, Furnissdale (Department of

Planning, State Land Services)

Conservation Sumpland

5724

west


Lot name 243, (lot number 2),  Benden

Rd, Nambeelup (Lot 243 Pty Ltd)

Conservation Sumpland

5724


east

Lot name 246 (lot number 221) Benden

Rd,  Nambeelup (Twin Ocean

Nambeelup Pty Ltd)

Conservation Sumpland

5180


east

Lot name 246 (lot number 221) Benden

Rd,  Nambeelup (Twin Ocean

Nambeelup Pty Ltd)

Resource

Enhancement

Sumpland

7046


Lot number 899 Elliott Rd, Keysbrook

Conservation Sumpland

7029

Lot number 999 Elliott Rd Keysbrook



Conservation Palusplain

4835


north

Lot number 1019 Lakes Rd, Nambeelup

(Hawkview Holdings Pty Ltd)

Conservation Sumpland

4835

south


Lot name 221 Lakes Rd, Nambeelup

(Twin Ocean Nambeelup Pty Ltd)

Conservation Sumpland

5032


Lot number 98 Nambeelup Rd,

Nambeelup (Passio Pty Ltd)

Conservation Sumpland

5056


south

Lot number 323 Moores Rd and Lot

number 348 Pinjarra Rd, Pinjarra (Shire

Conservation Palusplain



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Murray Drainage and Water Management Plan and Associated Studies

Wetland flora survey



Wetland

UFI

Property Reference

Management

Category

Wetland

Type

of Murray Reserve)

5056

north


Lot number 384 Pinjarra Rd, Pinjarra

(Department of Planning, State Land

Services)

Conservation Dampland



1.3.2  Wetland 

transects

Monitoring transects were set up across each of the wetlands.  The transects were

established across the widest portion of the wetland along the ground water gradient.

Each of the monitoring transects were surveyed and the surface heights (mHD)

recorded along the transect.  The surveyor’s information was used to determine the

location of the vegetation monitoring quadrats along the transects.



1.4

Existing Natural Environment

1.4.1  Bioregional 

Context

Western Australia supports 53 biogeographical subregions.  The study area is located

in the Perth Subregion of the Swan Coastal Plain.  The Swan Coastal Plain Bioregion

is a low-lying coastal plain, mainly covered with woodlands.  It is dominated by Banksia

(Banksia sp.) or Tuart (Eucalyptus gomphocephala) on sandy soils, Swamp Sheoak

(Casuarina obesa) on outwash plains and Paperbark (Melaleuca sp.) in swampy areas.

The Perth Subregion includes a complex series of seasonal wetlands and also

includes the many islands found offshore from Perth (McKenzie et al., 2002).



1.4.2  Beard 

Mapping

According to Beard (1979), the vegetation of the study area is located within the

Drummond Botanical Subdistrict of the Swan Coastal Plain Subregion.  All of the

selected wetlands of the project area occur within Beard’s Vegetation complex 1000

which is described as a swampy plain with a mosaic of Eucalyptus marginata,

Corymbia calophylla woodland, Banksia attenuata , Banksia menziesii low woodland

and a low forest of Melaleuca rhaphiophylla or M. cuticularis.



1.5

Vegetation

1.5.1  Vegetation 

Complexes

According to mapping by Heddle et al. (1980), the vegetation complex of the all but

one of the selected wetlands (i.e. UFI 5718) and surrounding areas is considered to be

Bassendean Complex Central and South.  This vegetation complex is characterised

by: Woodland of E. marginata - C. calophylla with well defined second storey of

Allocasuarina fraseriana and Banksia grandis on the deeper soils and a closed scrub


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Murray Drainage and Water Management Plan and Associated Studies

Wetland flora survey

on the moister sites.  The understorey species reflect similarities with adjacent

vegetation complexes.

UFI 5718 occurs within the Southern River Complex.  This vegetation complex is

characterised by: Open woodland of Corymbia calophylla – Eucalyptus marginata –



Banksia species with fringing woodland of Eucalyptus rudis – Melaleuca rhaphiophylla

along creek beds.



1.5.2 

Threatened 

Ecological 

Communities

Ecological communities are defined as ‘naturally occurring biological assemblages that

occur in a particular type of habitat’ (English and Blythe, 1997).  TECs are ecological

communities that have been assessed and assigned to one of four categories related

to the status of the threat to the community, i.e. Presumed Totally Destroyed, Critically

Endangered, Endangered, and Vulnerable.

Some TECs are protected under the EPBC Act (DEWHA, 2010).  Although TECs are

not formally protected under the State Wildlife Conservation Act 1950, the loss of, or

disturbance to, some TECs triggers the EPBC Act.  The Environmental Protection

Authority’s (EPA’s) position on TECs states that proposals that result in the direct loss

of TECs are likely to require formal assessment.

Possible TECs that do not meet survey criteria are added to the DEC’s Priority

Ecological Community (PEC) Lists under Priorities 1, 2 and 3.  These are ecological

communities that are adequately known; are rare but not threatened, or meet criteria

for Near Threatened.  PECs that have been recently removed from the threatened list

are placed in Priority 4.  These ecological communities require regular monitoring.

Conservation Dependent ecological communities are placed in Priority 5.

A search of the DEC’s Threatened and Priority Ecological Communities database was

conducted for the Project Area prior to undertaking the field survey.  One of the

wetlands was identified as having an occurrence of a TEC.  UFI 5056 has an

occurrence of SCP 9 which is “dense shrublands on clay flats”.  This TEC is listed as

vulnerable by the WA State Government.



1.6

Environmentally Sensitive Areas

All conservation category wetlands are mapped with a buffer and are classified as

environmentally sensitive areas (ESA’s).  ESA’s also apply to areas where there are

known occurrences of threatened ecological communities, declared rare flora and

other significant environmental values.

With the exception of one resource enhancement wetland, all of the wetlands in the

study area are conservation category wetlands and therefore covered by an ESA.  The

resource enhancement wetland UFI 5180 also has an ESA associated with it.  A

portion of this wetland is an Environmental Protection Policy (EPP) Lake. EPP Lakes

are also ESA’s.



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Murray Drainage and Water Management Plan and Associated Studies

Wetland flora survey



1.7

Flora

1.7.1  Significant 

Flora

Commonwealth Legislation

Species of significant flora are protected under both State and Commonwealth Acts.

Any activities that are deemed to have a significant impact on species that are

recognised by the EPBC Act and the Wildlife Conservation Act 1950 can trigger

referral to the DEWHA and/or the EPA.

A description of Conservation Categories delineated under the EPBC Act is detailed in

Table 15, Appendix B.   These are applicable to threatened flora and fauna species.

A search of the EPBC Act Protected Matters Search Tool (DEWHA, 2010) identified 10

Commonwealth protected flora species.  These are listed in Table 2:

Table 2

EPBC Listed Protected Flora that may occur in the project area.

Species

EPBC Status

Occurrence

Anthocercis gracilis

Slender Tailflower

Vulnerable

Species or species habitat

likely to occur within area

Caladenia huegelii

King Spider-orchid, Grand Spider-

orchid, Rusty Spider-orchid

Endangered

Species or species habitat

likely to occur within area



Darwinia sp. Muchea (B.J.Keighery

2458)

Muchea Bell

Critically

Endangered

Species or species habitat

likely to occur within area



Drakaea elastica

Glossy-leaved Hammer-orchid,

Praying Virgin

Endangered

Species or species habitat

likely to occur within area



Drakaea micrantha Hopper &

A.P.Brown nom. inval.

Dwarf Hammer-orchid

Vulnerable

Species or species habitat

likely to occur within area

Lasiopetalum pterocarpum

Wing-fruited Lasiopetalum

Endangered

Species or species habitat

likely to occur within area

Lepidosperma rostratum

Beaked Lepidosperma

Endangered

Species or species habitat

likely to occur within area

Synaphea sp. Fairbridge Farm

(D.Papenfus 696)

Selena's Synaphea

Critically

Endangered

Species or species habitat

known to occur within area



Synaphea sp. Pinjarra (R.Davis

6578)

Club-leafed Synaphea

Critically

Endangered

Species or species habitat

known to occur within area



Synaphea stenoloba

Dwellingup Synaphea

Endangered

Species or species habitat

known to occur within area


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Murray Drainage and Water Management Plan and Associated Studies

Wetland flora survey

The wetlands of the Murray Flood Study Project Area contain suitable habitat for most

species listed in Table 2.



State Legislation

In addition to the EPBC Act, significant flora in Western Australia is protected by the



Wildlife Conservation Act 1950.  This Act, which is administered by the DEC, protects

DRF species.  The DEC also maintains a list of priority listed flora species.

Conservation codes for flora species are assigned by the DEC to define the level of

conservation significance.

Priority listed flora are not currently protected under the Wildlife Conservation Act

1950.  Priority listed flora may be rare or threatened, but cannot be considered for

declaration as rare flora until adequate surveys have been undertaken of known sites

and the degree of threat to these populations clarified.  Special consideration is often

given to sites that contain priority listed flora, despite them not having formal legislative

protection.  A description of the DEC’s Conservation Codes that relate to flora species

is provided in Table 16, Appendix B.

Prior to conducting the field survey, a NatureMap search of each of the wetlands (1km

search radius) was undertaken to ascertain if there were any Declared Rare or Priority

Listed Flora present. NatureMap searches were undertaken using the following

databases:

The Department’s ‘Declared Rare and Priority Flora List’, which contains species

that are Declared Rare (Conservation Code R or X for those presumed to be

extinct), poorly known (Conservation Codes 1, 2 or 3), or require monitoring

(Conservation Code 4); and

the ‘Western Australian Herbarium Specimen’ database.

The DEC Database searches revealed a range of Declared Rare Flora and Priority

flora species that may potentially occur in the area.

The results of the Rare and Priority Flora identified from the NatureMap search are

presented in Table 3.

Table 3

Priority Flora identified from NatureMap as occurring within the

vicinity of selected wetlands for the Murray Flood study area

Species

Conservation Code  Wetland UFI

Acacia benthamii

P2

5056



Acacia lasiocarpa var bracteolate long

peduncle variant

P1

5032


Anthonium junciforme

P4

5056



Dillwynia dillwynoides

P3

3945, 5056



Diuris purdiei Purdies Donkey Orchid

DRF


5056

Drosera occidentalis subsp

P4

5056



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Murray Drainage and Water Management Plan and Associated Studies

Wetland flora survey



Species

Conservation Code  Wetland UFI

occidentalis

Caladenis speciosa

P4

5032



Grevillea bipinnatifida subsp pagna

P4

5056



Jacksonia sericea

P4

3945



Johnsonia pubescens subsp

cygnorum

P2

4835, 5032



Microtis quadrata

P4

5056



Stylidium longitubum

P3

7046, 5056



Synaphea stenoloba

DRF


5056

Rhodanthe pyrethrum

P3

5056



Schoenus benthamii

P3

5056



Schoenus pennisetis

P1

5056



Triptococcus paniculatus

P1

5056



1.8

Methodology

1.8.1 Flora

A spring flora survey was undertaken by GHD botanists, Georgina Nielssen, Gaynor

Owen, and Christine Best, all of whom have experience in conducting surveys of

wetlands on the Swan Coastal Plain. The spring flora survey was undertaken with

reference to Guidance Statement 51, Guidelines for Terrestrial Flora and Vegetation

Surveys for Environmental Impact Assessment in Western Australia (EPA, 2004).

Data collected during the vegetation and flora surveys was initially proposed to be

undertaken by assessing 10 x 10m plots along a transect every 0.1m change in the

surface height.  However, this method was determined not to be practical in the field

due to the presence of standing water in some wetlands and thick understorey

vegetation in others.

The transects were surveyed and spot heights determined prior to the flora and

vegetation assessments. The location of the quadrats was plotted on the transects to

determine the exact surface height where the quadrats were located.  In addition to the

surface height values, the boundary of each community type was identified and located

using a GPS.


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