FFC Annual Report 2011-12

ACT FLORA AND FAUNA COMMITTEE THIRTEENTH REPORT 14 SEPTEMBER 2011 – 13 SEPTEMBER 2012

1. BACKGROUND

This report outlines the activities of the ACT Flora and Fauna Committee (FFC) for the period 14 September 2011 to 13 September 2012.

The FFC was established on 12 January 1995 in accordance with amendments to the Nature Conservation Act 1980 (the Act) which came into force on 11 October 1994.

The Minister for Environment and Sustainable Development appoints committee members. The reporting period covers the activities of two committees with a new committee commencing on 1 July 2012.

The FFC met five times during the reporting period. A schedule of meeting dates is at Attachment A.

1.1 Functions

The FFC has specific responsibilities to assess the conservation status of nominated species of flora and fauna and ecological communities in the ACT region and the ecological significance of nominated threatening processes. The FFC makes recommendations to the Minister for the Environment and Sustainable Development, for the declaration and management of species as endangered or vulnerable, according to the degree of threat, for the declaration of ecological communities as endangered and for the declaration of threatening processes. The FFC also provides advice to the Minister in relation to nature conservation issues in the ACT region.

Nominations for declarations under the Act are accepted in accordance with guidelines specified and published by the FFC, which are set out in “Threatened Species and Communities in the ACT: Criteria for Assessment - ACT Flora and Fauna Committee, July 2008”.

1.2 Membership

The Act specifies that the FFC shall consist of seven members with expertise in ecology and biological diversity. A range of disciplines is represented so that collectively the FFC can address a variety of issues with a high degree of competence. Members are appointed by the Minister on a part-time basis . Membership during the reporting period is detailed below. In July 2012 seven members were appointed to the committee for a three year term.

Chair:

  • Professor Arthur Georges University of Canberra, Institute for Applied Ecology.

Deputy Chair:

  • Dr Penny Olsen Australian National University, Division of Botany and Zoology.

Other members:

  • Dr Barry Richardson University of Western Sydney and CSIRO Division of Entomology.
  • Mr Paul Stevenson Parks Australia, Department of Environment and Heritage.
    (appointment ceased 30 June 2012)
  • Dr Margaret Kitchin Conservation, Planning and Research, ACT Environment and Sustainable Development Directorate (formerly Conservation, Planning and Research, ACT Department of Territory and Municipal Services).
  • Dr Richard Schodde Former Commonwealth Scientific Industrial and Research Organisation research scientist
  • Dr Mark Lintermans University of Canberra, Institute of Applied Ecology
    (acting appointment commenced March 2012)
    (appointment commenced 1 July 2012)
  • Dr Jasmyn Lynch University of Canberra, Institute of Applied Ecology
    (appointment commenced 1 July 2012)

More information about FFC members is provided at Attachment B.

1.3 Observers

Representatives from the ACT Heritage Council and the ACT Natural Resource Management Advisory Committee were invited to attend FFC meetings as observers. Their attendance facilitates communication between the three committees. The representative from the ACT Heritage Council was Dr Warren Nicholls. The representative from the ACT Natural Resource Management Advisory Committee was Dr Greg Richards.

1.4 Secretary

The former Manager of Conservation, Planning and Research, ACT Environment and Sustainable Development Directorate, Ms Sharon Lane, was the Secretary to the FFC until January 2012. Senior Manager of the Nature Conservation Policy branch, Ms Heather Tomlinson, was appointed Secretary to the FFC in February 2012.

Administrative support for the FFC was provided by Ms Tegan Liston, Policy Officer within the ACT Environment and Sustainable Development Directorate for the entire reporting period.

2. HIGHLIGHTS OF COMMITTEE BUSINESS

2.1 Assessment of nominations

During the reporting period no species or ecological communities were nominated for assessment. A nomination was received in August 2011 to declare the Snow Gum, Black Sallee, Candlebark and Ribbon Gum Grassy Woodland as an endangered ecological community.

This committee noted that the nomination contained insufficient detail to make an assessment. Declaration was not recommended.

2.2 Declarations

During the reporting period, on the advice of the Committee, the Minister declared the following species endangered.

  • Bossiaea grayi (a shrub)

A current list of declared species and ecological communities, rare species, insufficiently known species and other assessed nominations since the FFC’s establishment in January 1995 is at Attachment C.

2.3 Action Plans

Once a species or community is declared, the Conservator of Flora and Fauna (the Conservator) is obliged to prepare an Action Plan outlining conservation issues and proposed conservation measures for the species/community. The FFC provides advice to the Conservator on whether the proposed Action Plan adequately address’ the conservation requirements of the species/community concerned. Scrutiny of the preparation and implementation of Action Plans is a significant component of the FFC’s work. The FFC considers Action Plans at two stages in the statutory process - the first being on draft Action Plans prior to their release for public comment and the second on finalisation of revised Action Plans following consideration of written submissions.

Draft Action Plans

The FFC provided advice to the ACT Government during development of the following Draft Action Plans:

  • Action Plan No 34. Glossy Black Cockatoo
  • Action Plan No 23. Smoky Mouse
  • Action Plan No 33. Little Eagle

Final Action Plans

The FFC provided advice to the ACT Government during finalisation of the following Action Plans, following a period of public comment on the Draft Action Plan:

  • Action Plan No 6. Northern Corroboree Frog
  • Action Plan No 31. Canberra Spider Orchid
  • Action Plan No 32. Brindabella Midge Orchid

2.4 Review of Action Plan implementation

The FFC undertakes a rolling program to review progress towards Action Plan implementation. During the reporting period the FFC reviewed the ACT Government’s implementation of the following Action Plans:

  • Action Plan No 22. Brush-tailed Rock-wallaby
  • Action Plan No 28. Lowland Native Grassland Conservation Strategy

Progress reports on these Action Plans prepared by Conservation Planning and Research, Environment and Sustainable Development Directorate informed the FFC’s reviews.

2.5 Liaison with NSW and other organisations on regional issues

The FFC exchanges information with the NSW Scientific Committee on a regular basis. Amongst other things, the ACT provides information on ACT determinations and copies of ACT draft and final Action Plans. NSW in turn provides information on Preliminary and Final Determinations made under the Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995. The FFC routinely assesses the determinations made in NSW with the view to identifying any species, communities and threatening processes that warrant consideration from an ACT and region perspective, and if relevant, provides advice to the NSW Scientific Committee on their proposed determinations.

2.6 Liaison with the Commonwealth on national issues

During the reporting period one member and the Secretariat attended a workshop on threats to biodiversity, being facilitated by the Commonwealth Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities.

The Chair attended a teleconference with Chairs of State and Commonwealth Scientific Committees to discuss improving coordination between jurisdictions and the Commonwealth and aligning criteria and approaches to listings.

2.7 Committee role in assessment of nature conservation issues

2.7.1 Advice to ACT Government agencies during development and review of policy, strategies and legislation

With part of the FFC’s charter being to provide advice on nature conservation issues generally, the FFC provided comment and advice on ACT Government documents and other matters referred to it by the Territory and Municipal Services Directorate, Environment and Sustainable Development Directorate and other ACT Government agencies.

The committee provided advice to the ACT Government and agencies on the following.

  • Nature Conservation Act 1980 review
  • Protected Plant List
  • Grey-headed Flying-fox Conservation Agreement
  • Nature Conservation Strategy

2.8 Flora and Fauna Committee Strategic Plan

The FFC undertook activities in line with the outputs of the 2009 – 2012 Strategic Plan.

2.9 Review of the Status of species in the FFC’s working category ‘rare’

The FFC passively maintained the status of the following species in the category of ‘rare’.

  • Kydra Dampiera (Dampiera fusca);
  • Powerful Owl (Ninox strenua);
  • Masked Owl (Tyto novaehollandiae);
  • White-bellied Sea-Eagle (Haliaeetus leucogaster);
  • Large Bentwing Bat (Miniopterus schreibersii).

2.10 Review of the Status of species in the FFC’s working category ‘insufficiently known’

The FFC maintained the working category of ‘insufficiently known’ with the following species.

  • Snow Gum – Candlebark (Eucalyptus pauciflora – E. rubida) Tableland Woodland;
  • Diamond Firetail (Stagonopleura guttata);
  • Flame Robin (Petroica phoenicea);
  • Dusky Woodswallow (Artamus cyanopterus);
  • Crested Shrike-tit (Falcunculus frontatus).
  • Black Gum (Eucalyptus aggregata)

ATTACHMENT A

1. SCHEDULE OF MEETINGS AND ATTENDANCE

SCHEDULE OF MEETINGS AND ATTENDANCE
Member

Meeting No 76 - 28 September 2011

Meeting No. 77 - 7 December 2011

Meeting No. 78 - 7 March 2012

Meeting No. 79 - 12 June 2012 Meeting No. 80 - 5 September 2012

Arthur Georges

a

a

a

a

a

Penny Olsen

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a

a

a

a

Barry Richardson

a

a

a

a

 

Paul Stevenson

 

 

a

a

 

Margaret Kitchin

a

a

a

a

a

Richard Schodde

 

 

a

 

a

Mark Lintermans

 

 

a

 

a

Jasmyn Lynch

 

 

 

 

a

 

 

 

 

 

 

Observer

 

 

 

 

 

Greg Richards

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a

Warren Nicholls

 

 

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2. OUT OF SESSION CONSULTATIONS

  • 25 May 2012 – members held a working group meeting to discuss threatening processes.
  • 10 Feb 2012 – members attended a Nature Conservation Strategy workshop.

ATTACHMENT B - SUMMARY CURRICULUM VITAE FOR MEMBERS OF THE FLORA AND FAUNA COMMITTEE

CHAIRPERSON

Name: Professor Arthur Georges

Expertise: Conservation biology of native Australian species, the ecology, evolution and systematics of Australian reptiles and amphibians, temperature-dependent sex determination.

Position: Professor in Applied Ecology, Institute for Applied Ecology, University of Canberra

Professor Georges is committed to sound fundamental science with a keen interest in its application in natural resource management. He has a strong commitment to bringing about realistic win-win situations where development and conservation come into conflict. Professor Georges has extensive experience and knowledge of the biology and conservation of Australia's reptile and amphibian species. In addition to his work as the Chair of the Flora and Fauna Committee, Professor Georges has contributed his expertise to the Australian Biodiversity Information Facility Committee, ARC Environmental Futures Network (Steering Committee), ACT Natural Resource Management Advisory Committee and the IUCN/SSC Committee on Tortoises and Freshwater Turtles (Steering Committee). 

DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON

Name: Associate Professor Penny Olsen

Expertise: Birds

Position: Associate Professor, ANU

Dr Olsen is a research scientist and author. Her experience and interests are broad, ranging from wildlife management to behavioural ecology. She works as an occasional consultant on other matters of national environmental interest. She also sits on Birds Australia‟s Research and Conservation Committee and represents the organization on the NSW Natural Resources Advisory Council. Dr Olsen has published a number of research papers, books and popular articles on a diversity of subjects including conservation biology and pest management. She is an Associate Professor in the Research School of Biology, The Australian National University, where she supervises post-graduate research students.

OTHER MEMBERS

Name: Dr Margaret Kitchin

Expertise: Fire ecology, native vegetation

Position: Senior Forrest Ecologist, Parks, Conservation and Lands, ACT Government

Dr Kitchin has extensive expertise in fire ecology, particularly in relation to the impact of fire on native Australian vegetation. In her current position she has been responsible for the establishment of the post 2003 vegetation monitoring program, working on the Lower Cotter Catchment management plan and revegetation strategy, input and mapping for the ACT Vegetation Communities project, and coordinating ecological advice for the Conservation and Land Management bushfire operational plan.

Name: Dr Barry Richardson

Expertise: Endangerment theory, conservation genetics, conservation policy, mammals and invertebrates.

Position: Honorary Research Fellow (CSIRO Division of Entomology),

Dr Richardson is a researcher with a broad background including research in endangerment theory, conservation genetics and conservation policy. He has experience in environmental research/taxonomic revisions in mammal, pest mammals, freshwater fish, pelagic and benthic chordates, terrestrial gastropods, insect communities, waste water management, spiders and red listing procedures. He is currently an Honorary Research Fellow (CSIRO Division of Entomology), Dr Richardson is the author and co-author of 101 publications and has supervised over 30 Honours, Masters and PhD students.

Name: Dr Richard Schodde

Expertise: Non-volant mammals, systematics and evolution, population genetics, biodiversity theory and field surveys.

Position: Part-time honorary work at the Australian National Botanic Gardens

Dr Schodde has strong qualifications and relevant research experience in ornithology, non-volant mammals, the systematics and evolution of Australian flora and fauna, genetic diversity of species at the population level, biodiversity theory and field surveys, review of the conservation status of threatened species and ecological botany. Dr Schodde has extensive experience as a senior researcher in positions with the Commonwealth Scientific Industrial and Research Organisation gained over a 30 year career.

Name: Assistant Professor Jasmyn Lynch

Expertise: Conservation biology, plant ecology, rare and threatened plant species, recovery planning and botanical survey work.

Position: Assistant Professor in Environmental Policy, University of Canberra

Assistant Professor Lynch is a conservation ecologist with expertise in research on rare and threatened species; biodiversity patterns and processes; vegetation, climate and geomorphology interactions; wetland assessments and management; and ecological and threatening process frameworks. Research experience from the genetic scale, through species autecology, regional ecology, global patterns of diversity, to the application of science to conservation policy and environmental management. Assistant Professor Lynch has over 20 years experience on environmental issues, having worked with the Australian, Tasmanian, Queensland and Western Australian governments, the University of Queensland, the University of Tasmania and Indigenous representatives of Cape York Peninsula.

Name: Associate Professor Mark Lintermans

Expertise: Ecology and management of aquatic systems, fish and waterbirds, wetlands

Position: Associate Professor of Freshwater Fisheries Ecology and Management, University of Canberra

Associate Professor Lintermans has 27 years experience in the ecology and management of freshwater ecosystems. He led the aquatic ecology research and management program in the ACT Government for 16 years, working predominantly on freshwater fish ecology and management. Associate Professor Lintermans sits on national recovery teams for Trout cod, Murray cod and Macquarie perch and he also convenes the Threatened Fishes Committee of the Australian Society for Fish Biology and is the Australian representative on the IUCN Freshwater Fish Specialist Group. Associate Professor Lintermans has also worked on wetlands, particularly on migratory waterbirds at Jerrabomberra Wetlands. He has presented in excess of 45 formal conference presentations and has authored two books, seven book chapters, five edited proceedings and over 150 papers and reports.

Name: Mr Paul Stevenson

Expertise: Botany, Wildlife Ecology, Fire ecology.

Position: Senior Planning Officer, Parks Australia, Canberra

Mr Stevenson has extensive expertise in nature conservation management, in particular the administration of national threatened species conservation programs. Most recently these have included the development of the Parks Australia Threatened Species Database, nomination and listing of 46 threatened plant species for Norfolk Island and the development of the Australian Alps Natural Treasures Database. He has also been involved in multi-species recovery programs for Norfolk Island, and various individual threatened species recovery programs. Mr Stevenson has extensive experience in management processes that facilitate effective community involvement with the conservation of native species and control of feral animals.

ATTACHMENT C - Complete list of declared species and ecological communities, rare species and insufficiently known species

1. DECLARED ENDANGERED SPECIES

SPECIES SCIENTIFIC NAME

SPECIES COMMON NAME Date of Declaration

Tympanocryptis pinguicolla

Grassland Earless Dragon

15 Apr 1996

Synemon plana

Golden Sun Moth

15 Apr 1996

Prasophyllum petilum

a leek orchid

15 Apr 1996

Gentiana baeuerlenii

a subalpine herb

15 Apr 1996

Swainsona recta

Small Purple Pea

15 Apr 1996

Rutidosis leptorrhynchoides

Button Wrinklewort

15 Apr 1996

Petrogale penicillata

Brush-tailed Rock-wallaby

6 Jan 1997

Macquaria australasica

Macquarie Perch

6 Jan 1997

Maccullochella macquariensis

Trout Cod

6 Jan 1997

Xanthomyza phrygia

Regent Honeyeater

30 May 1997

Pseudomys fumeus

Smoky Mouse

12 Jan 1998

Muehlenbeckia tuggeranong

Tuggeranong Lignum

19 Aug 1998

Lepidium ginninderrense

Ginninderra Peppercress

26 Oct 2001

Bidyanus bidyanus

Silver Perch

26 Oct 2001

Pseudophryne pengilleyi

Northern Corroboree Frog

4 Sept 2003

Arachnorchis actensis

Canberra Spider Orchid

11 April 2005

Corunastylis ectopa

Brindabella Midge Orchid

11 April 2005

Bossiaea grayi

A shrub

30 January 2012

 

2. DECLARED VULNERABLE SPECIES
SPECIES SCIENTIFIC NAME SPECIES COMMON NAME Date of Declaration

Delma impar

Striped Legless Lizard

15 Apr 1996

Gadopsis bispinosus

Two-spined Blackfish

6 Jan 1997

Euastacus armatus

Murray River Crayfish

6 Jan 1997

Melanodryas cucullata

Hooded Robin

30 May 1997

Lathamus discolor

Swift Parrot

30 May 1997

Perunga ochracea

Perunga Grasshopper

30 May 1997

Polytelis swainsonii

Superb Parrot

30 May 1997

Climacteris picumnus

Brown Treecreeper

30 May 1997

Grantiella picta

Painted Honeyeater

12 Jan 1998

Dasyurus maculatus

Spotted-tailed Quoll

4 Sept 2003

Daphoenositta chrysoptera

Varied Sitella

8 Dec 2003

Lalage sueurii

White-winged Triller

8 Dec 2003

Hieraaetus morphnoides

Little Eagle

22 Feb 2008

Aprasia parapulchella

Pink-tailed Worm Lizard

27 March 2008

Calyptorhynchus lathami

Glossy Black-cockatoo

17 August 2010

 

3. DECLARED ENDANGERED ECOLOGICAL COMMUNITIES
NAME OF COMMUNITY DESCRIPTION Date of Declaration

Natural Temperate Grassland

A naturally occurring grassland of the temperate zone, dominated by native perennial tussock grasses, with associated native herbs and native fauna.

15 Apr 1996

Yellow Box/Red Gum Grassy Woodland

A naturally occurring woodland of the temperate zone, in which Yellow Box co-occurs with Blakely’s Red Gum. It includes the species rich understorey of native tussock grasses, herbs and scattered shrubs, together with a large number of native animal species.

30 May 1997

 

4. RARE SPECIES (Flora and Fauna Committee working category)
SPECIES SCIENTIFIC NAME SPECIES COMMON NAME

Dampiera fusca

Kydra Dampiera

Ninox strenua

Powerful Owl

Haliaeetus leucogaster

White-bellied Sea-eagle

Tyto novaehollandiae

Masked Owl

Miniopterus schreibersii

Large Bentwing Bat

 

4. INSUFFICIENTLY KNOWN SPECIES (Flora and Fauna Committee working category)

SPECIES SCIENTIFIC NAME

SPECIES COMMON NAME

Eucalyptus aggregata

Black gum

Eucalyptus pauciflora – E. rubida Tableland Woodland

Snow gum – Candlebark Tableland Woodland

Stagonopleura guttata

Diamond Firetail

Petroica phoenicea

Flame Robin

Artamus cyanopterus

Dusky Woodswallow

Falcunculus frontatus

Crested Shrike-tit