ACT Flora and Fauna Committee Annual Report 2013-14
This report outlines the activities of the ACT Flora and Fauna Committee (FFC) for the period 1 July 2013 to 30 June 2014. Previous annual reports were written covering a period from September to September. However, to align reporting with standard financial year reporting, the previous report provided an outline of activities until 30 June 2013. Whilst the proposed annual report for next year will outline activities of the Committee for the period 1 July 2014, the commencement of the Nature Conservation Act 2014 would result in a requirement for two annual reports, one for the Flora and Fauna Committee and one for the Scientific Committee.
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 the Environment appoints Committee members.
The FFC met four times during the reporting period with additional out of session consultations. A schedule of meeting dates is at Attachment A.
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 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”.
The Act specifies that the FFC shall consist of seven members with expertise in ecology and biological diversity. A range of disciplines are 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.
Distinguished Professor University of Canberra, Institute for Applied Ecology.
Associate Professor Australian National University, Research School of
Penny Olsen Biology.
Mr Mark Lintermans University of Canberra, Institute for Applied Ecology.
Dr Margaret Kitchin Conservation Research, ACT Environment and Planning Directorate.
Dr Barry Richardson University of Western Sydney and Commonwealth Scientific Industrial and Research Organisation (CSIRO) Division of Entomology.
Dr Richard Schodde Former CSIRO research scientist.
Dr Jasmyn Lynch University of Canberra, Institute for Applied Ecology.
More information about FFC members is provided at Attachment B.
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 or, if Dr Richards was unavailable, Ms Anne Duncan.
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, Senior Policy Officer within the ACT Environment and Planning Directorate for the period 1 July 2013 to 13 December 2013. For the period 14 December 2013 to 30 June 2014, administrative support for the Committee was provided by Ms Serena Farrelly, Policy Officer within the ACT Environment and Planning Directorate.
2. HIGHLIGHTS OF COMMITTEE BUSINESS
2.1 Assessment of nominations
During the reporting period, one threatening process was nominated for assessment. A nomination was received in May 2014 for “large, potentially enclosed populations of Eastern Grey Kangaroos” as a threatening process. The Committee requested more information from the applicant and this nomination will be assessed during the next reporting period.
The FFC received two nominations during the previous reporting period which were assessed in this reporting period.
- non-natural fragmentation of habitats and
- Scarlet Robin.
The nomination of the non-natural fragmentation of habitats requires further information and is still under consideration by the FFC.
The nomination of the Scarlet Robin (Petroica boodang) proposedthat it be listed as a vulnerable species. The Committee assessed the nomination, and agreed with the proposal made by the nominator and recommended to the Minister that the species be declared as vulnerable. The declaration process for this recommendation will progress in the next reporting period.
During the reporting period no species or communities were declared as either vulnerable or endangered.
The Committee considered recommendations made in a review of birds listed in the rare and insufficiently known working categories. The Committee agreed to move the Crested Shrike-tit to the Committee’s rare working category given it is becoming increasingly stressed and is reliant on woodlands.
The Committee agreed to move the Masked Owl to the Committee’s insufficiently known working category given the limited information available on this species.
A current list of declared species and ecological communities and other assessed nominations since the FFC’s establishment in January 1995 is at Attachment C.
Information on species under the working categories of rare species, insufficiently known species is also included 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 addresses 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 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 Action Plan:
- Action Plan No 22. Brush-tailed Rock-wallaby (to be finalised in next reporting period).
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 30. Spotted-tailed Quoll
- Action Plan No 27. ACT Lowland Woodland Conservation Strategy and
- Action Plan No 28. ACT Lowland Native Grassland Conservation Strategy (this full review of the Action Plan is still to be finalised).
Progress reports on these Action Plans prepared by Conservation Planning and Research, Environment and Planning Directorate informed the FFC’s reviews. Two fact sheets were prepared summarising the review findings and are available through the EPD website:
- Rehabilitating ACT rivers: highlights from the last three years.
- Woodlands for wildlife: highlights from the last three years.
The reviews noted that the success of many of the activities was due to collaborative effort by many partners, including the ACT and Australian governments, research institutions, ACTEW, landholders and community groups, and cross-border cooperation.
2.5 Liaison with NSW and other organisations on regional issues
The FFC exchanges information with the NSW Scientific Committee and the NSW Fisheries Scientific Committee on a regular basis. Amongst other things, the ACT provides information on ACT declarations 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 and the Fisheries Management Act 1994. 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 and the NSW Fisheries Scientific Committee on their proposed recommendations.
2.6 Liaison with the Commonwealth on national issues
The FFC reviews national listings under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act). During the reporting period, no listings of relevance to the ACT were identified.
2.7 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 (TAMS), Environment and Planning Directorate and other ACT Government agencies.
The Committee provided advice to the ACT Government and agencies on the following:
- kangaroo management in the ACT and
- the Lower Molonglo River Corridor Statutory Plan of Management – Issues Papers.
2.8 Flora and Fauna Committee Strategic Plan
The FFC undertook activities in line with the outputs of the 2013 – 2015 Strategic Plan.
2.9 Review of the Status of species in the FFC’s working category ‘rare’
The FFC reviewed the species listed in the working category of ‘rare’ during the reporting period. The Committee agreed to move the Crested Shrike-tit to the Committee’s rare working category given it is becoming increasingly stressed and is reliant on woodlands. Below is a list of the species in the Committee’s rare working category.
- Kydra Dampiera (Dampiera fusca)
- Powerful Owl (Ninox strenua)
- White-bellied Sea-Eagle (Haliaeetus leucogaster)
- Large Bentwing Bat (Miniopterus schreibersii)
- Black Falcon (Falco subniger)
- Australian Painted Snipe (Rostratula australis)and
- Crested Shrike-tit (Falcunculus frontatus).
2.10 Review of the Status of species in the FFC’s working category ‘insufficiently known’
The FFC reviewed the species listed in the working category of ‘insufficiently known’ during the reporting period. The Committee agreed to the move the Masked Owl to the Committee’s insufficiently known working category given the limited information available on this species. Below is a list of the species in the Committee’s insufficiently known working category.
- Blackgum (Eucalyptus aggregata)
- Snow Gum – Candlebark (Eucalyptus pauciflora – E. rubida) Tableland Woodland
- Diamond Firetail (Stagonopleura guttata)
- Flame Robin (Petroica phoenicea)
- Dusky Woodswallow (Artamus cyanopterus) and
- Masked Owl (Tyto novaehollandiae).
1. SCHEDULE OF MEETINGS AND ATTENDANCE
|Member||Meeting 84 - 4 September 2013||Meeting 85 - 3 December 2013||Meeting 86 - 5 March 2014||Meeting 87 - 4 June 2014|
OUT OF SESSION CONSULTATIONS
- 17 October 2013 – members met with the Minister for the Environment, Simon Corbell MLA, to discuss a range of nature conservation issues in the ACT
- 21 January 2014 – members met with Ros Ransome and consultants to discuss the Lower Molonglo River Corridor Plan of Management and
- 13 June 2014 – a sub-committee of self-nominated members met to discuss the draft criteria for threatened species, communities and processes.
SUMMARY CURRICULUM VITAE FOR MEMBERS OF THE FLORA AND FAUNA COMMITTEE
Name: Distinguished 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
Distinguished 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).
Name: Associate Professor Penny Olsen
Position: Associate Professor, Department of Evolution, Ecology and Genetics, Research School of Biology, The Australian National University
Associate Professor Olsen is a research scientist and author. Her experience and interests are broad, ranging from wildlife management to behavioural ecology. 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 at the Australian National University.
Name: Associate Professor Mark Lintermans
Expertise: Ecology and management of aquatic systems, fish and waterbirds, wetlands
Position: Associate Professor in Freshwater Ecology, Institute for Applied Ecology, University of Canberra
Associate Professor Lintermans has over 30 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 Regional Chair for Australia of the IUCN Freshwater Fish Specialist Group. Associate Professor Lintermans has also worked on wetlands, particularly on migratory waterbirds at Jerrabomberra Wetlands. He has authored two books, eight book chapters, a number of edited proceedings and over 190 papers and reports.
Name: Dr Margaret Kitchin
Expertise: Fire ecology, native vegetation
Position: Senior Manager, Environment and Planning Directorate, ACT Government
Dr Kitchin has extensive expertise in fire ecology, particularly in relation to the impact of fire on native Australian vegetation. Her current position is managing the Conservation Research Unit within ACT Government. She retains a role in post-fire recovery across ACT and NSW. Prior to 2012 she was responsible for the establishment of the post-2003 vegetation monitoring program, development of the ACT regional fire plans, 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 TAMS 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, wastewater 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 CSIRO 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 Management, Institute for Applied Ecology, 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.
Complete list of declared species and ecological communities, rare species and insufficiently known species
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|
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|
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|
|Miniopterus schreibersii||Large Bentwing Bat|
|Falco subniger||Black Falcon|
|Rostratula australis||Australian Painted Snipe|
|Falcunculus frontatus||Crested Shrike-tit|
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|
|Tyto novaehollandiae||Masked Owl|