High Country Bogs and Associated Fens Ecological Community

The Minster for the Environment and Heritage included High Country Bogs and Associated Fens in the Endangered category of the ACT Threatened Ecological Communities List NI2019-65 on 8 February 2019. This follows a MOU between the Australian and state and territory governments to align their lists of threatened ecological communities (and species) so there is national consistency between jurisdictions.

The majority of bogs and fens in the ACT occur within Namadgi National Park. Bogs and fens are significant because they provide critical refuge and habitat for endemic and threatened animal species, including the Critically Endangered Northern Corroboree Frog (Pseudophryne pengilleyi), as well as the Broad-toothed Rat (Mastacomys fuscus mordicus) and Verreaux’s Alpine Tree Frog (Litoria verreauxii alpina) which are protected under the EPBC Act. Bogs and fens also play an important role in protecting water quality within the ACT’s water catchment.

The Ginini Flats Wetland Complex is the most significant intact Sphagnum bog and fen community in the Australian Alps and is listed under the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands.

Threats

Climate change and its associated impacts pose the greatest threat to the bogs and fens in the long-term, with potentially severe consequences. In the short-term, fire, weed invasion, trampling and wallowing by hooved pest animals, tourism and recreational activities are key threats to bogs and fens in the ACT.

Hard-hooved animals can be particularly destructive to bogs and fens. Changes to feral horse policy in NSW combined with the increase in numbers and range of feral deer means that the risk is increasing.

The ACT feral horse management plan has been successful in quickly controlling the occasional horse incursions from Kosciuszko National Park (KNP), however, feral horses are considered a potential significant threat to this fragile ecological community if ACT control measures are insufficient to deal with increased incursions arising from changes to NSW legislation to protect wild horses.

Objectives

The overall objective is to conserve High Country Bogs and Associated Fens in perpetuity as a viable and well-represented community across its natural geographic range in the ACT by:

  1. protecting all areas of bogs and fens in the ACT through reservation;
  2. managing threats (particularly hard-hooved animals and fire);
  3. improving the condition and ecological function of bogs and fens;
  4. improving understanding of bog and fen ecology, restoration principles and best practice threat management, particularly in light of climate change; and
  5. strengthening stakeholder and community collaboration in the conservation of bogs and fens.

Conservation Advice and Action Plan

The Conservation Advice details the eligibility of the bogs and fens for listing, provides information on the distribution of the community in the ACT and outlines the main threats and corresponding objectives to mitigate these. The Conservation Advice also informs management of the ecological community until an Action Plan is prepared. Section 101 of the NC Act provides that the Conservator must prepare an Action plan for an ecological community.