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Main Roads Western Australia North West Coastal Highway Reconstruction SLK 45.8 - 49.5

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The vegetation of the Project Area has been identified by Beard (1976) as likely to contain Vegetation Association 35, which is described as 'Shrub lands; York' Scattered Gum Jam Scrub. Potential clearing within the project area is not expected to adversely affect local populations of any of these or other fauna species present in the area. While the type of habitat found in the Project Area is common, limited vegetation around the project area exists due to historical clearing for agriculture.

The project area can provide habitat connectivity between vegetation zones in the local area; and. Based on the findings of the desk and field assessment, clearing for the project is considered to be in violation of the clearing principle (e) due to the vulnerable state of the vegetation that remains within the project area. Arelevé1 of the project area was carried out to ensure that all types of vegetation were covered during the survey.

An assessment of the value of the project area for providing habitat and facilitating traffic between protected areas. An inventory and brief description of wetlands in the project area and their conservation value.

Desktop Assessment

  • Climate
  • Geology and Soils
  • Reserves and Conservation Areas
  • Rivers and Wetlands
  • Public Drinking Water Source Areas
  • Environmentally Sensitive Areas
  • Vegetation
    • Vegetation Types
    • Vegetation in a Regional Context
  • Threatened Ecological Communities
  • Flora
    • Threatened and Priority Flora
    • Weeds
    • Diseases and Pathogens
  • Fauna
    • Existing Fauna Records
    • Threatened Fauna
    • Fauna Habitat
    • Introduced Species

The project area is located within the Northampton Water Reserve, a Priority 3 (P3) Public Drinking Water Source Area (PDWSA) (Department of Water, 2009). No Environmentally Sensitive Areas (ESAs) have been registered within the project area (Department of Environment and Conservation, 2009c). A search was performed in DEC's Threatened Ecological Communities (TEC) database for the project area.

An Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Protected Matters Act) Search for Protected Matters (DEWHA, 2009a) was undertaken for the Project Area. One EPBC Act-protected flora (listed as Threatened) has been identified as likely to occur within a 10 km buffer of the Project Area. A search was undertaken through the DEC's threatened flora databases (DEC, 2009d) for species of declared rare and priority flora located in the vicinity of the project area.

The dominant habitat type located within the Project Area is likely to be Shrubland (Section 3.7.1). The linear nature of the Project Area may provide a habitat corridor for fauna in the local area.

Table 1 Vegetation Extent and Status Class Classification
Table 1 Vegetation Extent and Status Class Classification

Field Investigation

Vegetation

  • Vegetation Description
  • Vegetation Condition

Bush Forever Volume 2 (Government of Western Australia, 2000) defines vegetation condition as "an assessment given to bushland to categorize disturbances related to human activities. This assessment refers to the degree of change in structure, density and species present in the bushland in compared to undisturbed shrubland of the same type.” The vegetation in the study area was given a condition assessment based on the Keighery (1994) vegetation condition assessment scale.

For example, the disturbance of the vegetation structure caused by repeated fires, the presence of some more aggressive weeds, dieback, cutting and grazing. For example, the disturbance of the vegetation structure caused by very frequent fires, the presence of some aggressive weeds in high density, partial clearing, dying and grazing. For example, the disturbance of the vegetation structure caused by very frequent fires, the presence of very aggressive weeds, partial clearing, dying and grazing.

The structure of the vegetation is no longer intact and the area is completely or almost devoid of native species. As indicated, the majority of the Project Area was previously cleared, with areas of rehabilitation within the road reserve.

Table 3 Vegetation Condition Scale (Keighery, 1994) Assigned
Table 3 Vegetation Condition Scale (Keighery, 1994) Assigned

Vegetation Condition - Indication of weed invasion in the Project Area

  • Local and Regional Significance of the Vegetation
  • Flora
    • Threatened Flora Species
    • Locally Significant Flora Species
    • Weed Species
  • Fauna
    • Fauna Survey Records
    • Threatened Fauna
    • Marine and Migratory Listed Species
    • Habitat Types and Habitat Linkages
    • Introduced Fauna Species
    • Fauna Impacts
  • Field Assessment of Wetlands and Drainage
  • Vegetation Clearing
  • Requirement for Referral
  • Conclusions and Recommendations
    • Conclusions
    • Recommendations
  • Limitations
    • Survey Limitations
    • Report Limitations
  • References

This represents a low level of species diversity due to past disturbance in the Project Area and the extent of weed invasion. The recorded location of this priority species in the project area is indicated in Figure 2. Based on the known distribution and observations recorded during the field survey, it is considered unlikely that clearing of vegetation in the project area will affect the taxon as a whole.

The observed weed species occurred in high densities throughout the project area and were the dominant ground cover in the project area. The DEC-listed Priority 4 Black-browed Babbler (Western Wheat Belt) species (Pomatostomus superciliosus subsp.ashbyi) was observed in the project area. The residual vegetation within the project area may form a corridor to facilitate the movement of this species between larger areas of residual vegetation.

Assessment: Given the disturbed nature of the project area, it appears unlikely that this species will occur. A number of listed marine and migratory species protected under the EPBC Act have been identified as likely to occur in the project area (DEWHA, 2009a). Based on the field survey, there is habitat for a limited range of animal species in the project area, with most of the vegetation degraded due to historical encroachments.

While the type of habitat found in the Project Area is common, there is limited vegetation around the project area. The Project Area can provide a habitat link between vegetation zones in the local area. While the Project Area does not contain significant habitat for fauna species, it may provide a vegetation corridor for migratory species in the area.

In relation to Cleanup Principle 'a', one Priority species, Acanthocarpus parviflorus (Priority 3) has been recorded within the Project Area. Although the presence of this species is not considered to be in violation of cleanup principle 'a', it is recommended that the presence of the Priority 3 species in the Project Area be discussed with the DEC; and. The Project is unlikely to conflict with any of the other nine 'Clean-up Principles'.

Consultation with DEC is recommended to determine the status of vegetation in the project area. GHD does not accept any responsibility for any change in the flora present in the project area due to natural and seasonal variability.

Table 4 Listed Migratory species for the Project Area on the EPBC Act 1999 Protected Matters Search Tool
Table 4 Listed Migratory species for the Project Area on the EPBC Act 1999 Protected Matters Search Tool

DRAF

Extinct Taxa not definitely found in the wild during the last 50 years. Critically Endangered Taxa with an extremely high risk of extinction in the wild in the immediate future. Endangered Taxa have a very high risk of extinction in the wild in the near future.

Taxa that have been properly searched and are considered rare in the wild, threatened with extinction or otherwise in need of special protection and have been gazetted as such. The action will require the approval of the Minister for the Environment if it has, will have or is likely to have a significant impact on a listed migratory species. Therefore, the ecologically significant proportion of the population varies depending on the species (each circumstance will have to be evaluated).

Taxa that are not considered endangered but are subject to a special conservation program, the termination of which would result in the species becoming endangered within five years. The indigenous flora in this area comprises a low level of indigenous biological diversity, which is of a comparable level of diversity to the rest of the indigenous flora in the area. One priority species: Acanthocarpus parviflorus (P3) was recorded in the project area during the field survey.

The mapped vegetation association in the Project Area retains 10.5% of the pre-European range considered to be extant in the Geraldton Sandplains IBRA region (refer to Section 3.7.2). The vegetation located in the Project Area does not correlate with Vegetation Association 35, and is a combination of natural regrowth and planted vegetation following previous clearing activities. Native vegetation should not be cleared if the clearing of the vegetation is likely to have an impact on the environmental values ​​of any adjacent or nearby conservation area.

Vegetation clearance within the project area is unlikely to affect the environmental values ​​of these conservation areas.

Table 9 Threatened and Priority Flora Species identified in the Threatened Flora Database Search Results and EPBC Act 1999 Protected Matters Search Tool
Table 9 Threatened and Priority Flora Species identified in the Threatened Flora Database Search Results and EPBC Act 1999 Protected Matters Search Tool

Figure

Graph 1  Nokanena Temperature and Rainfall
Table 1 Vegetation Extent and Status Class Classification
Table 2 Regional Assessment of Vegetation Extent (Shepherd, 2005)
Table 3 Vegetation Condition Scale (Keighery, 1994) Assigned
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References

Outline

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