Endangered Stirling Range plant species to benefit from Federal funding boost

Headshot of Liam Croy
Liam CroyAlbany Advertiser
Giant Andersonia (Andersonia axilliflora).
Camera IconGiant Andersonia (Andersonia axilliflora). Credit: Supplied

The fight to save plant species pushed to the brink of extinction by bushfires in the Stirling Range National Park has received a Federal cash injection.

South Coast Natural Resource Management secured a $191,752 grant through the Environment Restoration Fund this month.

Two major bushfires in the national park in 2018 and 2019-20 left some of Australia’s rarest plant species at risk of extinction.

South Coast NRM will use the Federal funding to reduce the threat of dieback and rabbits, reinforce existing populations and monitor the impact of quokkas on threatened flora.

One of the species under threat is the endangered banksia montana, also known as Stirling Range dryandra, which had all its mature wild specimens wiped out by the fires.

Stirling Range dryandra (banksia montana).
Camera IconStirling Range dryandra (banksia montana). Credit: Supplied

Others set to benefit from the grant are the giant andersonia (Andersonia axilliflora) and small-flowered snottygobble (persoonia micranthera).

“This work complements previous efforts stretching back years that allows us to make a real difference to the prospect for these species, as well as species like mainland quokkas that rely on these ecosystems,” South Coast NRM chief executive Justin Bellanger said.

The brief interval between the 2018 and 2019-20 bushfires meant some threatened species did not have time to recover before they were dealt another blow.

Another major bushfire in the next few years could be devastating.

There are signs of new life appearing after the Stirling Range bushfires.
Laurie Benson/Albany Advertiser
Camera IconThere are signs of new life appearing after the Stirling Range bushfires. Laurie Benson/Albany Advertiser Credit: Laurie Benson/Albany Advertiser

Conservationists have been working hard to assess the health of the threatened flora in the Stirling Range and protect the surviving populations.

Those populations are often in hard-to-reach mountainous areas, meaning long hikes and limited daylight for study.

O’Connor MHR Rick Wilson said the Stirling Range was a biodiversity hotspot with “unique environmental and cultural values”.

More than 60 projects across Australia received ERF grant funding this month, delivered through the Federal Government’s Threatened Species Strategy Action Plan.

Small-flowered snottygobble (Persoonia micranthera).
Camera IconSmall-flowered snottygobble (Persoonia micranthera). Credit: Supplied

The grants come after a report by the Australian National Audit Office last month found that most threatened species in Australia were not being monitored.

The ANAO audited the Federal Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment’s management of threatened species and ecological communities.

“There is limited evidence that desired outcomes are being achieved, due to the department’s lack of monitoring, reporting and support for the implementation of conservation advice, recovery plans and threat abatement plans,” the ANAO said.

The Federal Government has agreed to all six of the recommendations stemming from the audit.

A plane flies past the Stirling Ranges bushfire.
Camera IconA plane flies past the Stirling Ranges bushfire. Credit: Liam Croy / Albany Advertiser/Albany Advertiser

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