Dibbler on Dirk Hartog Island. Photo by Kelly Rayner/DBCA
Dibbler on Dirk Hartog Island. Photo by Kelly Rayner/DBCA

This service works in partnership with research organisations, private companies, non-government organisations, traditional owners and community groups to develop and implement programs to conserve and improve the management of the State’s biodiversity, based on best-practice science.

Performance summary

Table 5: Service 7 performance summary

 

2020–21 target

2020–21 actual

Variance

Expenses by service

$26,756,000

$19,612,000

($7,144,000)

Key efficiency indicator

     

Average cost per hectare of wildlife habitat

$0.83

$0.62

($0.21)

More information on these indicators can be found in the Disclosures and Legal Compliance section under Key Performance Indicators. 

Performance highlights

Strategic partnerships 

  • DBCA established the Biodiversity Information Office, a State-and Commonwealth-funded initiative to curate and share Western Australian biodiversity data. The project will support the Environment Online initiative by providing access to data and informing and streamlining environmental approvals. It will also establish a model for biodiversity data sharing across Australia, mobilising Western Australia’s wealth of biodiversity data and making it promptly available to end users. 
  • Collaboration with CSIRO through the National Environmental Science Program (NESP) Northern Australia Environmental Resources Hub to research the ecology and impacts of the significant weed stinking passionflower (Passiflora foetida var. hispida) in the Fitzroy Catchment and to develop understanding of the distribution and population trends of the vulnerable greater bilby (Macrotis lagotis) with traditional owners. 
  • DBCA contributed to numerous NESP Threatened Species Recovery Hub projects. These include improving decision tools for threatened species translocations and ex-situ management, identifying and controlling prevalent threats to species survival from fire and introduced species, and evaluating approaches to threatened species assessment, monitoring, offsetting and conservation policy. 
  • Collaboration with the wildlife and threatened species bushfire recovery expert panel to address and better understand the impacts of the 2019–20 bushfires in Cape Arid National Park and Nuytsland Nature Reserve on threatened species and ecological communities at a national scale. 
  • The Rangelands Restoration project continued at Matuwa (Lorna Glen former pastoral station), with support from the Tarlka Matuwa Piarku Aboriginal Corporation, Matuwa Kurrara Kurrara Rangers and Desert Support Services. Activities included introduced predator control, prescribed burning, genetic assessments of translocated populations, and monitoring reintroduced populations of greater bilby, brushtail possum (Trichosurus vulpecula), endangered mala (Lagorchestes hirsutus), vulnerable golden bandicoot (Isoodon auratus) and specially protected boodie (Bettongia lesueur). This program is supported by offset funding from the Chevron-operated Gorgon project. 
  • The vulnerable flatback turtle (Natator depressus) program partnered successfully with local Aboriginal groups such as the Ngarluma Aboriginal Corporation and Nyamba Buru Yawuru Limited to conserve turtles. DBCA also collaborated with Rio Tinto in a flatback turtle monitoring project at Delambre Island in the Dampier Archipelago. 
  • Major elements of the Wheatstone offset program were completed during 2020–21, including projects on marine connectivity and use of seagrass habitats by the specially protected dugong (Dugong dugon). 
  • In collaboration with Parks Australia, DBCA surveyed coral communities at the Commonwealth-managed Mermaid Reef Marine Park following a coral bleaching event in April 2020 and partnered with several Aboriginal groups across the Kimberley to collect genetic samples and track vulnerable green turtles (Chelonia mydas). 

Biological and environmental surveys 

  • Waterbird monitoring was undertaken at Ramsar sites in DBCA's South West and South Coast regions. This included monthly monitoring at the Muir-Byenup System Ramsar wetlands with funding from South West Catchments Council (SWCC), surveys at the Lake Warden and Lake Gore Ramsar sites in November 2020 and February 2021 with funding from South Coast NRM, and monthly monitoring in the Vasse-Wonnerup Ramsar wetlands as part of a cooperative arrangement with the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER) in conjunction with the Vasse Taskforce.  
  • Surveys of woylie and vulnerable quokka (Setonix brachyurus) in Wellington National Park were undertaken in partnership with the SWCC. 
  • Preliminary identifications were completed for a multidisciplinary study of the plants of WA's gypsum soils, as part of a global study led by the Pyrenean Institute of Ecology with funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research program. Specimens were lodged with the WA Herbarium and provided to research partners. 
  • Water quality and ecological health reporting for the Swan Canning Riverpark was undertaken through partnerships with the Fremantle Port Authority, DWER, Murdoch University, UWA and the Chemistry Centre of Western Australia. A partnership with DWER provided baseline surveys of microplastic contamination in the Riverpark. 

Threatened and important animals 

  • The recently discovered Roebuck Bay flatback turtle foraging area enabled research on poorly studied younger life stages, including neonate turtles. In collaboration with traditional owners, data was collected using satellite tags, daily diary loggers and cameras carried by turtles as they foraged. 
  • Animal translocations to Dirk Hartog Island National Park included 31 endangered dibblers (Parantenchinus apicalis) from a captive-bred population at Perth Zoo (eight fitted with radio-transmitters), 80 vulnerable Shark Bay mice (Pseudomys fieldi) and 58 specially protected greater stick-nest rats (Leporillus conditor). Early signs indicated that previously translocated bandicoots are doing well, with evidence of breeding and animals increasing in weight.
  • A research project investigating the utility of artificial nest hollows by five species of threatened black cockatoos across southern Australia began with BirdLife WA and researchers from Natural Resources Kangaroo Island and the Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning. 
  • A research project investigating the conservation value of rehabilitating sick and injured black cockatoos and returning them to the wild began with Kaarakin Black Cockatoo Conservation Centre and Native Animal Rescue. 
  • DBCA partnered with the City of Melville, the WA Fairy Tern Network and BirdLife Australia to protect nesting habitat of the vulnerable fairy tern (Sternula nereis) at Point Walter on the Swan River, supporting the nesting of approximately 150 nesting fairy tern pairs. DBCA also collaborated with the Peel-Harvey Catchment Council, BirdLife Australia and the WA Fairy Tern Network to undertake management activities at Boundary Island, near Creery Wetlands Nature Reserve. 
  • A scoping project to develop satellite-derived baseline spatial data for information on fire and vegetation attributes to support a longer-term spatial monitoring program of the Great Victoria Desert and was undertaken with the Great Victoria Desert Biodiversity Trust. This information will support management actions to conserve threatened animals such as the endangered sandhill dunnart (Sminthopsis psammophila) and vulnerable malleefowl (Leipoa ocellata) and assess biodiversity measures. 
  • A new vertebrate monitoring project with traditional owners will improve baseline information in jointly managed reserves along the Nyinggulu coast to inform and improve conservation management. 
  • A regional survey of the critically endangered western ringtail possum (Pseudocheirus occidentalis), commissioned by Main Roads WA and supported by the Western Ringtail Possum Recovery Team, was completed across the Swan Coastal Plain, Southern Forest and South Coast management zones, significantly increasing the estimated population size for the species. 

Threatened and important plants 

  • As part of the Australian Government’s Habitat Bushfire Recovery Program, DBCA undertook 103 post bushfire surveys to assess the impacts and recovery of 118 populations of 26 threatened and priority plant taxa in Stirling Range National Park. DBCA implemented post-fire recovery actions including translocations of 12 critically endangered, one endangered and one vulnerable species. 
  • DBCA worked with the Northern Agricultural Catchment Council to implement translocation of the critically endangered Grevillea calliantha
  • A collaborative partnership with DPIRD will examine native pasture restoration opportunities in the Kimberley Rangelands. 
  • A partnership with Rio Tinto to develop germination protocols for the endangered species Aluta quadrata was completed and a new component of the project began, focusing on habitat modelling and ecophysiological measures to inform future research into translocation. 
  • A project with the Australian Seed Bank Partnership began and will expand the scope of conservation and translocation work being undertaken for the critically endangered orchid Caladenia busselliana

Managing threats 

  • With sponsorship from Alcoa of Australia, Tronox and Western Areas Limited, the Western Shield wildlife recovery program continued to implement broadscale, integrated fox and feral cat baiting across DBCA-managed and adjoining lands. 
  • Felixir feral cat grooming traps were trialled through three collaborative projects with Fortescue Metals Group and Roy Hill in the Pilbara, South West Catchments Council in the southern jarrah forest, and the Threatened Species Commissioner on the south coast (for critically endangered western ground parrots, Pezoporus flaviventris). 
  • Significant progress continued to be made on the Return to 1616 ecological restoration project at Dirk Hartog Island National Park, which is substantially funded through the Gorgon Barrow Island Net Conservation Benefits program. Monitoring surveys of source populations, vegetation change, extant small vertebrates, weed management and community engagement continued.  
  • DBCA, Perth NRM and Peel-Harvey Catchment Council worked collaboratively with local friends and landcare groups through Regional Land Partnerships grants to protect and recover threatened species and ecological communities at Greater Brixton Street, Paganoni Swamp at Rockingham Regional Park, Talbot Road Nature Reserve, Bullsbrook Nature Reserve, Lake Wannamal/Mogumber Nature Reserve and Lowlands Nature Reserve. Threat assessment and mapping, vegetation mapping for threatened ecological communities, restoration planting and seed collection, and weed and feral animal management were undertaken at these sites, including trials of weed management techniques to reduce threats to the only known population of the critically endangered Ptilotus pyramidatus
  • In partnership with Murdoch University, the cities of Canning and Cockburn, and the Department of Fire and Emergency Services, research was undertaken on the fire ecology and management of urban and peri-urban reserves, including banksia woodlands of the Swan Coastal Plain. Preparation for implementing a second rotation of prescribed fire in the Kings Park research site have been undertaken.  
  • Working with the Inter-agency Bushfire Operations Committee (Research Sub-committee) and with the support of the Bushfires and Natural Hazards CRC, DBCA initiated several projects with Landgate, Bureau of Meteorology, Murdoch University and the Australian National University, to locally calibrate national fuel moisture models, explore factors associated with the 2019 Yanchep wildfire, and improve mapping of wildfire boundaries. 
  • In collaboration with Peel-Harvey Catchment Council on the Saving Lake McLarty project, hydrological interventions have successfully created large areas of migratory shorebird feeding habitat, with surveys identifying a diverse macro-invertebrate community and almost 6000 shorebirds recorded on this newly rehydrated wetland. 
  • DBCA worked with Peel-Harvey Catchment Council on a banksia woodland mapping project to conserve high-quality bushland through access control, weed control, rubbish removal, and in conjunction with local governments, developing options to consolidate or reroute unmade road that bisect these areas. 
  • DBCA collaborated with the Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment, the Peel-Harvey Catchment Council and UWA to assess the vulnerability of the Peel-Yalgorup Ramsar site to the impacts of climate change and consider the development of climate change actions.  
  • DBCA collaborated with other State Government agencies to develop wetland policy settings that introduce a new draft evaluation methodology in planning procedures. 
  • A project examining the stacked disturbances of fire and drought/ heatwave events, responses of tree canopy structure and understorey diversity composition was undertaken to inform forest management. 
  • A collaboration with CSIRO funded under the Gorgon Net Conservation Benefits program investigated options for biocontrol of the highly invasive weed, stinking passion flower that is transforming ecosystems in the Kimberley and Pilbara. Genetic analysis has shown that plants in Australia have arisen from three sources in the native range in South America.  
  • DBCA began a new partnership with UWA, the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage and the South Australian Department for Environment and Water to investigate changes in bushfire season and its impacts on ecosystems in southern Australia. 
  • DBCA undertook a collaborative survey project with Walalakoo Aboriginal Corporation, Dambimangari Aboriginal Corporation and Paruku Ranger Group with assistance from a Rangelands NRM partnership to determine the exact location of the cane toad (Rhinella marina) front, identify populations of toad-sensitive species ahead of the front and assess the impact of toads behind the front. 
  • Mitigation actions from the Fitzgerald River National Park and Fitzgerald Biosphere Phytophthora Dieback Protection Plan 2019–2029 were implemented through funding managed by South Coast NRM and the Australian Heritage Grant program. 
  • DBCA continued to participate in the Resilient Reefs initiative, a global partnership for resilience-based management of World Heritage listed coral reefs. DBCA engaged in extensive community and stakeholder consultation to draft a Resilience Strategy for Ningaloo to build resilience to natural systems and the communities that depend on them in the face of climate change. 
  • A partnership with Murdoch University, Department of Health and DPIRD was established to characterise and explore toxin mobility of the harmful algae, Alexandrium spp. and options for control. 
Page reviewed 20 Sep 2021