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Media Release
Senator the Hon Robert Hill
Leader of the Government in the Senate
Minister for the Environment and Heritage

7 September 2001

COMMONWEALTH SUPPORT FOR SA TO PROTECT ITS UNIQUE WILDLIFE


The threatened Malleefowl, Little Dip Spider Orchid and Great Desert Skink are among a number of species that stand a better chance of survival after the announcement today of Federal Government funding to South Australian community groups.

Eleven community groups have received funding totalling $114,512 through the Threatened Species Network Community Grants Program to undertake action to help safeguard the future of some of South Australia's threatened biodiversity.

Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill said the latest funding complemented more than 10,000 Natural Heritage Trust projects across the country that have Commonwealth Government support in protecting species through work such as feral animal control and habitat restoration.

Speaking at this year's National Threatened Species Day event in Brisbane, Senator Hill announced total funding of over $520,000 to 40 community groups across Australia through round four of the Grants.

"The Threatened Species Network Community Grants, a joint initiative of the Federal Government's $2.5 billion Natural Heritage Trust and the World-Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), not only assist in saving our unique flora and fauna but also reward community groups with the recognition they deserve," Senator Hill said.

"Local communities in South Australian play a vital role in helping to save Australia's unique and precious threatened species. South Australian projects funded in this round will undertake on-ground activities, including bush weeding, seed planting and threat assessment, as well as the development of interim recovery plans for threatened plants on Kangaroo Island. The Beach District Development Association will use its $1400 funding to carry out bush weeding at two locations containing the endangered Little Dip Spider Orchid and monitor representative orchid populations at both sites.

"With $40,000 funding, the Threatened Plant Action Group will develop interim recovery plans for 11 national threatened plants on Kangaroo Island, which include the Kangaroo Island Spider Orchid, the Twining Finger Flower and Osborne's Eyebright and the Small-Flowered Daisy-Bush. As part of the project, the group will assess threats and the status of each species to find the best way to ensure their survival."

WWF Australia Chief Executive Officer Dr David Butcher highlighted the importance of the Threatened Species Network Community Grants program in building community interest in conservation activities.

"Australia has one of the world's most megadiverse ecosystems, yet many of our native species are currently at risk of extinction," Dr Butcher said.

"The conservation work that is funded through this important partnership between WWF, community groups throughout Australia and the Federal government is a vital step toward creating awareness of Australia's unique environment by encouraging community participation in a range of projects and conservation initiatives that will help conserve native wildlife. Conserving threatened species and ecosystems has been the foundation of WWF's work internationally for 40 years and WWF is pleased to continue this relationship with SA communities and the Natural Heritage Trust."

National Threatened Species Day is held on 7 September each year to commemorate the day that the last Tasmanian Tiger died in captivity in 1936. A list of SA projects funded in 2001-02 is attached.

7 September

Contacts:
Belinda Huppatz (Senator Hill) (02) 6277 7640 or 0419 258 364
Rosslyn Beeby (WWF) (02) 9281 5515 or 0419 520 960


SOUTH AUSTRALIAN THREATENED SPECIES NETWORK GRANT RECIPIENTS

For further information on any of the projects listed here or to get in contact with proponents, please contact the Queensland Threatened Species Network coordinator:
Vicki-Jo Russell
C/- Conservation Council of SA
Ph: (08) 8223 5155
Fax: (08) 8232 4782
Email: tsnsa@ozemail.com.au

Project Title: Traditional Land Management to Protect Malleefowl in the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Lands, SA
Grant: $19,000
Proponent: Anangu Pitjantjatjara Inc.
Project Summary: This project aims to identify and protect critical habitat for nationally Vulnerable Malleefowl in the South Australian Anangu-Pitjantjatjara lands, and to trial the integration of traditional and western species conservation techniques. Because altered fire regimes threaten the Malleefowl, this project aims to reinstate, or assist with the continuation of traditional burning regimes on spinifex grasslands adjoining critical habitat areas.

Project Title: Lanky's Well and Woolley's Lake Weeding Program
Grant: $1400
Proponent: Beachport District Development Association (BDDA)
Project Summary: Group members of the Beach District Development Association will be trained in minimum impact bush weeding techniques. This training will then be used to conduct weeding activities at two locations containing the endangered Little Dip Spider Orchid. Representative orchid populations will also be monitored at both sites. There are many other plants of regional conservation significance at this site which will benefit from the weeding program.

Project Title: Interim Recovery Planning for 11 Nationally Threatened Plants, Kangaroo Island
Grant: $40,000
Proponent: Threatened Plant Action Group (TPAG)
Project Summary: This project aims to develop interim recovery plans for 11 nationally threatened plants, including the Kangaroo Island Spider Orchid, Twining Finger Flower, Osborne's Eyebright and the Small-flowered Daisy-Bush. The threats and status of each species will be assessed in the field and used to prioritise strategic on-ground recovery works and direct future recovery efforts. Strong partnerships between eight community groups, the Kangaroo Island Council and National Parks and Wildlife South Australia will be developed in order to carry out weed control, seed collection and planting, and site protection.

Project Title: Ticklebelly Hill Threatened Species Project - Protecting the Silverleaf Daisy
Grant: $1900
Proponent: Australian Plant Society - Eastern Eyre Peninsula Group
Project Summary: A population of at least 60 vulnerable Silverleaf Daisy or Velvet Daisybush (Olearia pannosa ssp pannosa) individuals found on a Council reserve in South Australia are threatened by 4WDs, trail bikes and weeds. The Ticklebelly Hill Threatened Species Project will address these threats, raise awareness of the importance of biodiversity and of protecting threatened species, and provides an excellent opportunity for community participation in threatened species conservation.

Project Title: Great Desert Skink Management on the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Lands, SA
Grant: $14,000
Proponent: Anangu Pitjantjatjara Inc. (AP)
Project Summary: This projects aims to protect populations of the threatened Tjakura, or Great Desert Skink, through land management practices such as traditional patch burning, and the testing of a bounty system for hunting feral cats and foxes. Strong community involvement will facilitate the search for new populations on the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Lands (AP Lands) in South Australia using traditional ecological knowledge, vegetation maps and fire history data. As new populations are discovered the habitat will be evaluated to add to information on critical habitat.

Project Title: Recovery of the Eyre Peninsula Southern Emu-wren
Grant: $10,000
Proponent: Southern Eyre Birds Inc.
Project Summary: A recent fire caused local extinction of two sub-populations of the threatened Eyre Peninsula Southern Emu-wren. This project will search for the Southern Emu-wren species at known and potential locations, assess habitat requirements and threats, prepare a draft Recovery Plan, establish a monitoring program for the subspecies, including assessing whether birds re-colonise the recently burnt sites, and convene a locally-based Recovery Team to manage the project.

Project Title: Improving the Conservation Status of the Bronzeback Legless Lizard
Grant: $2300
Proponent: South Australian Herpetology Group
Project Summary: The Bronzeback Legless Lizard has been found in less than 10 localities, all located in the far north of South Australia. However, the known range and habitat preference of the animal suggests that it may be much more abundant than available records suggest. This project aims to improve the conservation status of this vulnerable reptile by finding new records of the species within its known range. Publicity associated with this project will also increase public awareness of the species and other declining reptiles in the pastoral zone.

Project Title: Endangered Species Monitoring in the Arid Recovery Reserve
Grant: $3900
Proponent: Friends of the Arid Recovery Project
Project Summary: A trial reintroduction of the nationally Endangered Western-barred Bandicoot has taken place at Arid Recovery Reserve, Roxby Downs, and is anticipated that breeding will soon commence. The Friends of the Arid Recovery Project community group will undertake monitoring of this population, helping to improve its chance of recovery.

Project Title: Mt Lofty Ranges Declining Bird Task Force - Support
Grant: $6390
Proponent: Conservation Council of SA
Project Summary: The Mt Lofty Ranges contain a wonderful diversity of habitats and one of the largest concentrations of threatened bird taxa (around 20) on mainland, including the Glossy Black Cockatoo, the Southern Emu-Wren, the Malleefowl and the Regent Honeyeater. This project aims to identify declining species of birds in the Mt Lofty Ranges, critical habitat and significant impacts, gaps in management knowledge, and recommend priorities for better management.

Project Title: Where is the Western Whipbird?
Grant: $2500
Proponent: Friends of Innes National Park
Project Summary: This project will determine the status and distribution of the nationally Vulnerable Western Whipbird on southern Yorke Peninsula, which is threatened by land clearing and fire. The project also aims to increase community awareness of biodiversity issues, establish baseline data to assess future changes in the distribution of the population, and provide critical information for appropriate park and fire management activities.

Project Title: Community Volunteers Monitoring Threats to Black-eared Miners
Grant: $13,122
Proponent: Birds Australia Gluepot Reserve
Project Summary: Birds Australia will be working to coordinate large numbers of community volunteers to monitor the use of artificial nesting sites by mallee birds, including the nationally Endangered Black-eared Miner and Yellow-throated Miner. The aim of this project is to demonstrate the effectiveness of some types of artificial nesting, and to assist conservation of Black-Eared Miners.

Commonwealth of Australia