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Flora and Fauna Relocation
A number of bird, mammal and reptile species inhabit large trees in urban areas, including microbats, pardalotes, geckos, monitors, possums and various specious of parrots. It is essential for the continued survival of these species that where trees can no longer be safely retained or cannot be retained as part of a development that these species are relocated to safe areas, away from dogs, cats and motor vehicles.
The Wildlife Conservation Act requires that all native fauna be removed from trees and areas of bushland which are to be removed or cleared for development and relocated to an appropriate relocation site. Wildlife relocation and release may only be undertaken by a Department of Environment and Conservation licensed relocator and must be conducted in accordance with the conditions of their licence.
Landowners intending to undertake tree removal are advised that in accordance with the requirements of the Wildlife Conservation Act 1950 (as amended), they are required to ensure that habitat and/or tree/s intended for removal are to be inspected for wildlife and any wildlife relocated and prior to the commencement of clearing works.
The City of Mandurah generally requires (or recommends that the Western Australian Planning Commission requires) developers to prepare and implement Wildlife Protection Plans in accordance with the Wildlife Conservation Act 1950 (as amended) prior to clearing areas of bushland for development.
The wildlife protection plan shall address the following points:
- Identification of fauna species that live and/or utilise the area. The methods used to identify the fauna species should have regard to the Environmental Protection Authority’s guidance statement No. 56: Terrestrial Fauna Surveys for Environmental Impact Assessment for Western Australia.
- Details on the arrangements that will be put into place to address the relocation of fauna species (if any) and any methods to reduce displacement risks associated with relocation.
- Details on the timing of associated with relocation activities.
- Compliance with the requirements of the Wildlife Conservation Act 1950 (as amended) and
- An implementation strategy.
When development does not enable flora to be retained in its original location the City of Mandurah will negotiate to have appropriate flora relocated, or in some cases can require the preparation and implementation of a flora or tree retention and management plan and flora relocation plan. It is often possible to rescue native plants from clearing by transplanting them into suitable alternative sites as well as landscaping within open spaces. Some iconic species such as zamia palms (Macrozamia riedlei) and grass trees (Xanthorrhoea spp.) are very slow growing but fortunately are relatively easy to transplant utilising the right methods. In addition to these larger species, there are numerous native perennial plants which may be successfully salvaged and recycled for use in non-irrigated landscaping. These include various sedges, Dianellas, Conostylis, native irises and orchids. In cases where trees and shrubs cannot be retained, they may be mulched and spread over bare areas. Not only will canopy-stored seeds germinate, but the mulch will retain moisture and prevent erosion, encouraging successful recruitment of new plants from the soil seed-bank.
As part of the development of areas of intact natural vegetation, the City generally requires or negotiates for developers to undertake Spring Flora Surveys to determine exactly what species are present on the lot as well as prepare and implement vegetation management plans to address potential impacts. Spring is the peak flowering period and the best time to conduct a survey of what species are present on a site, as many species which are hidden below ground for much of the year emerge from their summer dormancy at this time. A vegetation retention plan outlines what measures are required to protect vegetation and the significant trees which are to be retained and how suitable species shall be transplanted or propagated to ensure their survival.
The focus of these management plans should be to retain as much as possible in situ as part of the development or, where this is not possible, relocate suitable specimens and replant species within landscaping and road reserves. Where site constraints prevent this, transplants may be provided to the City for use in municipal landscaping and rehabilitation projects or provided to members of the community for use in domestic landscaping.