Addendum to Submission re Seeking a Balance: Arkaroola threatened species at risk from pro-mining re-zoning proposals




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Addendum to Submission re Seeking a Balance: Arkaroola threatened species at risk from pro-mining re-zoning proposals

Joan E Vickers (PhD, Biology), (personal contact details deleted)


Table of Contents

Introduction 4

Flora – Nationally endangered species 6

Dodonaea subglandulifera (Arid Hop Bush) 6

Conservation status 6

Distribution 7

Habitat 7

Threats 7

Frankenia plicata (Sea Heath) 7

Conservation Status 7

Distribution 7

Habitat 7

Threats 8

Flora – Nationally Vulnerable species 8

Acacia araneosa (Spidery Wattle, Balcanoona Wattle) 8

Conservation status 8

Distribution 8

Habitat 8

Threats 8

Codonocarpus pyramidalis (Slender Bell-fruit) 9

Conservation Status 9

Distribution 9

Habitat 9

EPBC threatened ecological community 10

Threats 10

Acacia menzelii (Menzel’s Wattle) 10

Conservation Status 10

Distribution 10

Habitat 10

EPBC threatened ecological community 11

Threats 11

Pterostylis xerophila (Desert Greenhood) 11

Conservation Status 11

Distribution 11

Habitat 11

Threats 12

Swainsona murrayana (Slender Darling Pea) 12

Conservation Status 12

Distribution 12

Habitat 12

EPBC Act-listed threatened ecological community 12

Threats 12

Xerothamnella parviflora (Small-leaved Xerothamnella) 12

Conservation Status 13

Distribution 13

Habitat 13

Threats 13

Flora – SA Endgangered species 13

Dodonaea subglandulifera (Arid Hop Bush) 13

Acacia araneosa (Spidery Wattle, Balcanoona Wattle) 13

Codonocarpus pyramidalis (Slender Bell-fruit) 14

Xerothamnella parviflora (Small-leaved Xerothamnella) 14

Microtis eremaea (Slender Onion-orchid, Inland Onion Orchid) 14

Conservation status 14

Distribution 14

Habitat 14

Flora – SA Vulnerable species 15

Acacia confluens (Arkarooloa Wattle) 15

Conservation status 15

Distribution 15

Habitat 15

Austrostipa pilata (Prickly Spear-grass) 15

Conservation status 15

Distribution 15

Atriplex kochiana (Koch’s Saltbush) 15

Conservation status 15

Distribution 15

Lepidium pseudotasmanicum (Shade Peppercress) 16

Conservation status 16

Distribution 16

Habitat 16

Threats 16

Maireana excavata (Bottle Fissure-plant) 16

Conservation status 16

Distribution 16

Habitat 16

Threats 16

Swainsona viridis (Creeping Darling Pea) 17

Conservation status 17

Distribution 17

Threats 17

Flora - SA Rare species 17

Fauna – Nationally Extinct 17

Pseudomys gouldii (Gould's Mouse ) 17

Conservation status 17

Distribution 18

Threats 18

Fauna – Nationally Vulnerable 18

Petrogale xanthopus xanthopus (Yellow-footed Rock-wallaby) 18

Conservation Status 18

Distribution 18

Habitat 18

Threats 18

Existing Plans/Management Prescriptions that Could Affect the Species 19

Leporillus conditor (Greater Stick-nest Rat) 19

Conservation status 19

Distribution 19

Habitat 19

Threats 19

Notomys fuscus (Dusky Hopping-mouse, Wilkiniti ) 19

Conservation status 20

Distribution 20

Habitat 20

Threats 20

Acanthiza iredalei iredalei (Slender-billed Thornbill (western)) 20

Conservation Status 20

Distribution 21

Habitat 21

Threats 21

Amytornis textilis modestu (Thick-billed grass wren (eastern)) 21

Conservation Status 21

Distribution 21

Habitat 21

Threats 21

Mogurnda clivicola (Flinders Ranges Gudgeon) 21

Conservation Status 22

Distribution 22

Habitat 22

Threats 22

Existing Plans/Management Prescriptions 22

Aprasia pseudopulchella (Flinders Ranges Worm-lizard) 22

Conservation Status 22

Distribution 23

Habitat 23

Threats 23

Fauna – SA Endangered species 23

Macroderma gigas (Ghost Bat ) 23

Conservation status 23

Distribution 23

Habitat 24

Threats 24

Pseudomys gouldii (Gould's Mouse ) 24

Fauna – SA Vulnerable species 24

Petrogale xanthopus xanthopus (Yellow-footed Rock-wallaby) 24

Ardeotis australis (Australian Bustard) (http://www..nt.gov.au/nreta/wildlife/animals/threatened/pdf/birds/australian_bustard_vu.pdf) 24

Conservation status 24

Distribution 24

Habitat 24

Threats 25

Neophema chrysostoma (Blue-winged Parrot ) 25

Conservation status 25

Distribution 25

Habitat 25

Threats 25

Cladorhynchus leucocephalus (Banded Stilt ) 25

Conservation status 25

Distribution 26

Habitat 26

Threats 26

Leporillus conditor (Greater Stick-nest Rat) 26

Notomys fuscus (Dusky Hopping-mouse ) 26

Fauna – SA Rare species 26

Absence of majority of Arkaroola threatened species in Vulkathunha-Gammon Ranges National Park 26

Discussion and Conclusions 27

EPBC considerations 27

Nationally Endangered plant species 27

Nationally Vulnerable plant species 28

Nationally Vulnerable animal species 29

Appendix 1 Conservation codes 30



Introduction


In my Submission of 14 January 2010 (acknowledged 18 and 19 January 2010) I made the recommendation that the Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary either retain its current status as Environmental Class A Zone or be classed as Access Zone 1 (No access for exploration and resource development).
The purpose of this Addendum is two-fold:

  • Provide supporting material for the claim that the Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary hosts a range of threatened flora and fauna species which comprise matters of national environmental significance that will be adversely impacted upon by uranium mining. Hence a referral to the Australian Government Minister for the Environment is mandatory for any mining activity under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act (http://www.environment.gov.au/epbc/assessments/process.html).

  • Reconfirm my recommendation that the current zoning of Arkaroola not be degraded to provide access to mining in light of this additional information and analysis.

Two nationally endangered (E) and six nationally vulnerable (V) plant species, and seven nationally vulnerable animal species have been recorded for Arkaroola and/or the Northern Flinders Ranges, and one threatened ecological community (see below). Mining is likely to have a significant impact (according to EPBC Significant Impact Criteria) on both Endangered and most of the Vulnerable species (which probably comprise EPBC important populations).







Cate-gory

No. Species

Total threat-ened

Flora

AUS E

2

8

AUS V

6

SA E

5

11

SA V

6

Fauna

AUS V

7

7

SA E

2

8

SA V

6

The following map, produced by the Wilderness Society shows the current area occupied by the Environmental Class A Zone (red line), Arkaroola Lease (white line), the current Marathon McGee exploration lease (black line) and the proposed Access Zones 1 the (Purple, no access for exploration and resource development), 2a (blue, no high-impact activities accepted), 2b (green, low impact activities accepted – those listed look rather high impact to me) and 3 (yellow, standard exploration and mining access).



As described in detail in http://www.flickr.com/photos/liamjon-d/4156988524/sizes/o/, under current Environmental Class A Zone stipulations, mining is only permitted if the “deposit is of paramount importance and in the national interest and if no equivalent resource is available outside of the zone”. Thus the presence of Marathon Mt McGee Exploration Lease 4355 would appear to contravene the provisions of the current zoning, as the uranium ore in this area comprises only 2.5% of the total uranium resources of SA (see Submission) and 3 existing uranium mines are not far away (Beverly, Four Mile and Olympic Dam (Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary Special Edition Newsletter November 2009)).
Under the re-zoning proposal, most of the exploration lease as well as the northern half of the Class A Zone become Access Zone 3, converting more than half of the Class A zone into standard exploration and mining access and leaving less than one quarter protected as no access, and only a small proportion of the Arkaroola lease will still be protected from mining access.
As noted in my submission, Seeking a Balance contained insufficient information to evaluate the likely impacts of post-rezoning expanded mining activities on threatened species, or any information on what threatened species are present. Therefore I have compiled descriptions of threatened flora and fauna of the Arkaroola area listed in the Environmental Database of South Australia 2010, Biodiversity Assessment - Flinders Lofty Block (Australian Government, Australian Natural Resources Atlas (http://www.anra.gov.au/topics/vegetation/assessment/sa/ibra-flinders-lofty-block.html, http://www.anra.gov.au/topics/vegetation/assessment/sa/ibra-flb-species.html), listed in Biological Survey of the Flinders Ranges of South Australia (R. Brandle, 1997-1999, (http://www.environment.sa.gov.au/science/pdfs/biosurvey/flinders_ranges/flinders_ranges_report.pdf). Descriptions include illustrations, conservation status, distribution, habitat and threats.
All species were listed in the Environmental Database of South Australia for Arkaroola except Frankenia plicata, Acacia menzelii, Pterostylis xerophila, Swainsonia murrayana, Xerothamnella parviflora, Atriplex kochiana, Acanthiza iridalei iridalei, Amytornis textilis modestu and Mogurnda clivicola which were listed for Flinders Lofty Block 5 Northern Flinders Ranges in Biodiversity Assessment – Flinders Lofty Block.
The group of threatened species is characterised by iconic and relict species and high endemism, either to South Australia, the Flinders Ranges or the Northern Flinders Range.

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