RAPID urbanisation in the City of Armadale and other threats including illegal off road activity and feral animals has led to the City embarking on a “critical” new project to help protect native flora and fauna.
The city’s technical services executive director Glyn Davies said the project would research and monitor opportunities to create ecological corridors to sustain fauna populations.
Three areas that will be targeted by the project will be the Forrestdale Lake Nature Reserve, Bungendore Park and the Armadale Settlers Common.
Mr Davies told last week’s technical services committee meeting that the City’s rapid urbanisation posed significant threats to the viability of fauna populations within its bushland reserves.
“It is critical to provide large areas of connected bushland and manage threatening processes to ensure fauna will persist in bushland reserves post development,” he said.
“This is especially the case on the Swan Coastal Plain where bushland reserves are becoming development-locked, geographically isolating fauna in some reserves.”
He said the identification of threats, fauna hotspots and ecological linkages were essential elements to consider.
“For mammal species such as the Southern Brown Bandicoot genetic biodiversity requires that animals have the ability to move from one habitat to another and are not spatially isolated,” he said.
He said the FLNR was the most biologically rich and diverse natural reserve vested in the City.
But it was under increasing pressure from surrounding development, a drying climate, feral animals, invasive weed species, disease and illegal off road vehicle activity.
“The reserve is an important remnant of Swan Coastal Plain (SCP) bushland and represents the best opportunity in a City of Armadale reserve on the SCP to conserve a range of vertebrate and invertebrate fauna,” he said.
Bungendore Park provides good ecological linkages to other bushland and is home to five vegetation communities that supports four species of threatened or priority fauna and 125 vertebrate fauna species.
The Armadale Settlers Common also provides good connectivity to other bushland on the Darling Scarp.
It provides habitat for priority fauna , four floristic communities, declared rare flora and Fauna and 145 vertebrate fauna.
“Given the size, diversity of floristic communities and connectivity, Bungendore Park and Armadale Settlers Common provide an important refuge for fauna,” Mr Davies said.
“Key threats to fauna within the above reserves consist of invasive animal and weed species, disease, fire and a drying climate.
The project will build on fauna habitat supplementation and selective feral animal control are already being carried out.
Mr Davies said the FLNR component of the project presents an opportunity to work in a collaborative partnership with the Department of Parks and Wildlife.
Research partnerships are also being explored with Murdoch University in regards to fauna monitoring.
“This project represents the first strategic and targeted management of fauna within City bushland reserves,” he said.