811. Hon ALISON XAMON to the Minister for Environment:
I refer to recent reports that the south-western snake-necked turtle population that is living adjacent to Bibra Lake is under threat of localised extinction from predation from foxes and birds, and from being run over by cars.
(1) Can the minister advise what monitoring or investigations are being undertaken by the government to ascertain the threats posed to the south-western snake-necked turtle in the vicinity of Bibra Lake and in other wetlands where they may be at risk?
(2) What actions will the state government take to support the City of Cockburn and other councils that have significant wetlands in their area to tackle the threats to the turtles?
(3) Can the minister advise what action he is taking to address management of feral animals in council areas with significant wetlands?
(4) Will the government commit to initiating and/or supporting programs such as installing turtle refuges to protect nests, or constructing fauna underpasses to protect turtles from being run over by traffic in areas with nearby wetlands?
Hon STEPHEN DAWSON replied:
I thank the honourable member for some notice of the question.
(1) Bibra Lake is located in Beeliar Regional Park, which is managed by the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions, in partnership with the City of Cockburn. DBCA, the City of Cockburn and Murdoch University are working together to improve their understanding of the threats to the turtle population in these and other wetlands on the Swan coastal plain.
(2) DBCA and the City of Cockburn will work cooperatively to ensure fox control programs are undertaken in a coordinated manner, to maximise efficiency and assist in reducing costs.
(3) The management of feral animals is the responsibility of the landowner. In Beeliar Regional Park, the next coordinated fox control program is scheduled for spring, to coincide with the turtle breeding season. DBCA has provided the City of Cockburn with cages to protect nesting areas from foxes as part of a broader trial. Information from this and other research initiatives has been, and will continue to be shared with the city and other relevant local government authorities through the regional park community advisory committees.
(4) DBCA is working in partnership with Murdoch University to better understand the benefits associated with protecting turtle nests with protective cages. The results from this research will inform future management. The use of fauna underpasses and overpasses, and the general connectivity of natural areas, is considered within the state’s planning approval system, and these measures are implemented where appropriate.