Flora and Vegetation

The flora of the Cape Range Peninsula is incredibly diverse with over 630 plant species recorded. It is much more diverse than similar arid and semi-arid areas in Western Australia and is known to have twice as many species as other similar areas within the same biogeographic region.

Many species in the Cape Province are at the end of their geographic range and are hence considered extremely important from an ecological perspective. The peninsula is also a region of biogeographic overlap and therefore has a diversity of species from temperate, arid and tropical botanical provinces.

The spinifex grasslands in the proposed development site are extremely important wildlife habitat, particularly for reptiles and small mammals. Two species recorded at Mauds landing are classed as Priority 2 taxa under Western Australian endangered pecies legislation, which means they are from one or a few populations, where at least one population is not currently endangered. Only one non-native (introduced) species was recorded in the proposed development site.

Vegetation in the Cape Range Peninsula is mostly shrub steppe (Beard, 1975), dominated by wattles and eucalypts with a lower storey of small shrubs and Spinifex. There are 630 vascular plant species found in the Cape Range Province, grouped into seven major vegetation communities (Keighery and Gibson, 1993). The flora is much more species rich than any other major arid and semi-arid karst areas of Western Australia and even with the paucity of knowledge it is known to be more than twice as species rich than comparable areas in the same biogeographic region (EPA, 1998). Floristically the Cape is of high conservation value and contains many range-end populations of flora at the limit of their distribution.

The peninsula is also an area of biogeographic overlap, containing species from the temperate, arid and tropical provinces (CALM, 1997). The Mauds Landing area is located within the Carnarvon Biogeographic Region, which extends from Shark Bay to Onslow. Less than 10% of this biogeographic region is currently reserved (ATA, 2000).

The vegetation consists of two communities; the foredunes, associated swales and dunes in the west and the saline-flats behind the dunes.

The foredunes are dominated by Spinifex grasslands, which are extremely important to wildlife. Most of the vegetation in the survey area was considered to be in good to excellent condition (Trugen, 1994). One hundred and six native flowering plants from 33 plant families were recorded in the Maud's Landing townsite with only one introduced (exotic) species. These species are considered to represent 85% of the flora of the site given the time of year the survey was conducted. No Declared Rare Flora were recorded, however two Priority species were recorded (Acacia ryaniana and Eremophila glabra ssp. Dirk Hartog). Both species are listed as Priority 2 taxa, which means they are from one or a few populations, where at least one population is not currently endangered.

An aquatic herbfield was also identified in a hypersaline pool on the site that was dry at the time of survey. The plant material here was difficult to identify and it is considered quite unusual for claypans of this type to have aquatic vegetation. (Trugen, 1994).

CALM, 1997,
Cape Range National Park Management Plan, 1987-1997,
Department of Conservation and Land Management, Perth EPA, 1998,
Environmental Protection of Cape Range Province, Preliminary Position Statement No.1, Environmental Protection Authority, Perth Trudgen, 1994,
A Flora and Vegetation Survey and Assessment of Conservation Values for Flora and Vegetation of the Proposed Coral Coast Marina, Prepared for Bowman Bishaw Gorham Consultants, Perth