4 What are we doing about it?

There are many organisations and individuals, as well as the three spheres of government (local, state and federal), that contribute to the protection and management of natural resources. The Government of South Australia, through its NRM Program, invests money through several subprograms. Table 8 describes some of the activities and outputs between 2008 and 2011.

Table 8 Number of activities and outputs delivered between 2008–09 and 2010–11, as reported in Natural Resource Management Program annual reports





ha = hectare; km = kilometre; na = data not available

Number of training or
awareness-raising events




Number of awareness-raising
materials developed




Area treated for
sustainable land management

260 750 ha


3167 ha

New conservation
agreements established


453, covering
4130 ha

141, covering
11 139 ha

New areas of native
vegetation protected or improved


10 500 ha

44 852 ha

Extent of fencing


104 km

68 km

Area revegetated


762 ha

646 ha

New areas of native
animal conservation measures


3.1 million ha

60 140 ha

Number of construction works
to improve water quality completed




Number of cultural heritage
sites protected or maintained




Number of studies/reports completed




Number of new monitoring
programs established




Number of resource management
plans/strategies/guidelines completed




Number of volunteers
and hours contributed

9631 hours

1227 volunteers,
31 140 hours

2136 volunteers,
54 308 hours

Table 9 shows the financial investment made in managing the state’s natural resources. The Australian Government has made a large investment in South Australia through its Caring for our Country funding initiative; between 2008 and 2012, $17.5 million was allocated to fund 91 competitive projects. The eight NRM regions received $88.36 million (GST exclusive) in base-level funding, and an additional $18.7 million (GST exclusive) was allocated through Working on Country (a Caring for our Country subprogram).

The relative contribution made by individuals, groups, organisations and agencies, and a comparison of the value between different activities are complex and not reported here.

Table 9 Funding allocated by the Government of South Australia, as reported in Natural Resource Management Program annual reports, 2008–09 to 2010–11





NRM = natural resource management

  1. Includes Australian Government funding
  2. Reported differently in different annual reports (combines state government agency, multiregion strategic projects and stormwater projects; does not include projects with no assessment process—for example, legislative review


  1. The 2008–09 figure combines the final year investment of the joint Natural Heritage Trust and National Action Plan for Salinity and Water Quality with South Australia’s NRM Program investment; however, the 2009–10 and 2010–11 figures do not.
  2. Other than 2008–09, the information does not include:
    • Australian Government Caring for our Country (CFOC) baseline funding, CFOC competitive grant funding, environmental stewardship, Community Action Grants, etc.
    • SA State Government Vegetation (and other small grant) funding
    • the contribution made by ‘friends of’ groups
    • the contribution and funding made by local government associations and environmental nongovernment organisations.

No. of projects

Funding ($‘000)

No. of projects

Funding ($‘000)

No. of projects

Funding ($‘000)

Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges NRM Board


3 286


2 472


2 187

Alinytjara Wilurara NRM Board




1 043



Eyre Peninsula NRM Board


1 828


1 208



Kangaroo Island NRM Board




1 134



Northern and Yorke NRM Board







South Australian Arid Lands NRM Board







South Australian Murray–Darling Basin NRM Board


1 802


1 328



South East NRM Board


1 088


1 223





7 674


6 379


4 500



18 202


16 000


12 601

4.1 Native vegetation

At the state level, a range of legislation, policies, strategies and programs are being used to address pressures on native vegetation.

4.1.1 Native vegetation legislation

Native vegetation legislation has been in place since 1991 to provide a level of protection to what remains following historical clearance.

Under the Native Vegetation Act 1991 and Native Vegetation Regulations 2003, authorised clearance of native vegetation in South Australia must be accompanied by an environmental benefit offset. This can be achieved through management or restoration of native vegetation (column 1) , or payment into the Native Vegetation Fund (column 2) (Table 10).

Table 10 Summary of environmental benefit offsets for native vegetation clearance, 2009–10 to 2011–12


Total benefit area (ha)

Financial offset ($)

Source: Native Vegetation Council (2012)



39 804.59



29 509.00



8 278.00

The DEWNR is undertaking a review for the Native Vegetation Council of the way in which environmental benefit offsets are calculated. This is intended to improve consistency between methods used to determine offset requirements, and to ensure that payments made in place of an offset are equitable and realistically reflect the cost of restoration. This work is being done in conjunction with the Council of Australian Governments’ national reform project on environmental offsets.

4.1.2 State government policy

The NRM Act provides regional NRM boards with powers and functions to integrate the administration of water, soil and land management, together with legislation for animal and plant control. The intent is to better integrate the management of all natural resources in the state.

A key goal of the 2012 State NRM Plan (DEWNR 2012b) is to improve the condition and resilience of the natural environment. This includes targets for native vegetation extent and condition. South Australia’s Strategic Plan 2007 includes a target to ‘lose no native species as a result of human impacts’ (Government of South Australia 2011). The delivery of this target is supported by the strategy No species loss—a nature conservation strategy for South Australia 2007–2017, which aims to influence government, community and industry (DEH 2007).

4.1.3 Protected areas

In South Australia, protected areas are established under the NPW Act. In the 2008 state of the environment report, approximately 25 306 485 hectares of land, or 25.8% of the state, was under some form of protected status, an increase of 1% since 2003. In 2011, the total area increased to 27 906 210 hectares. The primary changes have been increases in the area of land classed as Indigenous protected area (an increase of 39.6% since 2008), wilderness area (an increase of 27.9%) and native forests (an increase of 35.6%) (Figure 9).

Public land conservation is managed by the DEWNR, and private land conservation is supported through heritage agreements under the Native Vegetation Act, sanctuaries under the NPW Act, and Indigenous protected areas under Commonwealth legislation. Forestry SA manages native forest reserves under the Forestry Act 1950.

4.1.4 Revegetation programs

Revegetation is a useful indicator of management response to the loss of native vegetation. Large-scale programs to restore native vegetation communities have been conducted over several decades in South Australia using state and national (e.g. Caring for our Country) funding.

Between 1999 and 2008, the total area of revegetation in South Australia fluctuated considerably, with a mean area revegetated of 12 876 hectares each year. Revegetation in 2008 was substantially lower than the average (50% less than the 2007 level) (Table 11). All revegetation activities decreased in 2008 from the previous year. The area of all revegetation activities (except forestry—softwood) was lowest in 2008.

Further investment in revegetation is occurring through new funding opportunities such as the Australian Government Biodiversity Fund. This has the potential to promote positive carbon and biodiversity benefits, but policymakers are aware that negative outcomes are possible. These potential ‘bio-perversities’ include clearing native vegetation to establish tree plantations, planting trees that become invasive taxa, and failing to anticipate how different groups of people respond to an environmental problem (Lindenmayer et al. 2012).

Map of protected areas in South Australia showing that the largest land areas under protection are in the northern half of the state.

Figure 9 Protected areas in South Australia

Table 11 Area of South Australian revegetation activities (hectares), 1999–2008

Type of vegetation











Source: DEWNR (2012)


3 770

4 050

3 910

4 060

4 540

5 130

4 630

3 390

3 470

1 750

Native (non-indigenous)

1 050










Native grasses











Farm forestry












1 490

1 210

1 300


1 090

















Product species










No data


2 940

21 130

6 730

6 010


6 640

1 120

1 300

2 000



3 050

2 940





4 430

3 810

5 180

4 030


12 890

30 620

13 190

12 230

7 420

13 750

11 870

9 140

11 000

6 740

4.1.5 Fire management policy and programs

The DEWNR fire management policy provides a framework for the management of fire on public and private lands. Since the 2009 Victorian bushfires and the subsequent Royal Commission, land management agencies have placed a stronger emphasis on planning and conducting prescribed burning to reduce fuel hazard levels. In 2010, the South Australian Government set a target to use prescribed burning for fuel reduction in 5% of high-risk public lands.

Between July 2008 and December 2011, 33 900 hectares were burnt in prescribed burning operations on land managed by the DEWNR, Forestry SA and SA Water. During the same period, 244 700 hectares were burnt by unplanned bushfires, including a small area of private land (DEWNR Fire Management Branch, pers. comm.).

The need to manage fire in a way that protects life and property and enhances biodiversity values, is well recognised in South Australia (Fire and Emergency Services Act 2005, DENR 2011a). If fire management of native vegetation is to provide ecologically sustainable outcomes for biodiversity conservation, management decisions need to be based on the best information available and need to look beyond an event-based management perspective to include a broader spatial and temporal view. Careful consideration of the different elements of fire regimes will therefore be needed when managing areas of native vegetation in South Australia. The DEWNR has a zoning policy that outlines the zoning used for fire management planning on DEWNR-managed lands (DENR 2011a). Zoning is derived from:

  • the level of perceived risk to life, property and environmental assets, using the Fire policy and procedure manual (DENR 2011a)
  • the overall fuel hazard, which is assessed using the Overall fuel hazard guide for South Australia (DENR 2011b) in accordance with the Fire policy and procedure manual (DENR 2011a)
  • the activities considered appropriate to mitigate the threat that fire poses to life, property and environmental assets.

The management of fire to maintain or enhance biodiversity is therefore based on accumulating knowledge of flora and fauna species, populations and communities and their response to fire regimes, and then applying this knowledge to fire management practices to maximise biodiversity outcomes.

4.1.6 Native vegetation reform project

The Government of South Australia is undertaking a project to improve the integration of native vegetation in the land-use planning system. The outcome of the project will be the mapping of areas of high conservation value native vegetation as part of producing structure plans for priority urban growth areas.

4.1.7 Climate change policy and research

South Australia’s adaptation framework, Prospering in a changing climate: a climate change adaptation framework for South Australia (Government of South Australia 2010), outlines South Australia’s policy approach to climate change adaptation. This is complemented by Tackling climate change: South Australia’s Greenhouse Strategy 2007–2020 (Government of South Australia 2007b), South Australia in a changing climate: blueprint for a sustainable future (CCSA 2009) and A regional climate change decision framework for natural resource management (Bardsley and Sweeney 2008).

Management regimes need to increase the capacity of ecosystems to adapt to climate change, including by creating opportunities for plants and animals to migrate as climate change occurs through actions such as maintaining native vegetation corridors (DEH 2006).

The DEWNR is currently a partner in a number of research projects that focus on climate change. These include modelling flora species populations as part of an Adelaide University ARC Linkage project (Delean et al. 2011, Fordham et al. 2012), and participating in a project with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), the Australian Government Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency (now the Australian Government Department of Industry, Innovation, Climate Change, Science, Research and Tertiary Education) and the Future Farm Industries Cooperative Research Centre to improve carbon sequestration assessment methodologies and refine national carbon sequestration models (Hobbs et al. 2010).

4.2 Threatened species and ecological communities

Several conservation strategies are being used to try to slow, halt and, where possible, recover the decline in many of the state’s threatened species, including:

  • implementing local action plans to help protect individual populations of threatened species through feral animal management, weed management, fire management, assisted pollination and propagation
  • implementing species recovery plans, with many activities carried out across the species’ entire range
  • collecting and storing seeds from a range of individuals in different threatened plant populations.

Table 12 summarises the numbers of state-listed threatened species for which one or more of these strategies is being employed. The table focuses only on those species listed in Schedules 7 and 8 of the NPW Act (endangered and vulnerable), as these are the priority species for immediate attention. The many other species listed in Schedule 9 (rare) often benefit from the activities undertaken to protect and improve the habitats and populations of endangered and vulnerable species. Figure 10 shows the percentage of threatened species that have current recovery plans.

Table 12 and Figure 10 demonstrate that investment has focused on the critically endangered and endangered species compared with those that are considered vulnerable. A proportion of the species for which no specific conservation activities are noted include oceanic seabirds, poorly known whale species and a few poorly known terrestrial species (e.g. night parrot).

For threatened ecological communities, recovery plans have been prepared for the buloke woodlands of the Riverina and Murray–Darling Depression bioregions, the community of native species that depend on natural discharge of groundwater from the Great Artesian Basin and iron grass natural temperate grassland of South Australia. Recovery plans are being prepared for peppermint box (Eucalyptus odorata) grassy woodlands of South Australia and for swamps of the Fleurieu Peninsula.

Systematic surveys underpin effective conservation actions for threatened species. One example is the surveys of freshwater fish habitats within the South Australian Murray–Darling Basin and the south-east of the state. Data collected over the past decade identified catastrophic declines in populations of several native fish species, such as the purple-spotted gudgeon, Yarra pygmy perch and Murray hardyhead. The loss of aquatic vegetation, and water-level declines due to drought and over extraction were identified as the causes. This information highlighted the need for emergency rescue action and resulted in the design of a captive breeding program. Different fish species were collected from the wild and bred in captive facilities, which included primary schools and farm dams. Activities to restore fish habitat were implemented and additional water was allocated in key sites. These management actions were undertaken by different organisations and groups until water levels increased and habitat was improved. Recovery plans for two threatened species are highlighted in Box 3.

Table 12 Numbers of species for which conservation or recovery strategies are being employed, April 2012

Taxonomic group

Presumed extinct in South Australia

Critically endangered




  1. Two mammal species previously considered extinct from South Australia—the burrowing bettong and the western barred bandicoot—are now well established at the Arid Recovery Reserve (Moseby et al. 2011)
  2. Mount Lofty Ranges spotted quail-thrush should now be presumed extinct given the time since last record and amount of searching undertaken (Garnett et al. 2011)
  3. Slater’s skink has not been recorded in South Australia for many decades and should be listed as presumed extinct (Pavey 2004).

Note: Schedule 7 statistics have been divided into presumed extinct, critically endangered and endangered according to International Union for Conservation of Nature criteria (IUCN 2012b).

Mammals (total species)


3 (3)

13 (18)

10 (21)

26 (42)

Birds (total species)


1 (5)


5 (32)

18 (66)

Reptiles (total species)


1 (1)


0 (9)

3 (17)

Amphibians (total species)




1 (4)

1 (4)

Vascular plants (total species)


17 (20)

62 (142)

114 (196)

193 (357)

Graph of proportion of state-listed threatened species in each threat category for which recovery actions are occurring in April 2012, showing that for all mammals and reptiles considered critically endangered there are recovery actions in place, for about three-quarters of critically endangered plants and about half of critically endangered birds. Overall, there are recovery actions for less than half the species considered threatened.

Figure 10 Percentage of state-listed threatened species in each threat category with recovery actions occurring, April 2012

Although it may not be feasible to manage all, or even most, threatened species and their various populations, the collection and long-term storage of seeds of threatened plant species is an important adjunct to the long-term conservation options for many plants. The State Seed Conservation Centre at the Adelaide Botanic Gardens has been accumulating such collections for more than a decade, originally based on a global project coordinated by the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew in the United Kingdom. The seeds are carefully stored and occasionally checked for viability. The numbers of South Australian threatened species represented in these collections are summarised in Table 13.

Box 3 Case studies: The most effective recovery plans depend on good science

Australian sea lions

A good example of science informing effective management is the work undertaken on the Australian sea lion by researchers at the South Australian Research and Development Institute and collaborators over the past 20 years or more (Goldsworthy et al. 2010, 2011; Lowther et al. 2011). This research has shown that the large breeding colony of sea lions at Seal Bay is declining, and suggested that the same may be true for other colonies. It has also shown that sea lions drowning in nets used by the Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery is having an impact on the populations. As a consequence, the Australian Fisheries Management Authority has used relative numbers and proximity of sea lion colonies to establish an Australian sea lion management zone for this fishery. This level of management has recently detected bycatch levels that have triggered closures of some sectors of the fishery; over time, it is expected that fishers will adopt long lines in place of gill nets. These management protocols need to be maintained, and monitoring of breeding colonies continued, to determine when and if the colonies begin to recover.

Red-tailed black cockatoos

Research has also guided recovery of feeding habitat for red-tailed black cockatoos in the south-east of South Australia. Research has shown that these cockatoos feed almost exclusively on the seeds of bulokes, desert stringybark and brown stingybark eucalypts (Koch 2003). It has also shown that the birds will often feed preferentially on isolated and small stands of stringybark trees because these trees have better seed crops than trees growing in larger clumps and in forest and woodland blocks. This information has demonstrated the importance that fence-line and paddock-corner plantings of stringybarks and bulokes can have for these birds. This is the basis for a project to restore these trees on farmland across their natural range in South Australia.

Adult female Australian sea lion and her pup at Lilliput Island, near Franklin Island

Dr Jane McKenzie

Table 13 Numbers of threatened plant species for which there are representative seed collections at the State Seed Conservation Centre, April 2012

Critically endangered





Total number of threatened species






Seed bank and other actions






Seed bank only






Threatened plants with conservation activity if seed bank included (%)






These seed collections also provide a basis for learning much more about seed biology for each species, including aspects of seed dormancy and how this may be broken, seed viability and longevity (what proportion of seed collected is actually fertile and how long it may remain viable in the soil), and seed tolerance to temperatures and climate change.

While focusing conservation effort on managing priority populations of threatened species, the DEWNR continues to reassess the status of plant and animal species across the state by leading a program of species status reviews for each NRM region, based on the Interim Biogeographic Regionalisation for Australia (IBRA) regions and subregions of Australia (see Section 2.1.1).

This process, involving state and local experts and interested individuals, has systematically been assessing regional status classifications of vascular plants and vertebrate animals using IUCN criteria, and assessing local population trends, to provide a detailed, ecosystem-related baseline from which state and national status assessments can be derived in the future. These reviews also assist in the identification of regional priority species, ecosystems and threats.

To date, regional assessments have been completed for the Eyre Peninsula, Northern and Yorke, South Australian Murray–Darling Basin and South East regions (see www.environment.sa.gov.au/managing-natural-resources/plants-and-animals/Threatened_species_ecological_communities/Regional_significant_projects/Regional_Species_Conservation_Assessment_Project). Assessments have been completed for the South Australian Arid Lands NRM region and final reports are nearing completion. Assessments have commenced for both the Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges and Kangaroo Island regions.

4.3 Land management

The Government of South Australia has put into place programs to address various issues in land management and soil quality.

4.3.1 Soil erosion

Achieving the Strategic Plan target of increasing the area of cropping land protected from erosion requires an ongoing collaborative effort between the South Australian Government, regional groups, farming industry organisations, community groups and individual farming businesses.

A key achievement to date has been the inclusion of erosion protection targets and strategies in the NRM plans prepared by the Eyre Peninsula, Northern and Yorke, South Australian Murray–Darling Basin, and South East NRM boards. This reflects strong collaboration between the government and NRM boards in the grain farming zone. A range of community, industry and agency projects aimed at educating and informing landholders and encouraging best practice are driving the adoption of management practices to reduce the risk of soil erosion.

The DEWNR Sustainable Dryland Agriculture Initiative provides strategic and financial support for projects to implement the target. Partnership projects have been developed with farming industry organisations and the Eyre Peninsula, Northern and Yorke, and South Australian Murray–Darling Basin NRM boards. The industry collaborators include the Agricultural Bureau of South Australia, Agriculture Excellence Alliance, the South Australian No-Till Farmers Association and Mallee Sustainable Farming Inc. The projects focus on increasing the adoption of stubble retention and no-till practices, improving grazing management, and increasing communication between NRM staff and farming and industry groups.

The Australian Government’s Clean Energy Future Plan includes initiatives that promote practices that complement the achievement of the target, such as reduced burning of crop residue and no-till practices. These practices also provide opportunities for farmers to manage carbon in their landscapes.

The Future Farming Industries Cooperative Research Centre (FFICRC) is evaluating and developing farming systems based on perennial plants in medium to low-rainfall areas. This will provide land managers with more options to protect the soil from erosion. The South Australian Government is one of the partners to the FFICRC through the DEWNR and the South Australian Research and Development Institute.

4.3.2 Soil acidity

The DEWNR, in partnership with industry groups and NRM boards, is developing and delivering programs to improve land managers’ understanding and awareness of soil acidity, its causes and treatment options; retest previous monitoring sites; and test additional sites to assess the extent of surface and subsurface acidity.

4.3.3 Dryland salinity

The area in the state most severely affected by dryland salinity is the upper South East, with approximately 200 000 hectares affected. The Upper South East Dryland Salinity and Flood Management Program has established a drainage network that has reduced the risk of salinity over an estimated area of more than 100 000 hectares (Dooley et al. 2008). This is a reduction of 50% of land affected in the upper South East, or almost 30% of the state’s dryland salinity–affected agricultural land.

Practical and profitable options for large-scale adoption of perennial plant systems and associated recharge reduction are being developed through the state government’s partnership with the FFICRC.

The regional NRM boards’ plans and investment strategies include salinity management. Programs to promote the management of dryland salinity through recharge reduction have been undertaken in all agricultural regions. Most projects have involved an integrated package of NRM and sustainable land management outcomes, including management of dryland salinity, soil erosion, water quality, and habitat and native vegetation.

Upper South East drain

Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources

4.3.4 Soil carbon

A project conducted by the DEWNR and the CSIRO is assessing the influence of soil type, rainfall and farming system on the amount and nature of soil organic carbon. Increasing the clay content of sandy soils, through techniques such as clay spreading and delving, has the potential to dramatically improve the amount of carbon held in the soil. The DEWNR is also working with industry groups to gain a better understanding of how soil carbon can be improved to offset carbon dioxide emissions.

4.4 Pests and diseases

Pest and disease management is best achieved through partnerships between government, industry and community. Landholders have the prime responsibility for managing terrestrial pests, with government and industry (where applicable) providing support through research, provision of technical advice, regulation, education and coordination. The establishment of Biosecurity SA and the integration of NRM into the DEWNR aims to allow for a more efficient, collaborative and strategic approach to managing pests and diseases. Recent initiatives for managing pest species are described below.

4.4.1 Vertebrate pests

A number of pest vertebrate species are already established in South Australia and management strategies are under way.

Cane toads

Biosecurity SA has worked with transport industries, nurseries and other relevant organisations to raise awareness of the potential for human-assisted introduction of cane toads.


Large-scale, coordinated rabbit control programs have been conducted in the Eyre Peninsula, Northern and Yorke, South Australian Arid Lands, and South Australian Murray–Darling Basin NRM regions in recent years, funded by the NRM Program. Biosecurity SA is a partner in the Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre (IACRC), and is participating in research to improve the effectiveness of rabbit haemorrhagic disease and to identify prospective new biocontrol agents overseas.

Feral goats

The South Australian Arid Lands NRM Board has run ‘Gammons Goats’, a Caring for our Country–funded program of aerial culling in the Gammon and Flinders Ranges that focuses on areas associated with Bounceback, an ecological restoration program aimed at protecting and restoring the semi-arid environments of the Flinders and Gawler ranges and Olary Hills of South Australia. The South Australian Murray–Darling Basin NRM Board is running programs to control goats through fencing, shooting and trapping goats, and decommissioning water points. The Kangaroo Island NRM Board has eradicated feral goats from five of seven management units on the island, with only a few goats thought to be remaining in early 2012.

Feral deer

Feral deer control is a high-priority issue for the South East NRM Board. The board has implemented a five-year feral deer project (2008–13), with support from Caring for our Country, which involves aerial survey and culling. The Kangaroo Island NRM Board has a deer eradication program, also funded through Caring for our Country with technical assistance from the IACRC and Biosecurity SA. NRM boards across South Australia regularly inspect deer farms to ensure that they comply with fencing standards prescribed under the NRM Regulations.

Feral camels

Feral camel management is being implemented through the National Feral Camel Action Plan, primarily funded through the Caring for our Country Australian Feral Camel Management Project. In South Australia, complementary funding has also been provided via the NRM Program. South Australia is taking a strategic approach to feral camel management, with current removal activities focusing on aerial culling and mustering for slaughter to protect priority assets, plus capacity building of Aboriginal communities to self-manage the feral camel population in the long term.

Feral camels in the Simpson Desert

Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources

4.4.2 Aquatic pests

Working under the Fisheries Management Act 2007, Biosecurity SA leads education, management and local eradication programs for aquatic pests within South Australia, often in collaboration with NRM boards and industry. Biosecurity SA regularly undertakes surveys and responds to incursion reports by the community and other stakeholders. It monitors areas where exotic species are known to be present, and supports and develops tools to stop the further spread of these species within the state. It is technically challenging to eradicate aquatic pests, and prevention methods to minimise the entry of exotic species and diseases is the most cost-effective management approach.

Nationally, the intergovernmental Vertebrate Pests Committee and its working group associated with pest fish management has developed a National Freshwater Pest Fish Strategy, which aims to develop a coordinated national approach to managing existing and new exotic freshwater species threats. Biological approaches to European carp control are being explored. Potential molecular approaches include immunocontraception to reduce carp fertility, ‘daughterless technology’ in which modification of a sex-determination gene results in the exclusive production of male offspring, and the introduction of a fatality gene to kill individuals (Koehn et al. 2000). The IACRC is also investigating the potential for the koi herpes virus as a biological control agent for carp.

4.4.3 Weeds

Invasive garden plants remain a key source of new weed outbreaks. To address this, the South Australian Government has worked with the Nursery and Garden Industry Association of South Australia to produce the booklet Grow me instead for home gardeners. The review of declared plants (see section 3.3.3) is also likely to recommend declaration for sale of some key ornamental species that cause serious weed problems in certain parts of the state.

A number of weed species are already established in South Australia and management strategies are under way.

Bridal creeper

The Western Cape form of bridal creeper has now been extensively mapped in the South East, and the focus is on containing further spread and protecting high-value biodiversity assets. Western Cape bridal creeper in north-east Adelaide is being targeted for eradication by the Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges NRM Board.


Isolated occurrences on Kangaroo Island, Eyre Peninsula, and in the South East and Mid North are the subject of long-term eradication programs under the National Gorse Strategic Plan. In the Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges region, grazing and forestry areas are protected from gorse infestations and gorse is managed in native vegetation in the region. Biological control using the gorse spider mite and the gorse thrips is reducing the weed’s vigour. The University of Adelaide has investigated the phenomenon of the native parasitic plant Cassytha pubescens causing extensive dieback of gorse infestations.

Wheel cactus

A state-level strategy for opuntioid cacti was prepared and adopted by the Minister for Environment and Conservation in 2010. Opuntioid cacti were declared a WoNS in 2012, and Biosecurity SA is hosting a national WoNS coordinator for the weed. A national strategic plan proposes further development of chemical and biological control techniques and targeting of onground programs at outlier infestations and at key biodiversity assets threatened by opuntioid cacti.

Silverleaf nightshade

A state-level strategy for silverleaf nightshade was prepared and adopted by the minister in 2011. Currently, control programs administered by regional NRM boards concentrate on containment by eliminating small infestations and minimising the spread of seed ingested by stock. Silverleaf nightshade was declared a WoNS in 2012 and Biosecurity SA is hosting the national coordinator to develop and implement a national strategy for the weed.

Buffel grass

A workshop held in Port Augusta in September 2010 drafted a state operational plan that informed the development of the South Australia Buffel Grass Strategic Plan 2012–17, released in October 2012. The declaration of buffel grass under the NRM Act is being considered in the current review of plant declarations.

4.5 Overall direction for natural resources management

Our place our future: state natural resources management plan, South Australia 2012–2017 provides overall direction for the management of South Australia’s natural resources( Government of South Australia, 2012).

The plan includes 3 goals and 13 targets to guide the natural resources management effort (Table 14).

The NRM Council must audit, monitor and evaluate the state and condition of natural resources against these targets, the results of which should provide a valuable contribution of data for future state of the environment reporting.

Guiding targets for natural resources management

  1. Goal 1: People taking responsibility for natural resources and making informed decisions
    1. Target 1: Ensure people are better informed and improve capacity in NRM decision-making
    2. Target 2: Involve more people in the sustainable management of natural resources
    3. Target 3: Improve institutional and organisational capacity to support people to manage natural resources
    4. Target 4: Improve capacity of individuals and community to respond to climate change
  2. Goal 2: Sustainable management and productive use of land, water, air and sea
    1. Target 5: All NRM planning and investment decisions take into account ecological, social and production considerations
    2. Target 6: Maintain the productive capacity of our natural resources
  3. Goal 3: Improved condition and resilience of natural systems
    1. Target 7: Improve soil and land condition
    2. Target 8: Increase extent and improve condition of native vegetation
    3. Target 9: Improve condition of terrestrial aquatic ecosystems
    4. Target 10: Improve condition of coastal and marine environments
    5. Target 11: Increase understanding of the condition landscapes (geological and culturally important features)
    6. Target 12: Improve the conservation status of species and ecological communities
    7. Target 13: Limit the establishment of pests and diseases and reduce the impacts of existing pests

Source: Government of South Australia (2012)

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