ENVIRONMENT Minister Bill Marmion has welcomed the release of guidelines to help land managers and decision makers better balance fire and conservation in transport corridors.
The Roadside Conservation Committee (RCC) and the Fire and Emergency Services Authority (FESA) have worked together, in consultation with a number of key stakeholders, to develop the ‘Biodiversity Conservation and Fire in Road and Rail Reserves Management Guidelines’.
The RCC is appointed by the Environment Minister and includes membership from the Department of Environment and Conservation, FESA, Main Roads WA, Department of Agriculture and Food WA, WA Local Government Association, WA Conservation Council, Wildflower Society, Western Power, WestNet Rail and WA Gas Networks. These organisations all contributed towards the development of the guidelines.
“The guidelines promote the effective management of both fire hazards and conservation values in road and rail reserves, and have been prepared to help land managers make informed choices about fire in these corridors,” Mr Marmion said.
“The majority of road and rail reserves in Western Australia are only narrow strips of vegetation, which makes them particularly vulnerable to degradation. It is important to make considered decisions about how to manage these reserves to ensure vegetation longevity and function, and this includes how we use and manage fire in the reserves.
“Fire can have negative and positive impacts on natural populations of both flora and fauna, so careful management is required.
“Roadside vegetation is important in supporting biodiversity conservation as well as values for local communities and tourism.”
The Minister said fire management in road and rail reserves presented a unique challenge to a wide range of agencies, with a need to mitigate against the potential risk of bushfires.
“The committee has ensured proper guidelines are in place to reduce the risk to the community of unplanned bushfire, but it is important to manage these areas with consideration of the natural environmental values,” he said.
The RCC will distribute the guidelines to relevant land managers and decision makers, and copies can be requested through the RCC executive officer by emailing email@example.com or phoning 9334 0423.