The White Bellied sub-species of the Crimson Finch, Neochmia phaeton evangelinae, and the northern sub-species of the Star Finch, Noechnia ruficauda clarescens have been declining in the Kowanyama region over the last 10 years.
There is a Threatened Species Recovery Plan for these two species.
The crimson finch Neochmia phaeton is listed as ‘Vulnerable’ in Queensland under the Nature Conservation Act 1992 (NC Act). The crimson finch (white-bellied) is listed as ‘Vulnerable” nationally under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act).
The threats to the finch species are listed in the Recovery Plan as:-
- invasion of grassland habitats by woody weeds, particularly broad-leaved tea-tree Melaleuca viridiflora, as a result of altered fire regimes and grazing by cattle;
- removal of tall grasses by pigs and stock congregating near fresh water during dry seasons; and
- invasion of riparian habitats by rubber vine Cryptostegia grandis.
The recovery Plan also lists strategies and actions to counter these threats in specific locations. The activities listed for Kowanyama are:-
Remove Rubber Vine from known and potential habitats, (Red Lily Lagoon and Magnificent Creek)
Alter fire regimes to increase grass recruitment and reduce woods weeds encroachment
Reduce cattle and pig Impacts on wetlands and riparian areas in and adjacent to known habitats
Monitor presence of finches in restored habitat. (Record all sightings, record flock size in Sept, Oct)
Analyse and report on monitoring. Relate any increase in population with treatment in that specific area.
Kowanyama has been recording finch sightings for 4 years and have many sightings in 9 different locations. These locations are all in similar habitat.
The project will carry out the following activities;-
- Survey and report on the condition of habitat in known previous sighting locations,
- Rubber Vine, present or absent,
- Grassland ecology suitable for finches
- Cattle and pig damage, present or absent
- Finches present or absent, Size of flock in Sept Oct
- Draw up Habitat Restoration Plans for these sites that require it based on the survey results.
- Carry out activities and actions in Habitat Restoration Plans
- Remove Rubber Vine
- Change burning regime if necessary
- Fence for cattle exclusion if required
- Feral control Team- Pig culling (Operation Bikki Bikki)
- Monitor Finch populations (on-going). Record flock size Sept, Oct.