Friends of Grasslands

supporting native grassy ecosystems

PO Box 440
Jamison Centre
Macquarie ACT 2614


The Director
Bushfire Affected Species Assessments
Biodiversity Conservation Division
Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water
GPO Box 3090
Canberra ACT 2600



Consultation on Species Listing Eligibility and Conservation Actions: Lepidium ginninderrense (Ginninderra peppercress)

Friends of Grasslands (FOG) is a community group dedicated to the conservation of natural temperate grassy ecosystems in south-eastern Australia.  FOG advocates, educates and advises on matters to do with the conservation of native grassy ecosystems, and carries out surveys and other on-ground work.  FOG is based in Canberra and its members include professional scientists, landowners, land managers and interested members of the public.

The Conservation Council ACT Region is the peak non-government environment organisation for the Canberra region. Since 1981, we have spoken up for a healthy environment and a sustainable future for our region. We harness the collective energy,expertise and experience of our more than 40 member groups to promote sound policy and action on the environment. We campaign for a safe climate, to protect biodiversity in our urban and natural areas, to protect and enhance our waterways, reduce waste, and promote sustainable transport and planning for our city. Working in the ACT and region to influence governments and build widespread support within the community and business, we put forward evidence-based solutions and innovative ideas for how we can live sustainably. At a time when we need to reimagine a better future, we understand that the changes we need will only happen with the collective support of our community.

FOG and the Conservation Council support the uplisting of Lepidium ginninderrense to Critically Endangered based on the species' rarity and limited range, being entirely confined to the Australian Capital Territory.  The species is also poorly represented in the reserve system and is likely still under severe threat, even where it is formally protected in reserves. 

Its type locality is at the Lawson North Grasslands on lands formerly managed by the Department of Defense.  That site is now under the ownership of, and management by Defense Housing Australia (DHA), who have a development proposal over part of the site.  In the last few years the entire site has been subject to an invasion by St John's Wort, Hypericum perforatum, and while this invasion has been subject to weed spraying to control it, we are concerned that widespread spraying may have resulted in damage to L. ginninderrense plants.  A FOG member has recently been informed by the weed contractor for DHA that they were aware of the population of L. ginninderrense at the site, and according to them, that the population has been safe from both the invasive weeds and any effects of the spraying operation. However, the population is clearly under threat, partly because the site, containing historically by far the largest population of this species, is not within the reserve system, and is not being managed adequately for its biodiversity values; limited biomass control at Lawson North may also be a threatening factor.  We are concerned that the consultation document states the populations at the other two sites appear to be declining.

We understand that much of the information in the consultation document is derived from expert advice from researchers, and ecologists of, or contractors to the ACT Government, and as such FOG can add little to that document that will be of further value.  

Just a note on botanical technicalities, however: the caption for the picture presented on p.11 of the pdf refers to the fruit of the plant as a "pod".  Further into the document, in the Description on p.12, the term of the fruit is referred to as "siliculae".  The correct term for a fruit of plants in Brassicaceae is a "silicula" with "siliculae" being the plural of that term.

Also note that in the section on Distribution the "grassland earless dragon" referred to is now known as the Canberra grassland earless dragon, having been subject to a recent taxonomic revision that split a former species into four new species.  It is still known as Tympanocryptis lineata.

Having this species uplisted, FOG hopes that adequate resources can be directed to the conservation of not only this species, but also its critically endangered grassland habitat and the other threatened grassland fauna and flora that share its habitat. 

FOG and Conservation Council thanks the Department for the opportunity to comment on the proposal to uplist this species to Critically Endangered.

Yours sincerely


Professor Jamie Pittock

29 May 2023