Land protected through the Growth Centres Biodiversity Offset Program

In the nine years that the program has been operating, 567 hectares of high conservation value land has been permanently protected at 13 locations across western Sydney.

The locations of biobank sites 1 to 13 are shown on the map.

13. Hardwick Stage 1 (2016–17)

Group of peope walking on a track in bushland on the Hardwicke biobank site

Program funding was used to purchase biodiversity credits, equal to protecting 25 hectares of critically endangered Cumberland Plain Woodland, from the Hardwicke Stage 1 biobank site.

The 57-hectare site is in Orangeville in Wollondilly local government area and was created independently of the program in 2017.

Read more about Hardwick Stage 1

Three people working through Cumberland Plain Woodland

Protected by the program – 25 hectares of critically endangered Cumberland Plain Woodland Photo: OEH

The condition of the native vegetation on the site varies, ranging from low condition grasslands through to intact Cumberland Plain Woodland. Reduced stocking rates from the late 1990’s combined with a lack of pasture improvement has seen significant natural regeneration across the site. At the same time, invasion by environmental weeds, including African olive, African boxthorn and lantana, is evident in many areas. The secure funding from the biobanking agreement will ensure that the site is well-managed into the future.

For more information, see the program’s 2016–17 annual report.

12. Williamswood biobank site (2015–16)

Grasses, shrubs and trees on the Williamswood biobank site

 

Williamswood is a 124-hectare privately-owned rural property at Mount Hunter (Wollondilly local government area).

A biobank site was established on the property independently of the program in 2015 and protects 104 hectares of threatened bushland.

 

Read more about Williamswood

The program purchased biodiversity credits to fund the protection and ongoing management of 14hectares of Cumberland Plain Woodland on the property.

While most of the vegetation on the site is in good condition, there are areas containing moderate to severe infestations of environmental weeds such as lantana, blackberry and African olive. Without the ongoing funding delivered through the biobanking agreement, these areas would continue to degrade and eventually lose their conservation values.

For more information, see the program’s 2015–16 annual report.

11. Mater Dei Stage 2 (2015–16)

Grasses, shrubs and trees on the Mater Dei Stage 2 biobank site

In 2015 program staff worked with the landowner to establish a new biobank site at the historic Mater Dei property at Cobbitty (Camden local government area).

The 58-hectare site is located on the banks of the Nepean River next to a 26-hectare biobank site on the property that was protected by the program in 2011–12.

Read more about Mater Dei Stage 2

Native vegetation around the Nepean River

Protected by the program – 58 hectares of threatened vegetation on the banks of the Nepean River. Photo OEH

The Stage 2 site protects critically endangered Cumberland Plain Woodland and endangered River Flat Eucalypt Forest, as well as several Camden white gums (Eucalyptus benthamii) which are listed as vulnerable under state legislation.

For more information, see the program’s 2015–16 annual report.

Mater Dei Fauna survey (2016)

The bushland protected by the program at Mater Dei provides important habitat for threatened species. A base-line fauna survey of the property in 2016 recorded 137 native species, including: 

  • six threatened birds: powerful owl, little lorikeet, speckled warbler, little eagle, dusky wood swallow and varied sittella
  • three threatened insectivorous microbats: eastern bentwing-bat, east coast freetail-bat, and large-eared pied bat
  • the threatened Cumberland land snail.

10. Fernhill Central West biobank site (2014–15)

Sandy soil, patchy grasses and trees on the Fernhill Central West biobank site

The Fernhill Central West biobank site is the second biobank site established on the Fernhill property (see Fernhill East biobank site).

The 147-hectare Central West site was formed in 2014. It contains a diverse range of woodlands and forests, and is home to threatened woodland birds such as the varied sittella and glossy black-cockatoo.

Read more about Fernhill Central West

Dirt road running through threatened Shale Sandstone Transition Forest on the Fernhill Central West biobank site. Photo: OEH

Threatened Shale Sandstone Transition Forest on the Fernhill Central West biobank site. Photo: OEH

Between 2013–14 and 2014–15, the Program purchased credits from the site to fund the protection and management of 9.5 hectares of critically endangered Shale Sandstone Transition Forest.

With the support of annual payments, the landowner is managing the biodiversity on the site by removing rubbish, installing new fences to exclude livestock, and by controlling weeds and feral animals.

For more information, see the program’s 2014–15 annual report.

9. Glenmore Park biobank site (2014–15)

Grasses, scrub and trees on the Glenmore Park biobank site

The Glenmore Park biobank site was established independently of the program on a rural residential property in Penrith local government area. The site is 15 hectares and covers most of the property.

The biobank site demonstrates the important role that private land conservation plays in supporting public reserves.

Read more about Glenmore Park

Map (see caption for more information)

Location of the Glenmore Park biobank site in relation to the Mulgoa Nature Reserve and other protected areas

The biobank site provides a crucial link between two separated parts of Mulgoa Nature Reserve, enhancing the long-term viability of the habitats and species that are protected in the reserve. Along with another biobank site that was formed and funded through the program in 2013 (refer to Mulgoa biobank site below), the site has increased the total area of this special bushland remnant by 30%, to 276 hectares. The area is permanently protected.

The biobank site also forms part of an important biodiversity corridor next to Mulgoa Creek (a tributary of the Nepean River), which connects to the Blue Mountains National Park. These corridors play a crucial role in linking core areas of habitat for species that would otherwise be isolated and at a greater risk of local extinction.

For more information, see the program’s 2014–15 annual report.

8. Orangeville (2013–14)

Sandy soil, patchy grasses and trees on the Fernhill Central West biobank site

Orangeville biobank site is located on a 125-hectare property in Wollondilly local government area. The property is privately-owned and used for livestock grazing.  In 2012, the landowner and OEH agreed to work together to establish a biobank site on 38 hectares of bushland adjoining Wattle Creek at the rear of the property.

Much of the bushland on the biobank site is heavily infested with the invasive woody weed African olive.

Read more about Orangeville

The bushland includes critically endangered Cumberland Plain Woodland and Sydney Turpentine Ironbark Forest.

Intensive and sustained bush regeneration is needed to restore and maintain the health of this bushland.

Funds from the program have been invested in the Biobank Trust Fund to cover the costs of ongoing managing the biobank site.

For more information, see the program’s 2013–14 annual report.

7. Fernhill East (2013–14)

Grasses, scrub and trees on the Glenmore Park biobank site

Fernhill Estate is a 648-hectare privately-owned property in Mulgoa in Penrith local government area. The estate contains an 1840s homestead, as well as areas listed as a ‘historic landscape' in the State Heritage Register.

Consistent with the property’s heritage values, the landholder has protected large areas of remnant bushland on the property through biobanking agreements.

Read more about Fernhill East

The Fernhill East biobank site was the first area created and protects 128 hectares of bushland in the eastern part of the property.

In 2014 the Program purchased biodiversity credits for the protection and management of 16 hectares of critically endangered Cumberland Plain Woodland on the site.

For more information, see the program’s 2013–14 annual report.

6. Mulgoa (2012–13)

Sandy soil, patchy grasses and trees on the Fernhill Central West biobank site

The privately-owned Mulgoa biobank site adjoins Mulgoa Nature Reserve and is an excellent example of an important woodland habitat being conserved across land holdings. Private land conservation plays an important role in supporting public reserves, particularly in areas where vegetation communities have been highly cleared and are not well-represented in the public reserve system.

Read more about Mulgoa

The threatened bushland on the property links through Mulgoa Nature Reserve to Mulgoa Creek and then to the nearby Blue Mountains National Park. These linkages support many woodland birds that are in broad decline in New South Wales, including 2 threatened bird species that have been recorded on the property – the varied sittella and black-chinned honeyeater. The biobank site will enhance the long-term viability of the threatened species found in the adjacent reserve by increasing the area of protected suitable habitat.

The protection and management of all 50 hectares of threatened vegetation on the biobank site was funded by the purchase of biodiversity credits by the program.

For more information, see the program’s 2012–13 annual report.

Mulgoa biobank site funding agreement with the Australian Government

The purchase of biodiversity credits from the Mulgoa biobank site was supported in part by a grant of $4,110,230 (excluding GST) from the Australian Government. As part of the funding agreement, the program is committed to protecting other areas of Commonwealth-listed threatened vegetation in addition to that required by the Strategic Assessment approval. The delivery of these ‘additional conservation outcomes’ allows the program to count all of the threatened vegetation protected at the Mulgoa biobank site against the offset requirements established by the Strategic Assessment approval.

5. Mt Hercules (2012–13)

Grasses, scrub and trees on the Glenmore Park biobank site

The Mount Hercules biobank site permanently protects 22 hectares of high conservation value bushland on the Razorback Range in Wollondilly local government area.

The site contains 19 hectares of critically endangered Cumberland Plain Woodland, 2 hectares of endangered Western Sydney Dry Rainforest and 1 hectare of endangered Moist Shale Woodland. It is also home to the endangered Cumberland Plain land snail.

Read more about Mt Hercules

Much of the bushland on the biobank site is in poor condition and infested with the invasive woody weed African olive. Without active management, the bushland will continue to degrade and eventually lose its conservation values.

The biobank site was created by the program in 2013. Under the biobanking agreement, the landowner is taking management actions that will restore and maintain the health of this bushland permanently. Annual payments are made to the landowner to fund these actions as well as to monitor and report on the outcomes.

For more information, see the program’s 2012–13 annual report.

Landowner interview

See the Mount Hercules landowner interview for more information on the biobank site.

4. Mater Dei (2011–12)

Sandy soil, patchy grasses and trees on the Fernhill Central West biobank site

The Mater Dei property at Cobbitty has been owned by the Sisters of the Good Samaritan since 1910 and is recognised for its heritage and environmental values. The property’s historic Wivenhoe house is located within a landscape of critically endangered Cumberland Plain Woodland.

 

Read more about Mater Dei

In 2011, the Sisters and OEH agreed to work together to form a biobank site on part of the property. The site was created in 2012 and permanently protects 26 hectares of threatened woodland with funding provided for its ongoing management.

Prior to the creation of the biobank site, the woodland was grazed by livestock, and large infestations of the woody weed African olive were degrading its biodiversity values and detracting from the use and enjoyment of the property.

Many of the Sisters can recall walking through open woodland from Wivenhoe house to swim in the Nepean River in the 1960s. The biobanking agreement will ensure that future generations will again be able to enjoy walking through a unique Australian landscape from the historic house to the banks of the river.

For more information, see the program’s 2011–12 annual report.

3.Beulah (2010–11)

Grasses, scrub and trees on the Glenmore Park biobank site

Beulah is a 90-hectare historic property near Appin in south-west Sydney. The property has outstanding biodiversity values, including nearly 20 hectares of critically endangered Cumberland Plain Woodland, 40 hectares of critically endangered Shale Sandstone Transition Forest and known koala habitat.

 

Read more about Beulah

The property is also a significant heritage site containing the original 1830s family home of the explorer, Hamilton Hume. The Historic Houses Trust of NSW (HHT) had a long-standing interest in purchasing the property through its Endangered Houses Program. However, it had limited funds to do so.

When the property became available for purchase in 2010, the HHT and OEH made a funding agreement that allowed the HHT to purchase the property. The program contributed $600,000 to the purchase and the HHT agreed to permanently protect the remnant vegetation through a biobanking agreement.

The biobank site was created in 2011 and protects 60 hectares of threatened vegetation. The program purchased the biodiversity credits that were created by the biobanking agreement and the proceeds of this were placed in a trust fund for the ongoing management of the site.

For more information, see the program’s 2010–11 annual report.

2. St Mary’s Towers (2009–10)

Sandy soil, patchy grasses and trees on the Fernhill Central West biobank site

In 2010 the first biobank site in New South Wales was established on the St Mary’s Towers property at Douglas Park in south-west Sydney.

The property is owned by the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart, a society of the Catholic Church, and is historically significant as the 1840’s home of the explorer, Sir Thomas Mitchell.

Read more about St Mary's Towers

The landowner and staff from the program worked together to make the 80-hectare biobank site possible.

The biobank site provides an excellent example of the natural transition between shale derived woodlands and sandstone gully forests in the southern Cumberland Plain. The land protected includes 36 hectares of critically endangered Cumberland Plain Woodland and 33 hectares of critically endangered Sandstone Transition Forest.

For more information, see the program’s 2009–10 annual report.

St Marys Towers Fauna Survey (2017)

In 2017, a fauna survey of the St Mary’s Towers property, including the biobank site, recorded 218 vertebrate fauna species on the property. This included 17 threatened fauna species, including the koala, speckled warbler, southern myotis, greater broad-nosed bat, large-eared pied bat and eastern freetail-bat. The biobank site and adjoining bushland form part of a continuous band of vegetation along the Nepean and Cataract rivers and associated creeks. These connections are important for animal movement between the large regional reserves in the area.

Conservation achievements – St Mary’s Towers biobank site (2010–2017)

This report describes the key management actions that have been taken place on the St Mary’s Towers biobank site in the seven years since it was created. It contains the on-ground outcomes that the landowner and program staff have achieved through the annually-funded management actions at the site. It also provides information to help future management planning and costing decisions for conservation lands in the region.

1. Wianamatta Nature Reserve (2008–09)

Grasses, scrub and trees on the Glenmore Park biobank site

Wianamatta Nature Reserve was purchased in 2009 using funds from the program and other sources, including the Australian Government (see below).

The 181-hectare reserve is located at Cranebrook in Penrith local government area. It provides an important refuge for native animals and plants due to its large size, connectivity and ecological diversity.

Read more about Wianamatta Nature Reserve

Bushland at Wianamatta Nature Reserve

A new public reserve for Western Sydney was acquired using Program and Commonwealth funding in 2008. Photo: OEH

A significant number of animal and plant species have been recorded within the reserve, including a variety of threatened species and endangered ecological communities.

Opportunities to acquire and reserve bushland on the Cumberland Plain of a similar size and condition to this reserve are limited. Its protection provides the people of western Sydney with a new breathing space where they can enjoy some of the region’s unique plants and animals.

The reserve contains the upper catchment area of Rickabys Creek and plays an important role in providing landscape connectivity in this part of the Cumberland Plain. It is strategically located in respect to other reserves including Agnes Banks Nature Reserve, Castlereagh Nature Reserve and Wianamatta Regional Park.

The permanent protection of corridors and associated refuge areas is critical for the long-term survival of the threatened animals and plants in this highly fragmented landscape.

For more information, see the program’s 2008–09 annual report.

Australian Government grant

The purchase of Wianamatta Nature Reserve was supported by a $11.7 million grant from the Australian Government, which was two thirds of the purchase price. The vegetation protected in the reserve has not been counted towards the offset requirements for the Strategic Assessment approval.

Protecting the reserve

Before it was purchased, the threatened vegetation at the property was damaged by years of illegal access and rubbish dumping. Stopping illegal access was the highest priority in protecting the new reserve. In 2010 the program funded the installation of cable fencing along all road frontages to the reserve, allowing the new reserve to begin its recovery.

Previous-annual-reports

  • Growth Centres Biodiversity Offset Program Annual Report 2015–16 (PDF 3.8MB)
  • Growth Centres Biodiversity Offset Program Annual Report 2014–15 
  • Page last updated: 07 June 2018