Biodiversity and threatened species resources for local government
Local government's role in conservation and management of biodiversity
Local government is a key player in the conservation and management of biodiversity and threatened species in NSW. As land use planners, local government is responsible for planning and regulating many activities which may impact on biodiversity and threatened species. Councils also manage large areas of public land, much of which contains important biodiversity values.
This web page and those linked to it were created to provide a resource for councils to more easily access information to assist them in understanding their obligations and functions under various Acts relating to biodiversity and threatened species, and to showcase the work of councils and OEH.
- Biodiversity surveys and mapping – examples of biodiversity surveys, vegetation and habitat maps prepared by councils and OEH.
- Strategic planning – examples of biodiversity strategies, corridor mapping, vegetation protection orders and the incorporation of biodiversity information into strategic planning documents.
- Environmental impact assessment and compliance – examples from councils and OEH of checklists and guidelines on the assessment process, to assist in determining councils' legislative obligations. This section includes compliance and enforcement information to assist councils when a ‘harm’ or ‘pick’ of a threatened species may have occurred.
- Bushland and natural area management – information to assist with the management of natural areas including council plans of management, operational guidelines, grants, best practice guidelines, protocols, projects and initiatives.
Consistent and accurate mapping of vegetation, communities and habitats are essential tools for planning and management purposes. Councils need reliable data and accurate maps to make balanced and defensible decisions in relation to development and planning issues, and to undertake day-to-day operations.
These resources provide a guide to the standard techniques to employ when undertaking mapping and data collection. If you are planning to undertake broad surveys in your LGA, talk to OEH during the project planning stage, to ensure consistency in data collection and so your results can be pooled into broader regional studies. Some examples are also provided of council mapping results.
Survey and mapping reports
LGA-wide mapping completed by
Council mapping of bushland reserves on web
Threatened species mapping
Consideration of biodiversity at the strategic planning stage is critical for achieving good conservation outcomes. There are usually more options available for conservation and management at the strategic planning stage. By contrast, conservation at the development assessment stage is often ad-hoc and options are often limited.
Links are provided to council biodiversity strategies, corridor mapping, vegetation protection orders and how councils have incorporated biodiversity information into strategic planning documents.
Incorporation of vegetation mapping into strategic planning and policy documents
Vegetation Protection Orders
Commonwealth guides on strategic planning
Councils that have threatened species notation on s149 Certificates
Links are provided to a number of guidelines for council officers when undertaking impact assessments. It also includes guidelines for developers that some councils have released.
Council guidelines for applicants
Councils that have internal DA assessment checklists for council planners to ensure biodiversity is adequately assessed
State government guidelines
Threatened species recovery planning documents (to be taken into account when undertaking assessment of significance)
Councils have an important investigation and enforcement role in relation to illegal actions that impact on threatened species. Under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979, councils have significant powers to issue notices and orders requiring a person to do or refrain from doing certain things. Councils also have an important role in reducing the incidence of unauthorised clearing. Consent conditions should be carefully worded to minimise ambiguity around retention of native vegetation and habitats at sites. The incidence of unauthorised clearing can also be reduced by close management of contractors working on council land where threatened species occur.
The following information is provided to reduce the incidence of illegal clearing and to outline the information that OEH would require to conduct an investigation. An early notification will greatly assist OEH in the process of investigations.
Examples are provided below of plans, projects and initiatives that relate to the management of natural areas including council plans of management, operational guidelines, grants, best practice guidelines and private land incentive schemes.
On ground management
Many councils have plans of management for reserves. Some examples:
Priority rating for bushland works
Best practice guidelines and demonstration sites
Outdoor staff, contract and volunteer management
Good neighbour programs
Creating gardens for wildlife
Private land incentives
Page last updated: 18 April 2016