Conservation programs

Find out about programs that protect and conserve NSW public lands and partnership programs to protect and conserve privately owned lands.

OEH is committed to the protection and conservation of high conservation value lands. Reserves of the National Parks and Wildlife Service protect more than seven million hectares of NSW, or around 8.8% of the State's area. However, many valuable landscapes and otherwise poorly conserved ecosystems fall on land that is either privately owned or required for other public use.

OEH has developed the following major programs to encourage broad involvement in land conservation across NSW, regardless of tenure. OEH also works in partnership with other organisations to support non-statutory community programs which promote conservation on private lands.

Find out more about the following OEH conservation programs

The Conservation Partners Program provides the opportunity to protect and conserve significant natural and cultural heritage values on private and non-reserved public lands through Conservation Agreements and Wildlife Refuges under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974. These long-term legal commitments are entered into voluntarily and complement the public national park and reserve system. These lands play a critical role in connecting conservation areas to facilitate species survival and movement, and strengthen the resilience of protected areas by acting as a buffer to threats, including the potential implications of climate change.

The Great Eastern Ranges Initiative is a continental-scale conservation initiative along Australia's great eastern ranges from the Australian Alps north of Melbourne to the Atherton Tablelands just west of Cairns in far north Queensland. Governments, private and public landholders and the general community are working together to help people, native plants and animals adapt to future environmental threats by reconnecting 'islands' of fragmented natural ecosystems, spiritual places and Country that are important to Aboriginal Australians, and significant post-1788 cultural heritage.

The Biodiversity Banking and Offsets Scheme (or 'BioBanking') has been established under the Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995 to help address the loss of biodiversity from habitat degradation and reduction and promote the recovery of threatened species in coastal regions of the state. The loss of biodiversity has been the result of overgrazing and clearing of native vegetation for agriculture and, more recently, clearing for urban development.

Biodiversity certification allows suspension of the requirement for threatened species assessment under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979. Certification enables local government in areas with high development pressure to provide for the protection of biodiversity, including threatened species, at the strategic planning stage instead.

Development of the reserve system, managed by NPWS, forms the backbone of our nature conservation efforts. To consolidate this reserve system we need to acquire land. Sometimes land is transferred to NPWS from other government agencies. At other times, it is purchased from private landholders. Find out about NPWS priorities for acquiring new land for conservation reserves and how the process works.

The Upper Hunter Strategic Assessment is a joint initiative of the NSW and Australian governments. They are working with the coal mining industry to improve the planning of new or expanded coal mines which have the potential to impact on biodiversity.

The Green Corridors program is a Government priority action identified in the NSW 2021 Plan. It protects strategic areas of high conservation value vegetation and ensures more green spaces across Sydney and NSW. The program is being implemented with $40 million of funding over four years (2011-12 to 2014-15).

Also see Land Alive - Aboriginal land management for biodiversity.

Through the Seabird Habitat Restoration Project, OEH is removing kikuyu grass Pennisetum clandestinum from Montague Island, which is located near Narooma on the NSW south coast. Kikuyu grass smothers native vegetation, resulting in the loss of seabird breeding habitat. Through spraying and burning, and revegetating the land with native plants, over 14.5 hectares of kikuyu grass have been removed, effectively halving its distribution. In its place, over 60,000 native seedlings have been planted to provide suitable habitat for nesting seabird species such as the little penguin.

The NSW Environmental Trust funded a workshop that enabled managers to come together to learn about the success on Montague Island and share experiences from other islands. Read about the proceedings of the Seabird Habitat Restoration Project workshop.

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Page last updated: 29 October 2015