Biodiversity Survey Priorities for OEH (DECCW) Reserves in the Sydney Basin 2009 - 2014


Information that describes the type, distribution and status of biodiversity in NSW is required by many arms of OEH for regulatory, conservation assessment and land management purposes. Numerous statewide policies and plans  target the need for biodiversity data to assist with decision-making processes that confront land managers and regulators. However there are few documents that assess the adequacy of currently available information or guide managers on data collection and management priorities. Investment in biodiversity information is expensive, and if it is undertaken without an overarching strategy it can result in inefficiencies, duplication and lost effort.

In the Sydney Basin Bioregion, over 60% of extant native vegetation occurs in OEH reserves, making OEH the largest individual custodian of native flora and fauna in the region. Since 2003, the former Central Branch of the Parks and Wildlife Group has funded a Biodiversity Survey Priorities Program (BSP) to address biodiversity data needs for all reserves managed by the branch. The aim of the program has been to provide all reserves with an equivalent level of information irrespective of size and location and to ensure that biodiversity data collection is approached in a strategic and systematic way. This includes the integration of reserve data into broader regional data resources that aim to produce seamless cross-tenure data on the region's biodiversity values.

In 2003, an initial report reviewed all reserves managed by the former Central Branch to identify those that were deficient in basic biodiversity datasets to support reserve management. It established a five-year program to address the worst of the gaps. The outputs aimed to make data available in stand-alone, easily accessible reports and maps. As a result of the first five years of the program, 28 reserves have been surveyed for fauna or flora or both covering almost 1 million hectares. This work has altered previous knowledge of the distribution of many threatened species and endangered ecological communities. These areas now hold a level of information for park managers that was not previously available. Over 75% of the reserves of the former Central Branch are covered by adequate standards of fauna data and over 60% are covered by adequate vegetation maps.

In 2009, this program was extended for a further five years across an expanded region to include all the Sydney Basin Bioregion. As part of the extension, a review of progress and priorities has been completed. This report describes that review process and establishes new priorities for the next five years. This report:

  • describes the progress and outcomes of the first five years 2003-2009.
  • revises the assessment of adequacy for fauna and vegetation data available on reserves across an expanded region. The expanded region includes 71 reserves not assessed in 2003, 30 of which are new acquisitions and 41 which are included from the South Coast and Southern Highlands areas.
  • identifies an annual order of works that addresses the highest biodiversity survey priorities and meets dual objectives of park management and broader OEH biodiversity strategies. Priority survey works will be focused on the Hunter-Central Rivers catchment management area, the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area, northern Metropolitan Sydney and the Central Coast.
  • establishes goals and objectives for the completion of a standardised coverage of vegetation mapping and fauna data across the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area, vegetation classification and mapping in the Sydney Basin Bioregion and a comprehensive assessment of the fauna of the greater northern Sydney Region.
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Page last updated: 09 September 2013