In the eight years that the program has been operating (2008–09 to 2015–16) it has protected 511 hectares of native vegetation at 12 locations across western Sydney. In accordance with the program’s aims, the protected areas are some of the largest areas of high conservation value bushland left in the region.
In 2015–16, the program received a net annual allocation from the Environmental Trust of $7,056,881. Combined with a grant of $362,000 from the Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH), the total program revenue for the year amounted to $7,418,881.
The funding received in 2015–16 resulted in an additional 40.6 hectares of threatened vegetation being protected at four biobank sites. Of particular note, the program funded the establishment of a new biobank site at the historic Mater Dei property on the banks of the Nepean River at Cobbitty. The 58-hectare site adjoins an existing 26-hectare biobank site on the property that was protected by the program in 2011–12. Biodiversity credits equivalent to 20.1 hectares of Cumberland Plain Woodland were purchased from the new site in 2015–16 and the remaining credits will be purchased in the coming years.
Biodiversity credits were also purchased from three other sites in western Sydney, comprising 13.8 hectares of Cumberland Plain Woodland from the Williamswood biobank site at Mt Hunter, 4.8 hectares of Shale Sandstone Transition Forest from the Fernhill Central West biobank site at Mulgoa and 1.9 hectares of Cumberland Plain Woodland from the Glenmore Park biobank site which adjoins Mulgoa Nature Reserve.
The high-value bushland protected by the program to date is part of an offset for the net loss of 357 hectares of vegetation in the developable areas of Sydney’s Growth Centres since 2007. These conservation outcomes have been achieved through the use of offset funding, which is an effective way of conserving bushland as the population grows in western Sydney.
More information: Growth Centres Biodiversity Offset Program.