Proposed changes to the Biodiversity Assessment Method were open for public comment from 16 September to 16 October 2019.
Biodiversity Assessment Method
The Biodiversity Assessment Method (BAM) outlines how an accredited person assesses impacts on biodiversity at development sites and stewardship sites.
The BAM is a scientific document that provides:
- a consistent method for the assessment of biodiversity on a proposed development or major project, or clearing site
- guidance on how a proponent can avoid and minimise potential biodiversity impacts, and
- the number and class of biodiversity credits that need to be offset to achieve a standard of ‘no net loss’ of biodiversity.
The BAM is supported by the online BAM tool, which allows accredited assessors (typically ecological consultants) to enter field data and determine the number and class of biodiversity credits. The BAM tool will also help with preparation of standardised reports for consent authorities to consider.
An accredited assessor must apply the BAM. The assessor documents the results of the biodiversity assessment in a Biodiversity Development Assessment Report (BDAR).
The BDAR identifies:
- how the proponent proposes to avoid and minimise impacts
- any potential impact that could be characterised as serious and irreversible according to specified principles and
- the offset obligation required to offset the likely biodiversity impacts of the development or clearing proposal, expressed in biodiversity credits.
A proponent must provide the BDAR to the approval authority as part of their development, major project proposal, or clearing application. A BDAR will be placed on public exhibition with the relevant development application.
The BAM measures two types of credits on both development sites and stewardship sites.
- ecosystem credits, which measure the offset requirement for impacts on threatened ecological communities, threatened species habitat for species that can be reliably predicted to occur with a plant community type, and other plant community types generally
- species credits, which measure the offset requirement for impacts on threatened species individuals or area of habitat.
Biodiversity Assessment Method Operational Manual
The Operational Manual provides operational guidance to assist applicants and accredited assessors to apply the Biodiversity Assessment Method (BAM) which is established under section 6.7 of the NSW Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016.
The Manual is a companion document to the BAM which provides assessors with further guidance regarding applying the BAM to assess a site for biodiversity values for the purposes of assessing the impacts of development or clearing, or for developing a management plan for land proposed for a biodiversity stewardship agreement.
The Manual is being prepared in three separate documents to mirror the structure of the BAM.
BAM Operational Manual Stage 1- Biodiversity Assessment
Stage 1 of the Manual is now available. It provides information to support the implementation of Stage 1 of the BAM (Biodiversity Assessment) and is to be used to assist with quantifying biodiversity values on land that is:
- proposed as a development site, including for a Part 5 activity
- subject to a vegetation clearing proposal which is required to be assessed by BAM under the NSW Local Land Services Act 2013
- proposed to be biocertified
- proposed as a stewardship site under a biodiversity stewardship agreement.
Stage 1 focuses on the operational detail of the assessment of the landscape context, the integrity of native vegetation and habitat suitability for threatened species.
BAM Operational Manual Stage 2 – Impact Assessment
Stage 2 of the Manual is now available. It provides information to support the implementation of Stage 2 of the BAM (Impact Assessment) and is used to assist the:
- application of the avoid, minimise and offset hierarchy
- assessment of direct, indirect and prescribed biodiversity impacts associated with proposed activities
- application of the no net loss standard through the calculation of the offset requirements for impacts on the biodiversity values at a development site
- establishment of the credit class and offset trading group for ecosystem credits and species credits.
The BAM Operational Manual Stage 3 – Improving biodiversity values is in preparation.