What is an expert?
An expert is a person who, in the opinion of the Environment Agency Head (EAH), possesses specialised knowledge of a species based on training, study or experience to provide an expert opinion about the biodiversity values to which an expert report relates, that is 'species credit' species.
The specific purpose of an 'expert report' within the Biodiversity Assessment Method (BAM) is to allow for a person with extensive knowledge about an individual threatened species to identify its habitat without survey and predict its density and distribution in that habitat.
Information about experts and expert reports
Experts and the use of expert reports are described within 6.5.2 of the Biodiversity Assessment Method (BAM).
An expert is engaged by an accredited assessor to prepare an expert report as part of a Biodiversity Assessment Report (BAR) (where relevant). An expert does not need to be an accredited assessor themselves or have attended BAM training.
It is the responsibility of the BAM accredited assessor to ensure that any expert report being submitted as part of a BAR has been prepared by a person approved by the EAH as an expert.
An expert report relates only to species credit species, and not ecosystem-credit species or plant community types (PCTs). NSW Bionet can be used to determine the credit type for a threatened species.
How is expert status demonstrated?
To demonstrate expert status, applicants must prepare a submission that addresses all of the following criteria:
- The expert's qualifications such as relevant degrees, postgraduate qualifications.
- Their history of experience in the ecological research and survey method, for the relevant species.
- A resume detailing projects pertaining to the survey of the relevant species (including the locations and dates of the work) over the previous 10 years.
- Their employer's name and period of employment (where relevant).
- Relevant peer-reviewed publications.
- Evidence that the person is a well-known authority on the relevant species to which the survey relates. The accredited assessor cannot act as a referee for the proposed expert.
How do I apply to be listed as an expert?
The Department of Planning, Industry and Environment will only consider applications for approval to become an expert for projects that require an expert report to be prepared. The Department recommends that accredited assessors get prior approval for any experts before undertaking relevant surveys or submitting reports.
Expert applicants or accredited assessors should prepare a submission addressing criteria a to f above for each species and attach to the application form. The submission and application form should be complied into one PDF file and sent to Bam_experts@environment.nsw.gov.au
The application form must be signed by both the expert applicant and the BAM assessor managing the relevant BAM project case. The Department may contact the accredited assessor to verify that there is a BAM case to be prepared.
List of approved experts
Under 22.214.171.124 of the BAM, the Environment Agency Head (delegate) may publish a list of experts. Where an expert has a region next to their entry in this table, they are only approved for projects that are in the Local Government Areas within that region. Refer to Regional operations – regions and Local Government Areas (PDF 103KB) for more information.
The Department does not intend this list to be a comprehensive list of all known experts. It is a list of people that have been approved by the EAH (delegate) for specific projects and who may be relevant to future projects.
You can download the updated list of approved biodiversity experts (XLSX 29KB).
Note: Varying survey time for species credit species
Surveys for species credit species need to be conducted at the optimum time for detection. Survey months for species are automatically populated in the Biodiversity Assessment Method Calculator (BAM-C) via the Threatened Biodiversity Data Collection (TBDC). These months were selected assuming 'average' conditions, and that the survey is undertaken using an appropriate method, time of day and conditions (based on relevant survey guidelines).
You can adjust survey timing if, for example, natural disturbances or climatic events are likely to alter the months when the species is most likely to be found. Sometimes additional information on survey times is provided in the 'General Notes' field of the TBDC, for example, 'shoulder' months, differences in survey season during particular environmental conditions or across the species distribution. Also available for flora-specific survey is the Flora Species with Specific Survey Requirements, which you can find on the BAM-C page. If you vary your survey time from those in the BAM-C make sure you document and justify this in the Biodiversity Assessment Report. For further information see p38 of the Biodiversity Assessment Method Operational Manual – Stage 1.