Biodiversity Strategy

Project: Identify objectives and actions to better integrate biodiversity with planning, development and natural area management in the Eurobodalla Shire.

Timeframe: expected completion mid 2023

Cost and funding:

  • Australian Government grant of $30,000 under the Building Better Regions Fund
  • Council funding of $30,000

Last updated: November 2022

Details

We are working to: prepare and implement a biodiversity strategy that:

  • identifies biodiversity values within the Eurobodalla Shire
  • identifies key threats or pressures to biodiversity
  • outlines a range of actions that Council and the community can carry out to protect and enhance biodiversity
  • establishes a long-term vision and goals to integrate biodiversity in all that we do.

Benefits to the community:

  • a framework with measurable actions to maintain and enhance biodiversity connectivity, integrity, and resilience
  • ensuring Eurobodalla’s plants and animals continue to have a place to live as the human populations grows.

Biodiversity is the variety of all living things. The three levels of biodiversity are:

  1. genetic diversity: the variety of genetic information contained in individual plants, animals, and micro-organisms
  2. species diversity: the variety of species
  3. ecosystem diversity: the variety of habitats, ecological communities and processes.

Biodiversity is important because:

  • it provides us with clean air, water, and healthy soils
  • it is vital to our health, wellbeing, and connection with nature
  • Aboriginal people have a close and unique connection with biodiversity
  • it contributes to our economy, such as nature-based tourism, agriculture, forestry, fisheries, and aquaculture
  • regardless of the value to humans, all species have a right to exist.

Background and purpose

Biodiversity is in decline globally. In Australia, State of the Environment reporting indicates biodiversity is under increasing pressure and is in decline overall. There are over 200 threatened plants, animals and ecological communities listed in the Eurobodalla LGA.

Eurobodalla's residents and visitors value nature; it is one of the main reasons people live or holiday here. The shire’s population is forecast to increase to over 45,000 by 2036, with thousands of additional homes needed. A biodiversity strategy will ensure Eurobodalla’s plants and animals continue to have a place to live as the human populations grows.

The strategy will include a set of actions to support the work we already do and build on that to:

  • value, protect and enhance biodiversity
  • enable people of the Yuin Nation to care for Country
  • investigate opportunities to benefit from the biodiversity offsets scheme locally
  • maintain and enhance our connection with nature
  • reverse the decline of our threatened native plants and animals.

We acknowledge that we work within a complex legislative framework. There are often competing priorities, such as planning for bushfire and flooding, engineering standards, and housing demand. We will consider and try to balance these matters in the strategy.

The Biodiversity Strategy will be implemented through Integrated Planning and Reporting Framework and will align with Council’s Community Strategic Plan, Local Strategic Planning Statement and Climate Action Plan.

The strategy will also consider and align with other state and regional documents, such as the South East and Tablelands Regional Plan.

Community engagement

We are asking for community input in a range of ways while we develop the Biodiversity Strategy. You can sign up for email updates if you would like to be kept updated through the project:

Between April and July 2022 we:

  • hosted an online survey for community members to tell us what they value about Eurobodalla’s biodiversity
  • held three community workshops and an information stall on World Environment Day
  • hosted community information sessions specifically for Aboriginal community members
  • accepted written comments from people who couldn’t attend in person
  • met with NSW Government agencies, Aboriginal community knowledge holders, Eurobodalla Aboriginal Advisory Committee, as well as ecologists and environmental consultants

We used these opportunities to ask why biodiversity is important to different community members and groups, and what our community considers to be barriers and opportunities to achieving biodiversity outcomes for Eurobodalla.

Feedback so far

The feedback we have received so far shows that community members:

  • appreciate the natural environment
  • enjoy a wide range of recreation activities (such as bushwalking, water sports, bird watching etc) in natural areas
  • agree we all have a responsibility to look after nature and biodiversity for future generations
  • are concerned about Eurobodalla’s biodiversity.

From the feedback so far we have identified some common themes that community members would like to see in the biodiversity strategy.

  • use traditional dhurga language in the strategy and signage
  • use traditional knowledge and expertise in land management programs (eg. cultural burning, traditional and chemical-free approaches to land management - especially in native bushfood areas)
  • employ Aboriginal people to help care for country and encourage partnerships and networking around traditional practices and issues (eg. share traditional knowledge about caring for Country in schools)
  • develop a traditional seasonal calendar for the south coast or Eurobodalla
  • improve cultural understanding and mapping (eg. map country type - such as Spotted gum country, iron bark country, pink wood country - identify where Aboriginal people collect known food sources, identify and map totems)
  • recognise and learn about species important to the Aboriginal community for sustenance, medicine and resource, and support people of the Yuin Nation to identify and record medicinal plants while respecting indigenous cultural and intellectual property
  • investigate further declarations of Aboriginal Places in Eurobodalla and support Aboriginal community to establish Indigenous Protected Areas within Eurobodalla.

  • identify publicly owned land for revegetation
  • adopt land use planning practices that value biodiversity over other planning matters (eg. avoid selling land with high environment value, consider land acquisition for biodiversity conservation, plan for higher density housing, ensure future development minimises impacts on biodiversity, ensure threatened ecological community clearing is avoided and minimised)
  • advocate to stop native forest logging and reduce/stop clearing native vegetation for development
  • work with other councils to prepare a regional Koala plan of management
  • protect and enhance important wildlife corridors, develop a network of wildlife corridors, and validate mapping of wildlife corridors
  • ensure Council strategies, policies and procedures value and protect biodiversity
  • prepare guidelines for biodiversity impact assessment, including standards and processes in development applications
  • ensure environmental impact assessment for Council activities adequately considers biodiversity
  • require vegetation management plans for all development on lots greater than 1500m2
  • develop a biodiversity offset policy for local development that does not trigger the Biodiversity Offset Scheme
  • develop a funded tree replacement program
  • enforce stronger compliance action for illegal clearing.

  • take proactive action to enhance habitats in ways that connect patches of vegetation so animals can move across the landscape (eg. Revegetate to create linkages between patches of vegetation, establish wildlife crossings – such as overpasses and underpasses - on roads with high rate of wildlife)
  • install nest boxes to replace trees removed as part of development or Council activities, revegetate bushfire affected areas, waterways, and riparian areas
  • plan green spaces for urban areas, map urban canopies, and establish a tree cover target for urban areas
  • use native and endemic species in Council parks, gardens, roundabouts, reserves, developments, etc
  • increase weed control in urban and Council-owned areas, reduce herbicide use on roadsides, and support landholders to control weeds
  • improve domestic cat management, feral cat control, and rabbit control
  • support community groups financially to regenerate degraded areas, increase support for Landcare activities, provide free native plants to community members
  • assist farmers and property owners to use regenerative farming principles to improve soil health
  • promote agriculture industries as part of the solution to climate change and work with farmers to proactively make this happen
  • investigate opportunities/benefits of farm forestry on private land for biodiversity
  • provide financial incentives to landholders to setting aside high biodiversity value areas
  • improve public litter disposal and dumping, including waterways.

  • Recognise, celebrate, and educate about our natural environment, community and council achievements
  • promote the importance high value habitat such as hollow bearing trees, shore-birds, impacts of pets
  • incorporate art and storytelling in biodiversity education programs
  • establish demonstration gardens on council and private land to showcase wildlife friendly gardens, start a “garden tool library”joint projects with other agencies and neighbourhoods on public and private land, such as Save our Species programs, National Parks, Local Land Services, NSW Rural Fire Service local businesses
  • investigate and support opportunities for citizen science, community working bees
  • consider existing models (such as UNESCO Biosphere Reserve concept, Sustainability Pledge Tiaki Promise)
  • provide incentives to eco-tourism businesses to promote biodiversity values.

Late 2022: community information sessions

In October 2022 we held 4 community information sessions to share actions identified from previous feedback and seek further feedback from the community.

Early 2023: Public exhibition

We aim to prepare a draft Biodiversity Strategy by the end of 2022.

We will publicly exhibit the draft early in 2023 to so community members can read it and give us additional feedback. We will consider all submissions before presenting a final strategy to Council to decide whether to adopt the Biodiversity Strategy.

More information

For more information or register for updates about the Biodiversity Strategy, please contact Council’s Environmental Planner Stacey Clohesy on: