Draft ACT Nature Conservation Strategy Community consultation 3 September – 10 December 2012 Strategic focus has shifted Pre 1997 • Nature reserves for landscape and amenity values Post 1997 • Original NCS recognised the need for strategic conservation Currently • 54% ACT in reserves • Large remnants of Box-Gum Woodland • New NCS aims to manage and connect these areas Snap shots “A good news story” - 54% already in reserves (but some restoration required) - Existing achievements in previous strategy - Urban biodiversity and community engagement Focus: increasing connectivity, condition and extent of native vegetation - Strong climate change adaptation focus - Landscape scale planning Existing funding to deliver new elements - Woodland restoration project, weeds, research funding - funding opportunities through the Commonwealth Context The legislative framework for conservation and environment protection in the ACT Nature Conservation and Urban Development - The ACT Planning Strategy - “The role of the Nature Conservation Strategy is to provide for the identification of areas that are important for conservation and in particular to provide the landscape context in which conservation, and development, occurs” - Decisions subject to NC Act (threatened species and communities), P&D Act (development approval process), EPBC Act (matters of NES) Spatial prioritisation Rural landscape Enhance ecosystems to provide specific services Water catchment landscape Restore areas’ ability to provide clean water and native habitat River Corridor landscape Maintain water quality, vegetation and refugia values Urban landscape Enhance ‘novel’ ecosystems to provide specific services Nature Conservation Strategy VISION “Biodiversity rich, resilient landscapes stretching from the inner city to the mountains, where well functioning ecosystems can meet the needs of people and the environment” Strategy 1: Enhance habitat connectivity and ecosystem function Strategy 2: Manage threats to biodiversity Strategy 3: Protect species and ecological communities Strategy 4: Enhance biodiversity value of urban areas Strategy 5: Strengthen community engagement Monitoring and review “Reporting against targets will be aligned with the Commissioner for Sustainability and the Environment’s State of the Environment Report”. a) Targets related to maintaining and improve effective habitat and biodiversity (p.21) b) Targets related to landscapes that are more resilient, including to climate change (p.22) c) Targets relating to increased community health and wellbeing, including from engagement with, and appreciation of natural areas (p.23) • • Conservator will monitor effectiveness of implementation, including Action Plans. Strategy will be adaptive, informed by ongoing review Positive Outlook for Implementation Woodland Restoration 1) ACT Woodland Restoration ($1 million/4 years/ACT Govt) 2) Restore ACT Goorooyarroo ($2.155 million/6 years/Cwlth) 3) Million Trees Program (10 year program) Substantial Commonwealth Funding Sources Section A: Strategies and Actions STRATEGY 1: Enhance habitat connectivity and ecosystem function 1. Actions 1. Develop baseline information on landscape function 2. Undertake fine scale planning for habitat connectivity 3. Enhance regional connectivity 4. Assess conservation investment opportunities across public and privately managed lands in the ACT 5. Fund priority landscape actions STRATEGY 2: Manage threats to biodiversity Actions 1. Implement ACT Weed Strategy (2009 – 2019) 2. Implement Pest Animal Management Strategy (2012 – 2022) 3. Manage total grazing pressure on ecosystem function in reserves 4. Establish and implement ecologically appropriate fire regimes 5. Better manage aquatic ecosystems STRATEGY 3: Protect species and ecological communities Actions 1. Manage the protected area estate 2. Develop, implement and review Action Plans for threatened species and communities 3. Restoration and management of priority landscapes 4. Identifying biodiversity refugia under drought and climate change 5. Monitor impact of climate change on native temperate grasslands and grassy box-gum woodlands 6. Captive breeding programs and translocation programs 7. Propagation and translocation of threatened plants 8. Seed banks and seed orchards STRATEGY 4: Enhance biodiversity value of urban areas Actions 1. Manage impacts of urban development on biodiversity 2. Manage urban open space 3. Enhancing connectivity through urban areas 4. Managing the urban edge 5. Support urban landcare and parkcare activities 6. Manage green assets and infrastructure STRATEGY 5: Strengthen community engagement Actions 1. Greater community involvement through volunteering 2. Enhance and promote the use of citizen science 3. Targeted community education campaigns on priority issues 4. Build indigenous engagement in the management of natural resources 5. Encourage the involvement of youth in nature conservation 6. Enhance key partnerships across government, community and the private sector Section A: Monitoring and review Targets related to maintaining and improve effective habitat and biodiversity 1 The overall extent of lowland native vegetation across the ACT will be maintained, and the condition of lowland native vegetation communities will be improved Indicators: Extent of lowland native vegetation (broad measure in overall hectares, to be monitored by vegetation community from 2013 when the revised ACT vegetation communities map is complete). Condition (standard indicators to be developed nationally under the Australian Native Vegetation Framework by 2015). 2. A measurable increase in connectivity between patches of native vegetation, non-native vegetation in urban areas, and riverine systems Indicators: Spatial links habitat connectivity score is above a certain measure (see Box 7) as verified by 10 yearly on-ground assessment. Riverine connectivity measure (e.g. number of in-stream barriers). Targets related to landscapes that are more resilient, including to climate change 3. A reduction in threats to biodiversity from inappropriate fire regimes, weeds, pest animals and urban development Indicators: Abundance and distribution of priority ACT weeds (‘high’, ‘very high’ and ‘extreme’ danger ratings) in reserves. Abundance and distribution of significant pest animals; significance and levels of damage from pest animals. Area of reserve addressed by an appropriate fire regime that appropriately addresses both risk to assets and ecology, in hectares. 4. Climate change refugia in the ACT are identified and appropriately managed Indicators: Number of refugia identified and appropriately managed (maintained or enhanced). 5. Monitoring programs established in the three ACT ecosystems considered to be most sensitive to the impacts of climate change: native grasslands; alpine bogs; and the Murrumbidgee – Cotter River system Indicators: Three monitoring sites established and appropriately resourced over the life of the strategy. Targets relating to increased community health and well-being, including from engagement with, and appreciation of natural areas 6. An increase in the area of land and volunteer effort (Parkcare, ‘Friends of’ or other volunteer groups) in management of the Canberra Nature Park Indicators: Total number of groups. Total number of ‘community work hours’ devoted to management of reserves and other natural areas. Total area treated by volunteers in hectares. 7. Ten areas of conservation significance (including areas outside reserves) ‘adopted’ by ACT schools or higher learning institutions as sites for nature based education Indicators: Number of reserves or other natural areas adopted and actively used by Schools or higher learning institutes. 8. Increased community understanding of, and support for, the protection of the ACT’s biodiversity Indicators: Number of education campaigns delivered. Attitudinal surveys.