Given rapid growth and development in recent decades, biodiversity conservation has been a major program area for member councils and the HCCREMS team. We have actively worked with researchers, government agencies, Hunter Local Land Services (LLS) (formerly the Catchment Management Authority) and a wide range of stakeholder organisations to:
Survey, assess and map biodiversity values and threatening processes
Undertake conservation assessments
Identify regional priorities for conservation;
Provide input to planning and management strategies
Deliver strategic on ground restoration and rehabilitation works.
The HCCREMS team are currently working on an Australian Government funded initiative (the Biodiversity Investment Prospectus project) to stimulate both private and public investment in multi-scale connectivity throughout the Hunter, Central and Lower North Coast region. The project builds upon extensive expertise and a repository of local and regional data, mapping and analyses generated by the HCCREMS program over many years. In particular the project seeks to:
- Collate and rationalise the best available research, datasets and mapping products for biodiversity and a range of natural assets (such as wetlands, riparian zones, groundwater dependant ecosystems, national reserve systems, world heritage areas, and roadside vegetation networks)
- Engage with technical experts and project stakeholders to identify conservation priorities
- Produce new, high quality corridor and conservation priority mapping
- Develop models that spatially project the climate change induced habitat movements of key species and communities until 2100AD.
- Develop and implement a series of professional capacity building seminars for member councils and other key stakeholder organisations
- Pilot an Urban Forestry project to identify the potential of utilising street tree networks and council managed parks and open spaces to improve connectivity, and provide social benefits including heat sinks, noise & dust buffers, amenity, and water management services
- Evaluate the suite of legislative, planning and market-based instruments currently available to identify those with the most potential to stimulate and drive biodiversity conservation
- Produce mapping and reporting to inform regional planning and investment strategies and to assist member councils manage conservation priorities
The project will be delivered between 2013 and June 2015.