Given rapid growth and development of the region in recent decades, biodiversity conservation has been a major program area for member councils and the HCCREMS team. We have actively worked with researchers, academic institutions, government agencies, Hunter Local Land Services (LLS) (formerly the Catchment Management Authority) and a wide range of stakeholder organisations to:

  • Survey and map biodiversity values and threatening processes
  • Undertake conservation assessments
  • Identify regional priorities for conservation
  • Provide input to planning and management strategies
  • Deliver capacity building initiatives to Councils around the use and application of technical data and mapping, management strategies, legislative compliance, market based instruments, and new research
  • Deliver strategic on ground restoration and rehabilitation works particularly focussing on Threatened Species, Endangered Ecological Communities and areas of high biodiversity conservation value
  • Deliver a comprehensive regional Roadside Environment Program


A selection of the mapping and resources produced by HCCREMS are summarised below. Please check our online Resource Library or call/email us to obtain copies.


For history & descriptions of HCCREMS Biodiversity Mapping activities visit our Mapping Page

Biodiversity Conservation Reforms Support

Biodiversity Conservation Reforms Support


Conservation Reforms Support

The NSW Biodiversity Conservation reforms commenced on 25 August 2017 which introduced a new approach to land management and biodiversity conservation in NSW. These changes introduced a Biodiversity Offset Scheme (BOS) for people who wish to clear native vegetation on their land.

The Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 (BC Act), the Local Land Services Act 2013 (LLS Act) and State Environmental Planning Policy – Vegetation in Non-Rural Areas (Vegetation SEPP) were introduced via as a staged process with a number of transitional arrangements.




Transitional arrangements have now ceased for local developments under Part 4 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (EP&A Act) within all Councils in the Hunter Region.

For any new local developments (including modifications) lodged from the 25 November 2018, consideration of the Biodiversity Offset Scheme (BOS) triggers and biodiversity assessment requirements under the BC Act will be required in all 11 Local Government Areas (LGAs) within the Hunter Region.



There is one remaining transitional arrangement active within the Hunter Region under the Vegetation SEPP.  The special transitional provisions under Cl27 of the Vegetation SEPP were extended for 1 year until 25 August 2019.

These transitional provisions allow for clearing for routine agricultural management activities (RAMAs) as defined under the former Native Vegetation Act 2003 (NV Act) in R5, E2, E3 and E4 zones where the predominant use of the land is for agriculture.

The extension of these arrangements only applies in six Councils within the Hunter Region that had not adopted Clause 5.9(9) of the Standard Instrument (LEP). This includes:

  • Maitland City Council
  • Mid Coast Council
    Note: applies only within the former LGA boundaries of Greater Taree and Gloucester. Does NOT apply to the former LGA boundary of Great Lakes.
  • Muswellbrook Shire Council
  • Port Stephens Council
  • Singleton Council
  • Upper Hunter Shire Council


OEH Local Government Capacity Building Program

Local government is a key partner in the conservation and management of biodiversity and threatened species in NSW. As part of Office of Environment and Heritage’s (OEH) Local Government Capacity Building Program a Local Government Regional Support Officer was employed in Region from December 2017 to support and build the capacity of local councils in transitioning and implementing the NSW Government Biodiversity Conservation Reforms. This position is one of eight in the State and is located within the Hunter Joint Organisation (HJO) Environment Division.

Local Government Hunter Regional Support Officer – Biodiversity Conservation Reforms

The HJO Environment Division have been working with Councils to  deliver a work program targeted to identified specific needs to assist each Council transition and understand their new legislative requirements and obligations under the new Biodiversity reforms.

The Environment Division support role continue to actively:

  • provide a conduit between Councils and key state agencies – OEH, Department of Planning and Environment (DPE) and Local Land Services (LLS)
  • Respond to local assistance requests; and
  • Facilitate training and capacity building opportunities.

Resources and access to information relating to implementation of the biodiversity conservation reforms in the Local Government context is located on our Biodiversity Conservation Reforms Implementation page.

Regional Support for Hunter Region Councils

If you have any questions relating to the Biodiversity Reforms, please contact our office.

Contact details are:


Phone: 4978 4020

Biodiversity Project & Data (2015)

Biodiversity Project & Data (2015)

the Biodiversity

Investment Prospectus project



The HCCREMS team  completed an Australian Government funded initiative (the Biodiversity Investment Prospectus project) in 2015 to stimulate both private and public investment in multi-scale conservation and connectivity throughout the Hunter, Central and Lower North Coast region. The project built upon the extensive expertise and repository of local and regional data, mapping and analyses generated by the HCCREMS program over many years.


In particular the project:

  • Collated and rationalised the best available research, datasets and mapping products for biodiversity and a range of natural assets (such as wetlands, riparian zones, groundwater dependant ecosystems, reserve systems, world heritage areas, and roadside vegetation networks)
  • Engaged with technical experts and project stakeholders to identify conservation priorities
  • Produced new, high quality connectivity and conservation priority mapping
  • Updated climate modelling providing projections to 2030 and 2050
  • Delivered a series of professional capacity building seminars for member councils and other key stakeholder organisations
  • Evaluated the suite of legislative, planning and market-based instruments currently available to identify those with the most potential to stimulate and drive biodiversity conservation in the hunter, Central and Lower North Coast region
  • Produced mapping and reporting to inform regional planning and investment strategies and to assist member councils manage conservation priorities
  • Produced Private Landowner and Council Guides to biodiversity investment returns

The spatial data and associated documentation can be accessed below:

Spatial Dataset

Technical Report or Data Summary Sheet

Data Access
Use and Application of Data (Report Only)

Technical report providing guidance on the use and application of the connectivity modelling and species distribution models.

Technical Report DATA DOWNLOAD
Biophysical Agricultural Lands

Mapping of biophysical attributes to land that could support a variety of agricultural activities in the Hunter, Central Coast and Mid-Coast Region.

Data Summary Sheet
Climate Projection Models

Modelling of climatic variables (minimum temperature, maximum temperature and precipitation) across the region for timeframes 2040, 2060, 2080.

Technical Report
Landscape Connectivity Modelling

Modelling of landscape fragmentation and connectivity for flora & fauna species across the Hunter, Central Coast and Mid-Coast Region.

Technical Report
Red Flag Areas

Mapping of possible red flags as identified in the NSW Biodiversity Certification Assessment Methodology (2011) in the Hunter, Central Coast and Mid-Coast Region.

Data Summary Sheet
Land Tenure

Land tenure across the Hunter, Central Coast and Mid-Coast Region.

Data Summary Sheet
Ecologically Endangered Communities (EEC) Points

Know EEC sites (for 21 EECs), as of 2013, occurring in the Hunter, Central Coast and Mid-Coast Region.

Data Summary Sheet
Ecologically Endangered Communities (EEC) Models

EEC Distribution models for 21 EECs occurring in the Hunter, Central Coast and Mid-Coast Region.

Data Summary Sheet

Technical Report

Threatened Species Distribution Models

Species Distribution Models for 151 Threatened species occurring in the Hunter, Central Coast and Mid-Coast Region. This is a subset of the Species Distribution Models (below).

Data Summary Sheet

Technical Report

Species Distribution Models

Species Distribution models for over 600 species occurring in the Hunter, Central Coast and Mid-Coast Region.

Technical Report This dataset is too large for download, but can be posted Contact – 4978 4020

CD – $50


Conservation Works

Conservation Works

HCCREMS environmental and biodiversity data collection and mapping, and conservation analysis and planning has provided the guiding framework for the implementation of multiple rehabilitation and restoration programs in the region for over the last 15 years.

Community education and capacity building programs are integral to increasing awareness and understanding of important natural values in the region.

Priorities for rehabilitation and restoration works (including bush regeneration, weed control and fencing) are aligned with the Natural Resources Management agendas of councils, state agencies, Landcare and community groups, providing a truly strategic and coordinated approach to protecting, enhancing and maintaining important biodiversity values. Community education and capacity building programs are integral to increasing awareness and understanding of important natural values in the region.

HCCREMS has worked closely with the 14 councils in the region to deliver multiple NRM projects that aim to improve habitat condition, increase species diversity, and improve the resilience of threatened species habitat and ecological communities listed under both the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act and NSW Threatened Species Conservation Act.

Collectively rehabilitation and restoration works have been completed at over 176 sites containing remnants of some of the region’s most endangered and critically endangered species and communities including:

  • Hunter Valley Weeping Myall Woodland
  • Littoral rainforests and coastal vine thickets of eastern Australia
  • White Box Yellow Box Grassy Woodland
  • Swamp oak floodplain forest of the NSW North Coast, Sydney Basin and South East Corner bioregions
  • North Rothbury Persoonia (Persoonia pauciflora),
  • Terrestrial Donkey Orchid (Diuris bracteata),
  • White-flowered Wax Plant (Cynanchum elegans)
  • Grey-crowned Babbler (Pomatostomus temporalis)



On-ground works to regenerate important roadside Endangered Ecological Communities (2014 -2016)

The focus of this two-year project is to undertake rehabilitation and restoration of 15 roadside reserves containing remnant Lower Hunter Spotted Gum Ironbark Forest Community and Hunter Lowland Woodland.


The activities will involve:

  • Control of high priority weeds including Lantana, Bridal Creeper and Asparagus Fern
  • Undertake targeted fauna surveys within 6 roadside sites
  • In collaboration with participating councils and Hunter Local Land Services and community groups two Weed Blitz Weekend events will be held encouraging local residents to undertake weed control their land. Skip bins will be available for green waste disposal as well technical advice and landholder information packages.

This project has been assisted by the New South Wales Government through its Environmental Trust


Completed Conservation Projects:

Conservation of Hunter Valley Weeping Myall (HVWM) Woodland on Public and Private Land

Council area: Singleton and Muswellbrook

The extent and distribution of Hunter Valley Weeping Myall Woodland has been significantly reduced and modified as a result of past clearing practices and grazing on predominantly arable lands. Only small remnants remain on private property, road reserves, Crown Land, rail corridors and a cemetery. A total of 16 sites on both public and private land was the focus of this project to significantly improve the condition, species diversity and extent from Jerry’s Plain in the south to Sandy Hollow to the north-west. This was successfully achieved through the implementation of weed control and bush regeneration works and the installation of fencing to reduce grazing pressure and encourage native regeneration.

Buffering the Worimi Aboriginal Land Council Conservation Lands from External Impacts (2014- 2015)

Council area: Port Stephens

HCCREMS and the Worimi Aboriginal Land Council “Green Team” developed and implemented a number of management strategies to address weed invasion, erosion and illegal dumping and access of Worimi Conservation Lands at Nelson’s Bay. During 2014 to 2015 the team successfully completed weed control and bush regeneration activities at two major land holdings covering an area of 40 hectares, illegal dumping assessments and deterrence strategies, and a land management strategy and monitoring program for over 20 parcels of Worimi LALC land.

On ground works to protect the ecological value of Littoral Rainforest (2013 – 2014)

Council area: Great Lakes, Port Stephens and Lake Macquarie City Council

HCCREMS, in partnership with Lake Macquarie City Council, Port Stephens Council and Great Lakes Council worked with multiple Landcare and Bushcare groups at nine bushland reserves to regenerate and restore remnants of the critically endangered Littoral Rainforest at the following locations

  • Great Lakes – One Mile Beach, Burgess Beach and Karloo Reserve
  • Port Stephens – Corlette Headland, Greenplay Point, Soldiers Point, Scobies Hill and Karloo Reserve
  • Lake Macquarie – Black Jacks Point, Valentine, Salts Bay and Swansea Head

More information on this project is included in the video below.



Rehabilitation and Restoration of Endangered Ecological Communities on road reserves and community lands 2010-2014

Council area: Great Lakes and Port Stephens

A total of 174 hectares of Littoral Rainforest and Swamp-oak Woodland has been regenerated across six community bushland reserves (Burgess Beach, One Mile Beach, Karloo Beach, Taylors Beach, Salamander Way and Mallabula Reserve) during this 3 year project.

Rehabilitation of EECs through removal of African Olive (2013-2014)

Council area: Port Stephens and Maitland

African Olive is a highly invasive small tree that has spread extensively throughout the Hunter Valley, becoming problematic on farming land, along creek lines and roadsides and also invading native bushland. This project identified and controlled African Olive within roadside sites containing Lower Hunter Spotted Ironbark Forest Community and Hunter Lowland Redgum Forest Communities – both listed as endangered ecological communities under the NSW Threatened Species Conservation Act.

Conservation of White Box Yellow-Box Blakely’s Redgum Grassy Woodlands

Council area: Muswellbrook and Upper Hunter

This nationally critically endangered community occurs as small remnants on road reserves in the Upper Hunter and Muswellbrook Shire Council areas. In many cases these roadside remnants are the only remaining examples of this community in the region. The project undertook control of high priority weeds including African Boxthorn, Galenia, Tiger Pear and African Olive to encourage native regeneration within 5 sites located at Dartbrook, Bunnan, Merriwa and Edderton.

Rehabilitation and Restoration of Persoonia pauciflora and Grey-crowned Babbler Habitat

Council area: Cessnock

Persoonia pauciflora (North Rothbury Persoonia) is listed as critically endangered under the Commonwealth EPBC Act. It is endemic to North Rothbury with a significant percentage of its remaining habitat located within road reserves. These sites also provide habitat for the threatened Grey-crowned Babbler. Key activities included the removal of greater than 90% of weeds through sensitive bush regeneration works at 3 roadside locations. This has improved ecological integrity and resilience of remaining habitat.

Creek Crossings

Council area: Gloucester, Dungog, Greater Taree and Great Lakes

This project sought to improve biodiversity and water quality at 36 priority creek crossings through delivering on ground vegetation rehabilitation works. It also involved identifying and including the locations within the Regional Roadside Environment Marker Scheme to encourage improved management practises at these locations.


Coolatai and other grasses

Council area: Singleton and Dungog

The invasion of native plant communities by exotic perennial grasses is listed as a key threatening process under the NSW Threatened Species Conservation Act. This project sought to assist Singleton and Dungog Councils, community groups and local landowner’s restore the natural resilience of native grass communities through the control of invasive grass weeds (particularly Coolatai grass and African Lovegrass) along approximately 100 kilometres of roads.

Diuris bracteata -Terrestrial Donkey Orchid

Council area: Gosford

Diuris bracteata was thought extinct until rediscovered north-west of Gosford in 2004. The species remains classified as Extinct under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act and is listed as Endangered under the NSW Threatened Species Conservation Act. Fourteen of the fifteen known populations of this species are located within the Gosford council area within road reserves, highlighting the significant importance of roadside conservation to its long term survival. This project directly assisted Gosford council to protect and manage Diuris bracteata populations through the removal of invasive weeds and ensuring roadside design, construction and maintenance practices are compatible with the conservation needs of the species.


Roadside Environmental Management

Roadside Environmental Management

The Regional Roadside Environment Program aims to maintain and improve the important ecosystem services and environmental values that high quality and well managed roadsides contribute to the landscape. These include:

  • Biodiversity conservation
  • Improved catchment and ecosystem health
  • Maintaining the aesthetic character of the landscape.

The program pursues a strategic and coordinated approach to the management of roadsides that encompasses all aspects of roadside management, from planning and environmental assessment, through to implementation of road maintenance and construction activities. The program has developed a suite of tools and resources that relate to all aspects of road planning, construction and maintenance and which are relevant to a range of staff including planners, asset managers, field supervisors and operations staff, GIS officers and natural resource management / environmental staff.

To date the program has included:

  • Widespread consultation with councils to identify roadside management issues
  • Identifying and documenting the value of icon roadside vegetation remnants across the region
  • Developing a region wide Roadside Environmental Management Strategy
  • Developing a Roadside Resource Kit including management guides, policy templates and tools to build the capacity of councils to manage roadside environments
  • Implementation of a regional roadside environment marker scheme to identify and improve management practices at ecologically sensitive sites
  • Implementation of on ground works targeting the protection and rehabilitation of ecologically significant communities located in roadsides.

The program pursues a strategic and coordinated approach to the management of roadsides that encompasses all aspects of roadside management.

A number of councils are actively implementing the HCCREMS Regional Roadside Environment Marker Scheme to clearly identify ecologically significant roadside sites. Locations are marked with orange metal posts that include codes representing key management issues or roadside values. Each code directly links to a management field guide held by maintenance and construction staff. These provide clear directions on best practice management approaches to be implemented to avoid compromising the ecological or other values of the site.


A total of 9 codes and associated field guides addressing a suite of ecological values and management issues have been developed. These include:

  • Threatened Vegetation Communities V1
  • Threatened Plants V2Roadside Marker Scheme
  • Ground Orchids V3
  • Significant Weed Incursion W1
  • Threatened Fauna Habitat F1
  • Significant Fauna Habitat F2
  • Aquatic A1
  • Water Crossings A2
  • Koala Black Spots F3

Each field guide describes General Management Principles for 6 primary roadside management activities:

  • Slashing/Mowing
  • Clearing and Construction works
  • Grading
  • Cleaning of Table Drains
  • Weed Control
  • Stockpiling and Vehicle Parking

To date implementation of the marker scheme has included:

  • Singleton, Muswellbrook, Gloucester, Wyong and Upper Hunter Shire Councils have installed over 700 roadside markers at locations containing endangered ecological communities, creek crossings, threatened species and orchids.
  • Dungog, Greater Taree and Great Lakes Council have installed over 500 markers at priority creek crossings
  • Port Stephens, Maitland and Gosford Councils have installed markers at roadside sites containing remnants of the Endangered Ecological Communities Lower Hunter Spotted Gum Forest and Hunter Lowland Redgum Woodland communities.
  • Gosford Council have installed over 60 markers (and are continuing to install more) at locations containing threatened orchid species