Biodiversity Banking – Councils gets funding to conserve Garrad Reserve
Located near the mouth of Narrawallee creek, Garrad Reserve comprises 65 hectares of bushland and creek lines which has just received some welcome funding to pay for the costs of managing a sensitive area with a diverse range of vegetation assemblages.
In June 2013, Garrad Reserve became the first biobank site on public land in Southern NSW. This was made possible with grant funding provided by the NSW Environmental Trust and the NSW Office of Environment & Heritage through the ‘Linking Landscapes through Local Action Project. The establishment of a biobank site creates ‘biodiversity credits’. Usually these credits are sold to offset a development elsewhere. In this case the Office of Environment & Heritage bought all of the credits from the site and ‘retired’ them so that they are not used to offset development elsewhere.
BioBanking is a voluntary scheme that supports landowners to take care of their bushland forever by paying them to undertake management actions.
Local Councils rarely have sufficient funds to manage the natural areas they control to the level they deserve. This opportunity will result in Garrad Reserve being managed in a way that would never have been possible without the Biobanking arrangement. A trust fund has been established that will now provide on-going funding to manage the reserve’s bushland values. Each year Council will receive a payment to undertake a set of agreed management actions to improve the conservation value of the site. This means that Council will now have the funding to undertake a range of activities to better manage the unique bushland values of the site.
What has Council been funded to do?
- Weed control
- Feral animal control – periodic trapping and baiting for foxes and feral cats as well as rabbit control.
- Periodic prescribed burns - these will rejuvenate the bush and keep fuel loads down for the neighbouring residential area
- Formalise a walking track to the water from Leo Drive
- Fence the site to minimise illegal dumping
- Provide better pedestrian access
- Fix and maintain the fire trails
- Install information signs about the values on the site
Management Actions Map - shows agreed management actions for the site
Vegetation Map – shows the vegetation communities on site
What happens next?
Over the next few years key infrastructure will be put in place to both protect the values of the site and enhance the visitor experience. This will include formalising a walking track to the water and fencing the site to minimise vehicle access (a condition of becoming a biobank site).
Now that the funding agreement is secure, Council will start to talk with local people about the future for this site. Council hopes that the community will embrace this wonderful reserve and help us make a positive contribution to conserving and protecting it into the future.