2011-12 NSW Roadside Environment Committee Annual Report
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2011-12 NSW Roadside Environment Committee Annual Report

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The NSW Roadside Environment Committee coordinates the environmental management of linear reserves across New South Wales, Australia. Approximately 6% of NSW is linear reserves (roadside reserves, ...

The NSW Roadside Environment Committee coordinates the environmental management of linear reserves across New South Wales, Australia. Approximately 6% of NSW is linear reserves (roadside reserves, rail corridors, utility easements, travelling stock reserves). With large-scale clearing in parts of NSW, linear reserves represent in some areas the only remnant vegetation (which can include threatened species and endangered ecological communities). Linear reserves also provide wildlife corridors and can be linked to other corridors (e.g. private lands) to improve connectivity across the landscape. The NSW Roadside Environment Committee uses a range of mechanisms including funding, planning, education, assessment and collaboration to help linear reserve land managers. The Committee's Annual Report provides a summary of these strategies and mechanisms. More details about the Committee and its activities can be found at www.rta.nsw.gov.au/rec

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2011-12 NSW Roadside Environment Committee Annual Report 2011-12 NSW Roadside Environment Committee Annual Report Document Transcript

  • ANNUAL REPORT2011-12
  • The NSW Roadside Environment Committee The NSW Roadside Environment Committee (REC) was formed by the NSW Government in 1994 and is supported by the NSW Roads and Maritime Services. The goal of the REC is to achieve the best possible environmental management of roadsides and other linear reserves (e.g. rail corridors, travelling stock reserves, crown reserves, utility easements) in NSW. The involvement and co-operation of local councils, State Government agencies, utilities and other groups within the community is essential to achieve this goal. The objectives of the REC are to: • Achieve consistent, high quality management of vegetation and other environmental aspects in NSW linear reserves • Improve the management of linear reserves in NSW through the engagement of key stakeholders • Facilitate the resolution of issues related to the management of linear reserve environments in NSW. The REC currently comprises twelve organisations with interests in the management of roadside and other linear reserves in NSW. The REC member organisations are: • NSW Roads and Maritime Services • Nature Conservation Council (NCC) • Essential Energy • Rural Fire Service (RFS) • RailCorp • Institute of Public Works Engineering Australia (IPWEA) • Local Government and Shires Association of NSW (LGSA) • Livestock Health and Pest Authorities (LHPA) • Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) • NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) • TransGrid • Catchment Management Authorities Strategic Plan To achieve its objectives, the REC has developed a strategic plan for 2010-2013. The plan is found in Appendix 1. The key strategies in the plan are: 1. Develop, and support the development of, best practices in the environmental management of linear reserves 2. Assist and support training on best practice environmental management of linear reserves 3. Build awareness and adoption of continuous best practice in linear reserve environmental management in NSW 4. Facilitate discussion and, if possible, develop an approach to resolve conflicts relating to the management of linear reserve environments 5. Promote the REC and its activities. Achievements The REC developed a 2011-12 work plan to carry out actions related to the Strategic Plan. Actions completed from the work plan included: 1. Providing advice on the Roadside Vegetation Implementation Project (RVIP) (Actions 1.1, 1.2 in the REC Strategic Plan). The RVIP is a 12-month project funded by the NSW Environmental Trust and managed by the Local Government and Shires Associations of NSW (LGSA) – a member of the REC. A total of $1.3 million was made available to NSW councils to support implementation of priority works identified in Roadside Vegetation Management Plans (RVMPs). Applications for funding closed on 2 December 2011. The objectives of the RVIP are to: • Allow for the protection, revegetation and regeneration of large areas of linear reserves across the State • Improve environmental conditions and enhance ecological corridors in NSW • Provide funds to regional councils and help regional economies • Add value to a considerable investment already made by the Environmental Trust which funded councils to prepare RVMPs 2 in 2005 (a project managed by the REC).
  • Applications were assessed and grants awarded to councils for projects to be delivered in 2012. A total of $1,286,428 was distributed across 28 projects and 31 local councils from across NSW (see map of successful applicants below). Map showing 2012 RVIP funding recipients The REC assisted in the development of assessment guidelines, participated in the assessment panel and provided guidance in aspects of the implementation of the RVIP. 2. Mapping the status of RVMPs in NSW (Action 1.2). Using its comprehensive database of local council RVMPs, the REC mapped the status of RVMPs and their implementation across the State. The mapping involved a series of GIS layers that were updated during 2011-12 as new information was received including from the RVIP applications. The maps were regularly assessed by the REC to identify gaps and where further support to councils may be required. 3. Sponsoring the inaugural Roadside Environmental Management Award as part of the 2011 Local Government Excellence in the Environment Awards initiated by the LGSA (Action 3.4). The Awards are open to all councils in NSW and aim to recognise outstanding achievements by NSW Local Government in managing and protecting the environment. The winners of the 2011 Roadside Environmental Management Award were: Winner A Division Cooma-Monaro Shire Council: Cooma-Monaro Shire Council Native Roadside Vegetation GIS Layer. Winner B Division & Overall Category Winner Mid-Western Regional Council: Roadside Corridor Management Project. Winner C Division Shireen Murphy, Environment Manager at Hunter and Central Coast Regional Environmental Management Mid-Western Regional Council, with the Strategy (HCCREMS): Regional Roadside Vegetation Marker Scheme. trophy for the overall winner of the 2011 Roadside Environmental Management Award sponsored by the REC. 4. Presenting at forums around NSW to promote best practice in linear reserve environmental management (Actions 3.1 and 5.2). The REC Chairperson and Executive Officer presented at the Central West Local Government Reference Forum meeting run by the Central West CMA at Wellington on 17 August 2011. The Chairperson also presented at the Lachlan Local Government Reference Group Forum run by the Lachlan CMA on 3 November 2011.3
  • 5. Support for a pilot study to better manage weeds in linear reserves (Action 4.2). Weed invasion can greatly degrade linear reserve environments across NSW. To help identify effective weed management methods in the strategically important Sydney area, the REC provided funding to the Sydney Weeds Committees to conduct a pilot study that will: • Review processes for managing weeds in the Sydney area • Identify and map locations of key and priority weeds in the Sydney area • Recommend improved processes for managing roadside weeds in the Sydney area. The report from the study is due later in 2012 and the REC will assess whether its recommendations can be transferred to linear reserve management in other parts of the State. 6. Support for a pilot training program in roadside environmental management for local council staff (Actions 2.2, 2.3 and 2.4). The REC sponsored HCCREMS to pilot the training program with three councils: Wyong, Singleton and Gloucester. The objectives of the pilot training program were to: • Build awareness and capacity to implement a suite of HCCREMS products • Involve staff across management and operation levels to promote a ‘whole-of-council’ approach • Focus on implementation of the Roadside Marker Scheme. HCCREMS provided the REC with an evaluation report for the pilot training program. The REC will review the report with a view to encouraging roll out of the program across NSW. 7. Implementation of the REC Communication Plan (Actions 3.1, 3.2 and 5.2). During 2009 the REC developed its Communication Plan to better communicate the Strategic Plan actions and its role. The REC evaluated and refined the Communication Plan during 2011-12. Measures of the performance of the Communication Plan implementation in 2011-12 include: • Mailing list of stakeholders increased from 200 to 230 people during the year • Hits on the REC website averaged 134 per month • Four editions of the REC newsletter were produced and distributed electronically to stakeholders during the year as planned • The REC Speaker’s Kit was used by several member organisations to promote best practices in linear reserve environmental management and the role of the REC • The REC website was updated to include examples of RVMPs. The REC carried out a range of other activities in 2011-12 related to the Strategic Plan. The activities included: • Presentation on linear reserve environmental management initiatives by Central West CMA • Presentation on linear reserve environmental management initiatives by Mid-Western Regional Council • Presentation on linear reserve environmental management initiatives by Bathurst Regional Council • Inspection of four sites in the Bathurst area to learn about local and regional linear reserve environmental management initiatives and issues • Presentation from the Australian Glyphosate Sustainability Working Group on glyphosate resistant weeds that were not only becoming a problem in farmlands but also in linear reserves • Presentation on roadkill minimisation options from NSW Roads and Maritime Services • Presentation by Essential Energy on its environmental management • Regular updates from the RFS about bushfire management in linear reserves • Response to a broad range of correspondence from the general community and organisations about matters such as vegetation management, litter reduction, animal road kill and weed management.4
  • The REC met four times during 2011-12. Meetings were held at Bathurst Regional Council (15 & 16 August 2011), Christie Conference Centre, North Sydney (14 November 2011), Essential Energy office, Sydney (13 February 2012) and LGSA office, Sydney (14 May 2012). REC members inspect a roadside site in the Bathurst area during the annual regional meeting The following persons represented the member The following persons were alternates to organisations on the REC: the above: Martin Driver (NCC) - Chairperson Simon Heemstra (RFS) Vince Kelly (Essential Energy) Brigid Dowsett (NCC) Lloyd Van Der Wallen (RFS) Josie Stokes (Roads and Maritime Services) Peter Semple (RailCorp) Mark Turner (IPWEA) Warren Sharpe (IPWEA) Ian Fitzpatrick (Essential Energy) Kirsty McIntyre (LGSA) Lucian McElwain (OEH) Tim Seears (LHPA) Richard Connors (LGSA) Lynn Webber (OEH) Richard Denham (DPI) Kevin Roberts (Roads and Maritime Services) Stuart Johnston (TransGrid) Ian Simpson (Catchment Management Authorities) Molino Stewart Pty Ltd was contracted by Roads and Maritime Services to provide secretariat services to the REC during 2011-12. Neil Dufty of Molino Stewart was the Executive Officer of the REC and was supported by Alisa Bryce and Kavita Vaid of the same company.5
  • Appendix 1 - NSW ROADSIDE ENVIRONMENT COMMITTEE STRATEGIC PLAN 2010 – 2013 STRATEGY ACTION PERFORMANCE INDICATOR PRIORITY 1. Develop, and support the development of, best 1.1 Collate information, including Roadside Vegetation Management Plans (RVMPs), on current Information collated Medium practices in the environmental management of best practice in linear reserve environmental management linear reserves 1.2 Monitor RVMPs to assess their currency and usage Number of active RVMPs High 1.3 Support the mapping of linearreserves using standard guidelines that focuses on the needs of Mapping programs supported where Low land managers possible 1.4 Review the RTA Biodiversity Guidelines for Road Projects for potential use with local councils Guidelines reviewed Medium 1.5 Review the REC Handbook and other REC publications with a view to updating them REC Handbook and other REC Medium publications reviewed 2. Assist and support training on best practice 2.1 Develop key learning outcomes for training Key learning outcomes developed High environmental management of linear reserves 2.2 Identify training opportunities List of training courses High 2.3 Promote training packages that meet these key learning outcomes Training packages promoted Medium 2.4 Support training programs with in-kind unless there is an opportunity to help fund a program Training programs supported Medium where there is a targeted outcome for best practice 3 Build awareness and adoption of consistent best 3.1 Share 3.1 collated information (see 1.1) on best practice management with stakeholders Number of stakeholders receiving REC High practice in linear reserve environment management including linear reserve managers information in NSW 3.2 Update the REC website with information about current best practice in linear reserve Examples of best practice on the REC Medium environmental management website 3.3 Promote with land managers a process of assessment, planning, implementation, monitoring Land managers aware of REC High and evaluation including the use of SREA signage assessment, planning etc. guidelines 3.4 Facilitate with providers awards for the environmental management of linear reserves Awards established and implemented Low 4. Facilitate discussion and, if possible, develop an 4.1 Facilitate a rational approach for clear zones on rural roads that recognises environmental Approach promoted to local councils High approach to resolve conflicts relating to the values management of linear reserve environments 4.2 Develop a common position on the REC approach to bushfire management, weed Common REC positions established High management and other environmental issues 4.3 Develop a common REC position to where new utilities will be located in relation to linear Common REC position on the location Medium reserve environments of new utilities established 5. Promote the REC and its activities 5.1 Discuss involvement in the REC with each member organisation Each REC member organisation Medium consulted 5.2 Develop, implement and evaluate the REC Communications Plan to profile the REC and communicate aspects of the Strategic Plan with stakeholders and within REC member Increased awareness of the REC High6 organisations and its activities through anecdotal evidence