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Managing linear reserve environments
Managing linear reserve environments
Managing linear reserve environments
Managing linear reserve environments
Managing linear reserve environments
Managing linear reserve environments
Managing linear reserve environments
Managing linear reserve environments
Managing linear reserve environments
Managing linear reserve environments
Managing linear reserve environments
Managing linear reserve environments
Managing linear reserve environments
Managing linear reserve environments
Managing linear reserve environments
Managing linear reserve environments
Managing linear reserve environments
Managing linear reserve environments
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Managing linear reserve environments

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Presentation outlines ways to manage linear reserve environments such as roadsides, rail corridors, travelling stock reserves and utlity easements. It encourages the development of roadside vegetation …

Presentation outlines ways to manage linear reserve environments such as roadsides, rail corridors, travelling stock reserves and utlity easements. It encourages the development of roadside vegetation management plans through four steps:
1. Assessment
2. Planning
3. Implementation
4. Monitoring and Evaluation
The presentation also descibes the objectives and roles of the NSW Roadside Environment Committee which promotes best practice in linear reserve environmental management in New South Wales, Australia.

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  • The NSW Roadside Environment Committee is made up of the following 13 member organisations:
    Roads and Maritime Services
    Rural Fire Service
    Sydney Trains
    Essential Energy
    Office of Environment and Heritage
    Local Government NSW
    Department of Primary Industries
    Nature Conservation Council
    Local Land Services
    Institute of Public Works Engineering Australia
    TransGrid
    Ausgrid
    John Holland Rail Ltd (Country Rail Network)
    Committee meetings are held on a quarterly basis in Sydney and regional locations throughout NSW.
    The NSW Roadside Environment Committee was established by the NSW government in 1994 and is funded by NSW Roads and Maritime Services.
  • The Committee is made up of community and government organisations that have an interest in maintaining the roadside and other linear reserve environments in NSW.
    It encourages best practice management of these environments for the benefit of people and the NSW environment.
    It is also a source of support, advice and resources that help to develop the capability of the State’s various linear reserve managers.
  • The objectives of the REC are to:
    to achieve consistent, high quality of environmental management of NSW linear reserves
    to engage with key stakeholders and communities to improve linear reserve environmental management in NSW
    to address issues related to the management of linear reserve environmental management in NSW
  • There are several different types of linear reserves that the Committee helps to manage. They include roadsides, travelling stock routes, public utility corridors and rail corridors.
    There are approximately 870,000km of roads in Australia, of which 780,000km are defined as rural. There are approximately 180,000km of public roads in NSW and assuming an average width of 40m, this accounts for approximately 3% of the area of the State.
    Travelling stock routes have adjacent vegetation reserves and while most follow current roadways, some routes are used exclusively for stock movement. The total area of the Travelling Stock Reserves in NSW is estimated at 2.27 million hectares or 2.83% of the land area of NSW. This includes reserves in the Western Division.
    Country Energy alone has 200,000km of utility corridors at an approximate width of 20m which equals 400,000 ha
    And there is approximately 10,000 km of used and unused rail corridor at an approximate width of 35m wide which equals a land area of 35,000 ha
    Currently National Parks make up approximately 8% of NSW’s total land area. The total area for linear reserves is estimated at approximately two thirds of the total land area of National Parks and are often made up of vegetation communities that are elsewhere protected within National Parks.
  • The roadside and linear reserve environments are important because they are large areas that are used by almost everyone. They have important environmental, social and economic values that need to be managed and protected.
    For many parts of NSW, the roadside environment is the only place where native vegetation remains, especially in areas that have been extensively cleared. Native remnants act as habitat for plant and animal species and assist in maintaining ecosystems. One estimate by a rural land group has shown that roadsides environments may support up to 60% of the original native vegetation in an area.
    Across agricultural areas, many roadside environments and other linear reserves such as travelling stock and transmission routes, are the only corridors of vegetation that provide connectivity across a landscape. Connectivity is vital for ecosystems health as it allows species to move from one area to another safely in the event of a changing environment and to enable the transmission of genetic information.
    These vegetation corridors also reduce forms of land degradation such as soil erosion from wind and water.
    Linear reserves can also be important tool in the fight against climate change. Besides the vegetation acting as a carbon sink for the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide, many vegetation reserves also support Endangered Ecological Communities (EEC’s) and Threatened Species. The structure of these reserves acting as corridors across a landscape, means that as the climate changes, many of the species in these communities have the opportunity to adapt to changing environmental conditions by moving across the landscape to find better food sources, reproductive areas and partners and different beneficial climatic environments.
  • Linear environments are also being increasingly seen as valuable economic resources as well. Along with slowing land degradation which is financially difficult for rural land managers, travelling stock use roadside environments to graze, particularly in times of drought. Travelling stock routes and reserves are used when farmers must move stock over long distances to find feed.
    The linear environments also support public utilities such as gas, electricity and telecommunication infrastructure.
    The roadside environment is also increasingly utilised as an area to store machinery and material for development works, it provides a strategic space for bushfire control, and presents opportunities for other industries such as bee keeping, firewood collection and billboard advertising.
    There is also a potential opportunity for vegetation reserves such as these to be economically beneficial as carbon credits. Polluters may be able to offset their emissions by increasing the number of trees within the linear environment reserves.
  • As well as the aforementioned reasons, linear reserve environments also have certain social aspects that are highly valued. Besides providing a visually appealing landscape, many cultural items such as Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal heritage sites, markers, bridges and plantings are located along the roadside and other linear reserves. The vegetation corridors also improve the character and sense of place for many areas, with landscapes defined by the representation of vegetation along the roadsides.
  • There are several issues that arise with the management of linear reserve environments and here are an example of a few.
    Firstly, coordination and establishment of appropriate fire regimes is crucial for the management of these environments. This includes consulting with land managers and adjacent land holders. Linear reserves can often run alongside fire breaks such as roads and this means that the management of vegetation becomes very important to fire fighters and the surrounding community. However, it is also important to gauge how often linear reserves should be burnt to reduce ground fuels while at the same time, reduce the negative environmental impacts on vegetation.
    Secondly, linear environments are susceptible to invasion by weed species due to their proximity to transport routes and often disturbed nature. This is especially true for roadsides and travelling stock routes as vehicles, machinery and stock act as weed vectors and transport seeds and spores along their lengths. A coordination of weed management is required across the responsible authorities.
    Linear reserves, particularly roadsides are also faced with the issue of maintaining the balance between environmental factors and ensuring road safety. This is found in the creation of Clear Zone Guidelines. The provision of clear zones can lead to environmental damage and a reduction in the environmental value of the roadside. This is particularly true on some rural roads where the roadside often contains most, if not all, of the remaining indigenous vegetation in the area. In Australia, all states have roadside safety policies which require the provision of clear zones; however, they also have environmental policies which recognise the value of the vegetation on roadsides and the need to preserve indigenous remnants whenever possible. Requirements vary for new and existing roads and depend on traffic volume, road geometry, operating speed, road function and crash history. Generally road safety policies require clear zones to be provided if it is economically feasible and the environmental consequences are acceptable.
    Finally, litter management is also important in these well utilised areas, however the management of this issue stems from a need to change community behaviour, particularly within vehicle users.
  • It is important to have a coordinated approach to managing linear reserve vegetation. One of the ways to do this is through the development of local roadside vegetation management plans through roadside managers such as Local Councils. The community expects that these public lands will be managed in such a way as to maximise community and environmental benefit.
    This map identifies the Local Council areas that had developed roadside vegetation management plans by 2014. This is a vast improvement and there is most likely more Councils who have undertaken these plans in recent years. The REC funded and supported the development of this project to encourage the development of roadside environmental management plans.
  • The development of RVMP’s usually occurs in four stages- assessment, planning, implementation and monitoring and evaluation.
  • The first task in developing a management plan for any area is to identify the resources already present, and roadsides are no different. The nature of road reserves - linear areas under public ownership and use - means that community members can be involved in the completion of these assessments, under the guidance of a trained facilitator. The participation of community members has a number of advantages:-
    -the cost of employing a professional botanist to carry out a survey would be prohibitively expensive for most roadside managers
    -it involves the broader community in the development of the plan, leading to greater community input to the plan, and ownership of it.
    -use is made of local skills and knowledge, which is likely to result in more information being collected
    -many community members would be keen to be involved, for instance, members of Landcare groups and conservation organisations, school students, and staff of roadside managers, such as Councils The participation of untrained community members means that a simple assessment sheet needs to be developed, which is competed on site. (The NSW Roadside Environment Committee has developed such a sheet, and an assessment manual, for use on roadside surveys in NSW and is available on their website.) The facilitator/co-ordinator then collates the assessment sheets, compiling an assessment report which usually classifies roadsides into high, medium, or low conservation value. This report is then available for use by roadside managers in developing a management plan.
  • At all stages of the development and implementation of a roadside management plan, the local community needs to be involved. Particularly, the involvement of all stakeholders in the management of the roadside is essential. This can be done through the establishment of a local steering committee.
    The aim of a plan is to develop management guidelines and programs for the roadside that take into account the current values of the roadside, and the needs of roadside users. The planning process involves consideration of the roadside assessment results, together with the needs of the local community, and legislative requirements.
    A plan can provide general management guidelines, as well as details of specific management techniques for particular areas. Various sections of the roadside can be managed in different ways, depending upon the values identified in the assessment and the needs of the community. The local steering committee could decide that different activities may occur on the same roadsides, or can be accommodated by allocating them to different roadsides.
    Such decisions are made locally, and in consultation with stakeholders. The format of the management plan must be flexible, allowing for new information to be fed into it as it becomes available, or to take account of changing circumstance or community expectation.
  • The implementation of the management plan requires a number of actions to take place.
    Firstly, roadsides of high conservation value need to be adequately marked, so that staff of roadside managers, and the public, are aware of the area. Significant Roadside Environment Area Signage is one such method. The SREA signs identify areas to:
    warn roadside workers to take care when operating in the area
    highlight the features of the roadside to the public and promote awareness
    provide a contact for further information
    However, such awareness is only meaningful if there is appropriate training given to staff. This training might include various aspects of vegetation management, such as identification of areas with conservation value, and methods for conducting standard roadside maintenance in ways that do not degrade existing values.
    There also needs to be community understanding of roadside management through a consultation process.
  • To improve the quality of a site, you should have objectives that are specific (ie increase shrub understorey) and measurable (ie starting shrub species density per Ha, & total number of species plus measured variance over time) and can be achieved through some management strategy or action (ie direct seeding, planting, enhanced regeneration).
    All plans need to be checked and reviewed to remain relevant and respond to changing conditions. Changes in community attitude may mean the plan no longer satisfies them. Economic changes may make it impossible to achieve some of the goals in the plan. Development and infrastructure requirements will change. A plan not reviewed can become a waste of time and money. It may even cause some negative feelings within the community.
    After 1 or 2 years it is a good idea to formally review the plan. This will provide you with a way of ensuring the plan remains flexible and workable. Adjustments to time lines, changing community expectations or changes in conditions of the roadside environment are common. Review the elements of the plan for example:
    Is there any additional information that needs to be incorporated? Are the management categories still relevant?
    Have all the special management areas been identified and managed appropriately? Are there new issues that haven’t been considered?
    Is the map still accurate and relevant? Are the policies and guidelines workable? Are they being implemented?
    Communication and promotion are the key elements in maintaining momentum. The plan should be open and responsive to new ideas. Keep everyone informed of any progress with the plan and distribute it widely and invite responses. Let people know early that a review will be undertaken at a specific time. Responses from interested people can be incorporated into your review. Publish the review and acknowledge those involved and make sure any successes or activities are promoted in the media. Holding a clean up or tree planting helps focus people on the roadside and the plan.
  • Some of the resources that REC can provide land managers with include help with Significant Roadside Environment Area signage, training sessions on vegetation management, guidance on clear zones and other advice about management of linear reserves.
    Available documents include example RVMPs, guides on the RVMP process, and a sample roadside environment assessment sheet.
  • Transcript

    • 1. NSW RoadsideNSW Roadside Environment CommitteeEnvironment Committee Helping to manage NSW’s LinearHelping to manage NSW’s Linear Reserve EnvironmentsReserve Environments
    • 2. Who is involved in the Committee?Who is involved in the Committee?
    • 3. What does it do?What does it do? • Provides support, advice and resources to linearProvides support, advice and resources to linear reserve managersreserve managers • Promotes best practice management of thesePromotes best practice management of these environmentsenvironments • Provides education to the broader community about theProvides education to the broader community about the importance of linear reserve environments in NSWimportance of linear reserve environments in NSW
    • 4. Objectives of the RECObjectives of the REC • to achieve consistent, high quality of environmentalto achieve consistent, high quality of environmental management of NSW linear reservesmanagement of NSW linear reserves • to engage with key stakeholders and communities toto engage with key stakeholders and communities to improve linear reserve environmental management inimprove linear reserve environmental management in NSWNSW • to address issues related to the management of linearto address issues related to the management of linear reserve environmental management in NSWreserve environmental management in NSW
    • 5. What are linear reserves?What are linear reserves? - Roadsides > 2.5 million ha - Travelling stock routes (TSR’s) – 2.27m ha - Public utility corridors > 400,000 ha - Rail corridors > 35,000 ha The total is estimated at two thirds of the total land area of National Parks in NSW
    • 6. Value of the environmentValue of the environment Environmental and ecologicalEnvironmental and ecological • Native Remnants • Maintenance of ecosystems and threatened species • Ecological corridors and environmental connectivity through a landscape • Prevents land degradation • Climate change values including carbon sinks and adaptation of Ecologically Endangered Communities (EEC’s)
    • 7. Value of the environmentValue of the environment EconomicEconomic • First and foremost provide transport routes for road users and stock • Grazing areas for stock during drought • Support public utilities such as gas, electricity and telecommunications • Space for stockpiling and machines during construction and maintenance • Other activities such as fire control • Future possibility of carbon credits
    • 8. Value of the environmentValue of the environment SocialSocial • Cultural and social values • Visually appealing – improves the character and sense of place and provides landscape representation • Contain Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal heritage items • Recreational use for road trips and drives
    • 9. Issues in managing linearIssues in managing linear reserve environmentsreserve environments Include: •Fire Management • Weed Management • Safety vs Environment • Litter reduction
    • 10. Managing linear reserveManaging linear reserve vegetationvegetation
    • 11. Roadside VegetationRoadside Vegetation Management PlansManagement Plans Four stages of development:Four stages of development: • AssessmentAssessment • PlanningPlanning • ImplementationImplementation • Monitoring and EvaluationMonitoring and Evaluation
    • 12. RVMPs - AssessmentRVMPs - Assessment • Identify resources present • Utilise community members for surveying • Complete assessment sheet •Create a report that classifies roadsides into low, medium or high conservation values
    • 13. RVMPs - PlanningRVMPs - Planning • Involves consideration of roadside assessment results, the needs of the local community and legislative requirements • Provides general management guidelines as well as specific techniques for work in particular areas • Flexible format is essential
    • 14. RVMPs - ImplementationRVMPs - Implementation • High conservation roadsides need to be marked with adequate signage to warn workers, highlight and promote awareness of roadside features and provide a contact for further information. • Also need appropriate training for staff in environmental management • And community understanding through a consultation process
    • 15. RVMPs – Monitoring andRVMPs – Monitoring and EvaluationEvaluation • Check and review the plan in light of changing conditions such as community attitude, economic aspects and development and infrastructure requirements. • Formally review the elements of the plan after one or two years and adjust to timelines, expectations and environment conditions. • Maintain interest and community momentum through a transparent process, public acknowledgement of good work, media promotion and community events
    • 16. How the REC can helpHow the REC can help SERVICES: • Help with SREA signage • Website • REC Newsletter • Guidance on clear zones • Other advice about management of linear reserve environments RESOURCES: •Linear reserve env document store • Managing Roadsides Guides - Assessment - Planning - Implementation - Monitoring & Evaluation • Roadside Assessment Sheet
    • 17. ContactsContacts • Website:Website: http://www.rms.nsw.gov.au/environment/roadsideenvironcommittee/http://www.rms.nsw.gov.au/environment/roadsideenvironcommittee/ • Mailing List: Join the REC mailing list to receive a quarterly update onMailing List: Join the REC mailing list to receive a quarterly update on activities, training, publications, case studies and lots more. Contact theactivities, training, publications, case studies and lots more. Contact the Executive Officer.Executive Officer. • Enquiries: Any enquiries should be directed to the Executive Officer who willEnquiries: Any enquiries should be directed to the Executive Officer who will provide seek the relevant information from the most appropriate committeeprovide seek the relevant information from the most appropriate committee membermember • Administration:Administration: The REC has independent administration through environmental consultants Molino Stewart.The REC has independent administration through environmental consultants Molino Stewart. Contact: Neil DuftyContact: Neil Dufty Executive Officer NSW RECExecutive Officer NSW REC Phone (02) 9354 0300Phone (02) 9354 0300 Mobile 0427 130 283Mobile 0427 130 283 Email: ndufty@molinostewart.com.au Email: ndufty@molinostewart.com.au 
    • 18. Any questionsAny questions

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