50 Biodiversity by goodbaby

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									5.0 Biodiversity
BACKGROUND
Biodiversity refers to the variety of all life forms, the different plants, animals, microorganisms, the genes they contain, and the ecosystems they form. The conservation of biodiversity is essential for supporting human life on Earth. Biodiversity maintains ecosystem productivity and function, thus improving ecosystem stability during climate change and providing a mechanism for the absorption of waste products (State of the Environment Advisory Council 1996). This chapter provides an overview of the issues and initiatives undertaken by Council relating to the preservation and enhancement of biodiversity in the Camden LGA. includes species of Blue Box (Eucalyptus baueriana) and Broad-leaved Apple (Angophora subvelutina) (Benson & Howell 1990). River Oaks (Casuarina cunninghamiana) and Water Gums (Tristaniopsis laurina) are found along the water’s edge but changing flooding patterns and increasing nutrients in the river have allowed exotic weeds to naturalise in the understorey. The restricted but locally abundant Camden White Gum or Nepean River Gum (Eucalyptus benthamii) is also found in the sandy alluvial soils of the Camden LGA. Freshwater swamps filled the low-lying floodplain depressions but on low-lying flats around Narellan was Swamp Oak (Casuarina glauca) growing what seems to be in response to saline ground water (Benson & Howell 1990).

5.1 Native Vegetation (S)
The Camden LGA is centred on the town of Camden, on the banks of the Nepean River, in the south-west region of the Cumberland Plain. The area, with its rich fertile Nepean River flats and undulating Wianamatta Shale hills, was named ‘The Cowpastures’ in the 1790s after cattle that had escaped from Sydney were discovered running wild here. As part of the Cumberland Plain Woodland (CPW), the original vegetation was characterised particularly by trees of Grey Box (Eucalyptus moluccana), Narrowleaved Ironbark (Eucalyptus crebra) and Forest Red Gum (Eucalyptus teretecornis), the ground cover was grassy with predominantly Kangaroo Grass (Themeda australis) and other grasses including Poa labillardieri and Sporobolus creber. Patches of shrubs included Bursaria spinosa, Olearia viscidula and Indigofera australia. CPW was also found on the eastern side of Nepean River near Cobbitty, Narellan and further north. Nowadays, examples of Cumberland Plain Woodland with native pasture remain in the Elizabeth Macarthur Agricultural Research Institute (Benson & Howell 1990). A very localised patch of dry rainforest near Cobbitty was reported in the 1860s. The plants recorded here were not found anywhere else nearby – the nearest being the Hunter Valley. Many of the original flora species are either extinct or degraded by grazing stock and rabbits or from competition with the naturalised African Olive (Olea europaea subspecies africana) (Benson & Howell 1990). Along the Nepean River tall eucalypts forests grew on the alluvial banks and freshwater swamps in flood-prone swales. Following settlement, most of this alluvial forest disappeared, all but that fenced off in what is known as ‘Camden Park’. This remnant

5.2 Threats to Native Vegetation (P)
Generally speaking there are many threats with various degrees and magnitude of impact on Australian native vegetation in both rural and urban areas. These threats include broadscale clearing for new agricultural land use, urban development and road expansion. It also includes overgrazing, chemical run-off, urban and dryland salinity, unsustainable firewood collection, competition from weeds and rubbish dumping. During the reporting year 330 DAs were assessed involving the inspection of some 812 individual trees. On average 8 tree-related DAs were assessed each week. There has been a 21% increase in the number of applications compared with the previous year and an 11% increase when compared with the number of applications received two years ago. Table 5.1: Development Applications affecting Trees Reporting Period 2003/04 2004/05 2005/06 2006/07 Applications 312 287 253 330 No. Trees No. Trees approved approved for for removal pruning 612 540 532 812 105 106 82 166

Source: Camden Council (2007)

Sustainable Camden Report 2006/07

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Where approval is given for tree removal a condition is added requiring a replacement tree to be planted at the subject property. Approximately 20% of applications for tree removal affect native vegetation. Prosecutions for illegal tree removal /clearing during the reporting year have resulted substantial fines being awarded along with orders requiring the remediation of the damage through tree planting. The following table shows the distribution of applications received by location. By far, the built up urban areas account for most of the tree activity in Camden. However the requirement for replacement trees to be planted whenever a tree is removed should over time maintain the amount of biomass at a relatively constant level. Table 5.2: Development Applications affecting Trees by location Suburb Camden South Camden Narellan Elderslie Grasmere Mount Annan Leppington Narellan Vale Cobbitty Catherine Field Currans Hill Kirkham Rossmore Springfarm Harrington Park Smeaton Grange Totals
Source: Camden Council (2007)

With regards to individual flora species, 573 have been identified in the Camden LGA – both native and exotic species. Of these, 26 species are threatened or protected species under Division 2 of the TSC Act 1995 (Refer to Table 5.1) including the Camden White Gum (E. benthamii) and Brown Pomaderris (Pomaderris brunne), both classified ‘Vulnerable (V)’ and the Whiteflowered Wax Plant (Cynanchum elegans) and the small shrub Pimelea spicata, both classed as ‘Endangered (E1)’ under the TSC Act 1995 (NSW Government 2005 and NPWS 2005). Table 5.3: Threatened Species – Category of threatened species Code V E1 E2 E4 P P13 U Categories of threatened species Vulnerable (TSC Act 1995) Endangered (TSC Act 1995) Endangered (TSC Act 1995) Presumed Extinct (TSC Act 1995) Protected (National Parks & Wildlife Act 1974 (NP&W Act 1974)) Protected Plants (NP&W Act 1974) Unprotected

2005/06 63 33 31 30 14 23 6 17 8 6 7 3 6 0 5 1 253

2006/07 63 31 27 43 26 27 14 27 21 17 9 7 9 2 5 2 330

Source: NPWS (2001)

An Endangered Population (Flora) of the vine Marsdenia viridiflora is listed as occurring in the Camden LGA.

5.4 Wildlife and Habitat (S)
Various agencies have recorded a collective total of 247 animal species in the Camden LGA. This includes amphibians, reptiles, birds, fish, insects, mammals and molluscs. 189 of these animals are classed as either threatened under the TSC Act 1995 or as protected under the NP&W Act 1974 while the remaining 58 are introduced species, species that aggressively compete with native fauna species for food and habitats eg Common starling and blackbird, European carp and rabbits. Approximately 70% of the 189 threatened or protected species recorded in the Camden LGA are predominantly native bird species. Table 5.4 displays 15 species of fauna that are presently considered vulnerable or endangered. These 15 species differ slightly in composition to the 12 reported in previous SoE Reports although the Blue-billed duck, Greater Broad-nosed Bat and Cumberland Land Snail are species that continue to be classed as threatened species under the TSC Act 1995.

5.3 Threatened Species Conservation (R)
Freshwater Wetlands , Swamp Oak Floodplain Forest , and River-Flat Eucalypt Forest are listed as Endangered Ecological Communities (EECs) under the Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995 (TSC Act 1995) as occurring on the Coastal Floodplains of the NSW North Coast, Sydney Basin and South East Corner bioregions are located in the Camden LGA. The other four EECs also found in the Camden LGA are CPW, Elderslie Banksia Scrub Forest, Western Sydney Dry Rainforest, and Moist Shale Woodlands.

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Table 5.4: Threatened Fauna Species Present in the Camden LGA Threatened Scientific Name Species Code (Aves) Mealanodryas cucullata Oxyura australis Stictonetta naevosa Stagonopleura guttata V V V V Large areas of Woodland. Deep, permanent freshwater lakes and lagoons and swamps with extensive reed beds. Swamps heavily infested with Cumbungi, farm dams. Inhabits open eucalypt and woodlands feeding on grass seeds. Has been observed at Gundungurra Reserve by Council’s Natural Resource Officer in October 2002. No other records. Large Areas of Woodland.

Common Name Birds Hooded Robin Blue-Billed Duck Freckled Duck Diamond Firetail

Habitat

Speckled Warbler Molluscs Cumberland Land Snail

Pyrrholaemus sagittaus (Mollusca) Meridolum corneovirens

V

E1

Open woodland, found under fallen logs and debris, and under bark and leaf litter of Eucalypt trees, feeds on fungi. Has been found in Camden LGA at Spring Farm, Mount Annan, Harrington Park and Mater Dei property. Well timbered areas and areas where there are caves, old buildings, stormwater drains. Recorded at Elderslie. Roosts on caves, tunnels, old buildings and in dense foliage. Inhabits sites near water bodies where it forages on aquatic pests. Recorded at Mater Dei complex at Camden. Generally roosts in tree hollows and forages along treelined creeks between woodland and open paddocks. Recorded at Elderslie, Spring Farm and Mater Dei complex. Sub-tropical and temperate rainforest, tall sclerophyll forest, woodlands. Forage on the nectar and pollen of native trees, in particular Eucalyptus, Melaleuca and Banksia and Rainforest fruit. Can travel hundreds of kilometres depending on food availability. Recorded at Spring Farm and Elderslie. Inhabits woodlands, forages above the canopy and roosts in tree hollows and bark. Recorded at Elderslie and Spring Farm. Inhabits woodlands and roosts in caves tunnels and tree hollows. Recorded at Elderslie.

Mammals Common Bentwing Bat Large-footed Myotis Greater Broadnosed Bat Grey-headed Flying Fox

(Mammalia) Miniopterus schreibersii oceanensis Myotis adversus Scotoneanux ruepellii Pteropus poliocephalus V

V

V

V

Eastern Freetail Bat Large-eared Pied Bat Eastern Pigmy Possum Adams Emerald Dragonfly Macquarie Perch

Mormopterus norfolkensis Chalinobolus dwyeri Cercartetus nanus Arcaeophya adamsii Macquaria australasica

V

V V

Species classed as threatened under the NSW Fisheries Management Act 1994 V V

Source: NPWS (2001), GEC (1999), Conacher & Travers (2001), and Conacher Travers (2002)

Sustainable Camden Report 2006/07

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State of the Environment Report

In many cases, there are combining threats impacting on native animals. It includes habitat loss that comes with broad scale land clearing, predominantly for urban development in the case of Camden LGA. The introduction of exotic species or pests that prey on or compete for food, shelter or nesting spaces also poses a huge impact on the abundance and diversity of native fauna not to mention the diseases and parasites introduced by these exotic species. Urbanisation also affects native (and domestic) animals directly eg road kills, electrocution by power transmission cables and poisoning by humans (whether accidentally or incidentally).

the Bringelly Creek catchment, though remote from Bringelly Creek. Regular inspections and the issuing of notices by Council ensures property owners/occupiers comply with their obligations under the Act.

Water hyacinth
One infestation of Water hyacinth were observed in the LGA during the 2006/07 reporting period. This infestation was located in South Creek approx 1km south of Bringelly Road. Treatment was conducted and follow-up inspections have been undertaken to assess the success of this treatment. The possibility of growth from dormant seeds in a creek in Springs Farm and farm dams in Leppington remains a possibility, although inspections during the reporting period have revealed no such regrowth.

Other Aquatic Weeds
Monthly inspections of a culvert on Cobbitty Creek have revealed no regrowth since November. Physical removal of germinating seedlings will resume if necessary.

5.5 Distribution and Abundance of Aquatic and Terrestrial weeds (S) Alligator Weed
Alligator weed remains present as numerous small infestations along the length of the Nepean River through the LGA. These infestations were again treated throughout the reporting period, between October and May in collaboration with Wollondilly Shire, Campbelltown and Liverpool City Councils, as permitted under Section 17 (5) of the Noxious Weeds Act 1993. Treatment of alligator weed in the Nepean River during this reporting period was effective with a slight reduction in the weed which has not been seen in previous years. Alligator weed is also present on a number of private properties in the North Ward of the Local Government Area. Private properties are inspected three times between October and March each year to ensure compliance with the provisions of the Act, and infestations in road culverts are treated at approximately the same time by contractors or councils Parks and Gardens Unit.

Terrestrial Weeds
Infestations of terrestrial weeds including Privet, African Boxthorn, St John’s Wort, African Olive and Pampas grass, were further reduced in distribution and abundance over the last year. These weeds have various distributions throughout the LGA, though Council and other occupiers are making concerted efforts to prevent the spread of, and ultimately eradicate many of these weeds. 302 inspections were conducted during the reporting period on 298 private properties totalling 7,599.71 acres. Noxious weed control works have been conducted on numerous public land sites throughout the Camden Local Government Area. Areas that have received treatment include John Oxley Reserve, Kirkham Lane, Camden Valley Way, Richardson Road, Cuthill Reserve, Northern Road and Bringelly Road. The most common noxious weed located on council owned reserves is Blackberry and African Boxthorn.

Salvinia
Salvinia remains present in a large water quality control pond under Council’s control in the Narellan Creek Catchment and upstream in a dam. It is also generally present in the South Creek catchment. A significant amount of money has been spent on control of the weed in recent years, and follow-up treatments are undertaken as required. Salvinia also remains on private property along Lowes, South and Rileys Creeks, with an isolated infestation on a property in

RESPONSES 5.6 Nepean Riparian Vegetation Management (R)
Towards the end of the last reporting period, Council was notified that its $141,000 grant application for the

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Camden Nepean River Reserves Restoration Project was successful. The project was prepared in response to a Local Government River Health Partnership Project grant under Round 5 of the Hawkesbury Nepean Catchment Management Authority and Local Government Advisory Group Local Government Partnership Program. The Camden Nepean River Reserves Restoration Project aims to restore three bushland reserve sites along the Nepean River in the Camden Local Government Area (LGA). The bushland reserves include Bicentennial Park (north), Camden Town Park and Kings Bush Reserve (eastern riparian portion). It also aims to engage the community to protect and restore Coastal River Flat Forest, an Endangered Ecological Community. The project has involved the removal and control of invasive and noxious weeds including Privet, Gleditsia and African Olive. Local indigenous species have been planted across the sites to help stabilise the riverbank. Key community planting events occurred during Trees for Mum Day on 13 May 2007 at Kings Bush Reserve and World Environment Day during 5 and 6 June 2007 at Bicentennial Park (north), Enviro-safari tours for the community and staff of Camden Council were also conducted during February/march 2007. Camden Nepean River Reserves Restoration Project involves application of a range of best management practice restoration techniques across the sites. The outcome will see significant natural resource and social benefits to the Camden LGA.

of street and park trees removed and then planted within the LGA during the reporting period. Table 5.5: Street and Park Trees Type Removal & Replacements New Plantings
Source: Camden Council (2007)

Number 269 220

Park Trees
The following table provides a summary of the number of park trees removed and then planted within the LGA during the reporting period. Table 5.6: Park Trees Type Removal & Replacements New Plantings
Source: Camden Council (2007)

Number 30 70

Revegetation
Table 5.5 provides a summary of plant numbers by site planted within the LGA during the reporting period. Table 5.7: Revegetation Site Narellan Urban Forest Gundungurra Reserve Sickles Creek Reserve Kings Bush Reserve Harrington Park Lake 2 Harrington Park Lakes 3A to 3D riparian corridor Bicentennial Park north, (Ferguson’s land) Total Trees 57 900 12 525 1,500 600 1,500 5,094 3,500 9,462 97,679 Shrubs 962 1600 50 2,100 1,250 2,000 89,200 2,000 Groundcovers 4,479 Total 5,498 2,500 62 4,625 91,950 2,600 5,000 112,235

5.7 Plantings and Bush Regeneration Activities (R)
As mentioned in the previous SoE Report, Council had altered its key indicator for this chapter to reflect the total number of trees planted in the LGA during the reporting period. Tree planting data is more readily collected and will provide the community with information as to the number of trees planted and the locations of these trees. Council did not have access to figures relating to plantings of in the Camden LGA that are part of the requirement of various large scale development projects for this reporting period. The following responses have been undertaken by Council during the 2006/07 reporting period. Each table presents specific data for each type and location of trees planted within the LGA during the reporting period.

Source: Camden Council (2007)

Bushland Restoration
The following table provides information regarding the areas of Reserves that have undergone restoration during the reporting period. The type of activity performed at each site is noted in the right-hand column.

Street and Park Trees
The following table provides a summary of the number

Sustainable Camden Report 2006/07

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State of the Environment Report

Table 5.8: Bushland Restoration Site Gundungurra Kings Bush Reserve Nepean Cycleway Sickles Creek Reserve Broughton Reserve to Charles Throsby Reserve Cowpasture Reserve Harrington Park Lakes 3A to 3D riparian corridor Harrington Park Lake 2 Bicentennial Park north (Ferguson’s land) Total Area in Hectares (ha) 1 3 0.02 0.32 2 Activity P, R P, S, M, Sp, R Sp, R, P, Er, M P, R, Sp, R P, Sp, R

Wetland Rehabilitation
The following table provides information regarding long term water quality improvement projects through the development of offstream wetlands. Table 5.9: Wetland Rehabilitation Site Harrington Park Lake 3A to 3D Harrington Park Lake 2 Broughton Reserve to Charles Throsby Reserve Total
Source: Camden Council (2007)

Area (ha) 0.4 1.5 0.1 2.0ha

Sedges/Reeds planted 19,000 6,000 1,000 26,000

0.025 0.6

P, Sp, R P, S, M, Sp, R

3.3 8.3

P,S,M,Sp,R P,Sp,R

Community Volunteers
Table 5.10 provides an overview of the sites where volunteers have undertaken biodiversity restoration works during the reporting periods of 2005/06 and 2006/07.

18.57

Sp: Herbicide Spraying, R: Revegetation, DS: Direct Seeding, P: Primary Weeding, S: Secondary Weeding; Er: Erosion Control, M: Maintenance. Source: Camden Council (2007)

Table 5.10: Community Volunteers Activity for 2005/06 and 2006/07 Site/Activity Group 2005/06 No. of Volunteers National Tree Day, Gundungurra Reserve Gundungurra Reserve Kings Bush Reserve, Camden Trees for Mum Kings Bush Reserve Sickles Creek Reserve, Grasmere Bicentennial Park north (Ferguson’s land) World Environment Day at Bicentennial Park north (Ferguson’s land) Total
Source: Camden Council (2007)

2006/07 No. of Volunteers 120 Volunteer Hours (hr) 360

Volunteer Hours (hr) 450

Community

150

Camden Bushcare Camden Bushcare Community Camden Bushcare Camden Bushcare Community and school groups 10 108 30 345

6 18 240 5 6 65

84 981 480 63 18 195

190

903

460

2181

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National Tree Day
National Tree Day was celebrated on 30 July 2006 at Gundungurra Reserve, Narellan Vale. Approximately 120 volunteers contributed a total of 450 hours in planting a total of 2,500 native seedlings. The seedlings consisted of 900 trees and 1,600 shrubs.

inspected. It should be noted that the number of inspections and number of properties inspected do not necessarily correlate with the number of Section 18 notices issued under the Act. In many cases, properties may have been repeatedly inspected to ensure the property owner/occupier complied with the issued notice. Table 5.11: Summary of Noxious Weed Inspections 1998 to 2007 Reporting period No. of Inspections No. of properties inspected 176 226 201 110 126 117 224 316 298 No. of Section 18 notices issued 0 2 28 32 42 32 36 38 1

5.8 Natural Assets Policy (R)
The Natural Assets Policy discussed in detail in the previous report remained effective for the 2006/07 reporting period. The Policy introduces a variety of initiatives designed to operate in a complementary manner to ensure that the natural resource assets of the Camden LGA are managed for the long-term sustainability of the region. The principal objectives of the Policy are to: • Facilitate ecologically sustainable development through the substantial retention and long term management of natural assets in Camden; • Protect the environment of the Camden local government area by ensuring that the impacts of future land uses are considered in a cumulative and total catchment management context; • Protect and conserve and restore native vegetation in parcels of a size, quality and configuration which will enable the existing plant and animal communities to survive in the long term; • Maintain the natural hydrological processes of the landscape to ensure the survival of aquatic ecosystems and the mitigation of salinity risk; and • Provide an offsetting mechanism to provide flexibility in the implementation of this policy. The Policy requires proponents minimise impact upon natural systems and to offset any impact that does occur as a result of their development. Council will review the operation of the policy on a regular basis to ensure that the objectives of fostering a consistent and strategic approach to natural resource management across the Camden LGA is achieved for each new development. Consequently, the policy is to be reviewed in 2007.

1998/99 1999/00 2000/01 2001/02 2002/03 2003/04 2004/05 2005/06 2006/07

181 288 243 175 187 158 306 367 302

Source: Camden Council (2007)

Camden Council, in cooperation with Wollondilly Shire, Liverpool and Campbelltown City Councils, conducted two treatments for Alligator Weed along the length of the Nepean River within those LGAs during this reporting period. During these treatments a herbicide registered for use in and around waterways was applied to the small, attached mats of Alligator Weed which have persisted since the introduction of this control technique. These applications took place in November 2006, and late January and February 2007. Eradication treatments double as inspections of the river, where the infestations are mapped using aerial photographs and topograpic maps. No other noxious aquatic weeds were observed in the Nepean River within the Camden LGA during the reporting period. Salvinia was observed in the river, downstream of the Camden LGA.

5.9 Weed Eradication (R)
As mentioned earlier, 302 inspections were carried out on 298 properties during the reporting period. As a result of the inspections, 1 Section 18 notice were issued under the Noxious Weeds Act 1993 to property occupiers for the control of noxious weeds. The number of inspections decreased slightly however a larger area of the Local government Area was

Sustainable Camden Report 2006/07

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State of the Environment Report

Key Indicator
Number of trees planted during reporting period. Indicator category: “R” (Response)
Data from this indicator may be used by a wide section of the community, including wildlife volunteers, interested individuals and those who prepare biodiversity reports for development proposals. The number of trees planted by Council, community volunteers, landholders and residents is more easily recorded by Council than the previous biodiversity indicator. Numbers of trees planted also provides a sound basis to measure the rate of tree restoration undertaken within the LGA. Table 5.12: Number of trees planted in the LGA – 2006/07 Location Street and Park trees Revegetation (excludes shrubs & grasses) National Tree Day Number of trees Comments 220 Council Activity

Discussion
The number of trees planted during the reporting period provides the community with a more reliable source of the rate of tree replacement that is undertaken within the LGA during the reporting period. Council is able to advise that the community notwithstanding the rate of urban development that is being experienced with the area and the subsequent loss of native trees, there are active programs working to improve the balance between trees removed and planted in a given period. The indicator could be further enhanced by comparing the rate of loss of trees as opposed to the rate of replacement of trees. This would provide Council with longer-term information as to the required rate of replacement of trees compared to the number planted in any one year.

5,094

Community volunteers & Council works

SECTOR STATEMENT
Council continues to be involved in the management of biodiversity in the LGA, not only in terms of land and water management as outlined in previous sections of this report, but also through the management of flora and fauna. Weed eradication programs have extended to aquatic environments and continue to identify and control weeds throughout the LGA, as well as fostering important partnerships between Council and the community. Council’s Natural Assets Policy remains effective and together with the restoration and education programs such as Bushcare regeneration projects and the ‘Our Earth Our Stories’ biodiversity education project focusing on the Macarthur area, there is a positive contribution towards the management of Camden’s local biodiversity.

2,500

Community volunteers & Council works Private landholders DA Requirement

Community Miscellaneous Development Projects Total Trees

n/a

77,000

84, 814

Source: Camden Council (2007)

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