Friends of Grasslands
supporting native grassy ecosystems
PO Box 440
Macquarie ACT 2614
Re. Public exhibition of the draft BCAR for the NSW portion of the Ginninderry development
Friends of Grasslands (FOG) is a community group dedicated to the conservation of natural temperate grassy ecosystems in south-eastern Australia. FOG advocates, educates and advises on matters to do with the conservation of native grassy ecosystems, and carries out surveys and other on-ground work. FOG is based in Canberra and its members include professional scientists, landowners, land managers and interested members of the public.
FOG is very appreciative that the developer has taken the initiative to commission a very detailed assessment of the Biodiversity values for the future portion of land. While FOG is particularly concerned with the residual vegetation values of grasslands, grassy woodlands, and remnant trees, it also appreciates the presentation of information about the creatures that inhabit the footprint, including the habitat for (presumed) Keyacris scurra.
FOG concludes that this important background document has been compiled with both knowledge and care. It carefully maps the lands, sets out the development impacts and calculates the credits required by the impacts on YBRGGW, NTG, PTLL and (presumed) Keyacris scurra. The development is expected to clear 0.22 ha of high quality YBRGGW, and 7.7 ha of Red Stringybark-Brittle Gum-Inland Scribbly Gum woodland (which while not a TEC, triggers credit obligation under NSW legislation). No NTG will be impacted, but 1 ha or so of Southern Tableland Red Grass - Spear Grass will.
FOG wishes to make 4 comments.
- Firstly, it is reassuring to find that four areas of the highest values, the avoided areas, have been spared from development and will not be cleared; they therefore have minimal direct impact but of course will still come under pressure from residences that will be built in close proximity and from the inhabitants of these future homes. Nevertheless, FOG commends the decision to avoid these areas.
- FOG wishes to seek a commitment that the border of the Conservation Corridor will in due course be expanded to include the three avoided areas located at development edge. The fourth area will be surrounded by residences so has to be handled differently, also being alongside one block that will be owned privately (see fig3, Lot 1). FOG looks forward to hearing of a useful biodiversity management strategy for this piece of land.
- Eighty eight remnant paddock trees (88) are dotted throughout most of the planned residential area. The BCAR notes that Riverview expects to retain most of these using methods it developed for Strathnairn and Macnamara suburbs. In the case of the ACT portion of the development, Riverview is required to consider mature-tree protection legislation in its actions. FOG is not aware of similar legislative requirements in NSW but is hopeful that Riverview will make decisions at a standard that protects trees right along its development footprint.
- Feral animal management is a major consideration in the existing (ACT portion of) the development and Conservation Corridor. It is to be hoped that effective management will extend seamlessly across the ACT-NSW border. One such issue that will need careful planning is cat containment in the developing suburbs where ACT strategies around this are more developed than in NSW (to FOG's knowledge). FOG looks forward to hearing more detail to be announced.
FOG thanks Riverview for the opportunity to comment and looks forward to high-level biodiversity treatment of both the residential lands but also the future area of Conservation Corridor.
Professor Jamie Pittock
President, Friends of Grasslands