A new tool for bushland management prioritisation

Port Macquarie Hastings recently engaged consultants to develop a prioritisation tool to aid in developing a program of works for managing public bushland reserves including Council owned land and Crown Land where Council is the manager.

Management of Council managed bushland reserves is prioritised based on several parameters including but not limited to:

  • presence of threatened species and ecological communities
  • biosecurity risk under the Biosecurity Act 2015,
  • community interest/activity (i.e. Landcare and other community groups),
  • land use zone,
  • intact soil profile,
  • presence of highly invasive transformer weeds such a madeira vine and cats claw creeper,
  • evidence of disturbance and recovery,
  • wildfire impacts,
  • presence of pest animals,
  • size of site and connectivity to adjacent reserves both local and regional,
  • koala habitat mapping,
  • fauna corridor mapping,
  • vegetation integrity and presence of habitat such as hollow trees and logs.

These factors are all considered in the prioritisation matrix when determining the works program.  The matrix produces an impact score, ecological score, social score and an overall site score. 

Weed management activity is classified using the terms described in the Invasive Species Curve above.  Prevention is the most cost and time efficient action we can take, followed by Eradication (possible when invasion numbers are low) then Containment and finally Asset Protection (Long- term management).

Species prioritisation for Port Macquarie Hastings

Weeds are classified under the above action classifications at a whole of state level and at a North Coast Regional level.  The North Coast Regional Strategic Weed Management Plan ranks weed species for the North Coast region overall.  Council manages all of its land (including bushland reserves), to ensure compliance with the Biosecurity Act 2015 by managing all species ranked by the North Coast plan as “Containment”, “Eradication” or “Prevention” status.  This weeds priority table highlights the weeds known to exist in our local government area and the classification they fall under.

With remaining funds, council takes direction from the Bushland Managment Prioritisation tool, to undertake comprehensive weed management and bush regeneration activities, controlling all species recognised in the Local Weed Biosecurity Management Plan Port Macquarie Hastings Council.

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