Identify key processes and actions that contribute to weed invasion and infestation. Tasks: * Examine trends in weed invasion and infestation to identify key processes and actions (ie, increased nutrient runoff, dumping of garden refuse).
* Prioritise key contributing processes for ameliorative action based on, magnitude of impact, viability of impacted ecosystems, environmental benefit, and cost to the community.
Effectively manage weed invasion of bushland areas. Tasks:
* Prioritise areas for weed control on the basis of existing degree of impact on bushland, and potential future impacts.
* Council to fulfil its statutory obligations for weed control on Council managed land, under the Noxious Weeds Act.
* Issue notices for weed control on privately owned land, in accordance with the Noxious Weeds Act.
* Encourage, through the provision of guidance, equipment, and training, community participation in weed control in bushland areas through Bushcare.
Goldfish are the most common of the exotic fish in Australia, being found in every major drainage system from the Fitzroy River in Queensland to south western Australia, and Tasmania.
Develop and maintain an accurate database on feral animals within the Sutherland Shire. Tasks: * Identify and obtain relevant existing feral animal databases.
* Identify data gaps in existing data.
* Commission and complete studies to address data gaps.
* Update database on a regular basis (minimum yearly to coincide with State of the Environment Report).
Effectively manage feral animals in bushland areas. Tasks: * Prioritise areas for feral animals control on the basis of existing degree of impact on bushland and future potential impacts.
* Prioritise feral animals for control on the basis of degree of impact on bushland and potential future impacts.
* Development of policies for the control of potentially feral animals such as cats and dogs, including compulsory registration, limitations on numbers, desexing programs.
* Educate cat and dog owners on appropriate controls and the need to keep their pets secure at night.
* Investigate options for the control of feral animals in bushland, including trapping and poisoning.
Encourage community participation in the control and management of introduced species. Tasks: * Promote community involvement in management and control of weeds through programs such as Bushcare.
* Make information on the impacts of introduced species available to the public through the State of the Environment Report, Landscape Development Control Plans and other educational material.
In NSW alone 400,000 feral cats kill 400 million native animals every year.
(New Scientist 1993)
6.0 BUSHFIRE MANAGEMENT 6.1 Objectives * To manage fire within the Sutherland Shire in a way that maintains, or does not compromise, the ecological integrity of the bushland.
6.2 Fire Communities in the Sutherland Shire The range of habitat types within the Shire respond to fire in different ways. While some require frequent fire to maintain their diversity others may be destroyed by fire. Through its responsibility as a Fire Control Authority, Council impacts on bushland habitats through their fire management strategy. It is therefore necessary to know how a vegetation community will respond to fire, and to take this into consideration when developing a fire management strategy.
While the protection of life and property is the main aim of hazard reduction burns, fire is becoming an increasingly important tool in the management of bushland. Fires may be used to reduce weed infestations and to promote the regeneration of bushland. However where fire frequencies are too short, some plants may not have enough time to set seed, and may become locally extinct.
Fire Regimes of Habitat Types within the Sutherland Shire
For example, Banksia ericifolia has disappeared from many bushland areas around Sydney, including areas of the Royal National Park and the Sutherland Shire. This shrub first flowers eight years after a fire and sets seed in the ninth year. Where the interval between fires has been repeatedly less than eight years, this species has been unable to set seed and has become extinct in that locality.
Studies following the 1994 fires in the Royal National Park have shown that numbers of native marsupial mice such as the Brown Antechinus, have decreased dramatically since 1994, whereas numbers of the introduced house mouse increased dramatically after the fire.
6.3 Bushfire Legislation While some legislation, such as the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979, requires bushfire impacts be considered as part of the assessment process, the only piece of legislation controlling the management of bushfire is the Rural Fires Act (1997).
The Rural Fires Act (RFA) (199) gives powers to Fire Control Authorities, such as local councils, to control and manage bushfires in areas under their control. The RFA requires the production of Bush Fire Risk Management Plans that identify bushfire risk and outline practicable steps to prevent fires and to avoid fires spreading onto any land owned by them or under their control or management, including the ordering of hazard reduction works on private property. Hazard reduction activities carried out under the Rural Fires Act, do not require formal development consent, provided they are carried out in accordance with an approved Bush Fire Risk Management Plan
6.4 Council’s Role There are a number of actions and tasks that Council may implement to ensure that bushfire management does not compromise the ecological integrity of habitats within the Sutherland Shire.
Develop and maintain an accurate record of the fire history of the bushland of the Shire. Tasks: * Compile existing data on fire histories of bushland., including hazard reduction burns.
* Identify data gaps.
* Undertake required studies to attempt to complete database. This will mainly comprise studies of vegetation type, flowering frequency, seedling emergence etc.
* Update database on a regular basis, minimum yearly.
Develop management policies and practices that do not compromise the ecological integrity of the bushland. Tasks: * Continue environmental checklist procedure for each hazard reduction burn or clearing operation.
* Development of an annual hazard reduction program.
* Proposed burns and operations to be reviewed by the Environmental Science Unit, Bushcare and other relevant departments, to identify potential environmental constraints.
* Where possible ensure that burn frequency is compatible with the vegetation type.
* Conduct burns so as to ensure a mosaic of vegetation regeneration.
* Where possible ensure a variety of burn intensities and seasonality are employed.
* Where possible avoid burning bushland during periods of flowering for threatened plant species.
* Where possible avoid burning bushland during periods of breeding for threatened animals.
* Consideration should be given to alternative means of fuel reduction, such as mechanical and manual methods, where appropriate.
* Where manual methods of hazard reduction are employed ensure that personnel receive adequate training to identify threatened species that may inhabit the site.
* Hazard reduction burns adjacent to waterbodies should not contribute to unacceptable levels of sediment pollution.
* Liaise with NPWS to ensure that sufficient representative habitat types and plant communities are maintained unburnt each year.
REFERENCES Anderson, I. 1993 “Save a species, make a profit” in New Scientist, 3 December 1993.
Australia and New Zealand Environment and Conservation Council, 1994 National Strategy for the Conservation of Australia’s Biological Diversity, Commonwealth of Australia, Canberra.
Briggs, J.D. and Leigh, J.H. 1996 Rare or threatened Australian plants, CSIRO Publishing, Collingwood.
Commonwealth of Australia 1993 Intergovernmental Agreement on the Environment, Commonwealth of Australia, Canberra.
Department of Environment, Sport and Territories, 1993 Convention on Biological Diversity, A guide, Department of Environment, Sport and Territories.
Department of Environment, Sport and Territories, 1993 Biodiversity and its value, Biodiversity Series, Paper No 1., Department of Environment, Sport and Territories.
Department of Environment, Sport and Territories, 1995 Native Vegetation Clearance, Habitat Loss and Biodiversity Decline, Biodiversity Series, Paper No 6., Department of Environment, Sport and Territories.
Department of Environment, Sport and Territories, 1996 State of the Environment Report, Australia, 1996., CSIRO and Department of Environment, Sport and Territories.
Environment Protection Authority NSW, 1994 Biodiversity, Environmental Matters 14, Environment Protection Authority, Chatswood.
Environment Protection Authority NSW, 1995 New South Wales State of the Environment 1995, Environment Protection Authority, Chatswood.
Goldsmith, E. & Hildyard, N 1993 The Earth Report 3, An A-Z Guide of Environmental Issues, Mitchell Beazley, New York.
The Council of the Municipality of Kiama 1996 Biodiversity Policy, Prepared by the Environment Committee and Debra L Rae for the Council of the Municipality of Kiama.
Sutherland Shire Council 1995 Sutherland Shire Council, State of the Environment Report 1995, Environmental Science Unit, Sutherland Shire Council.
Sutherland Shire Biodiversity Strategy - October 1999.