The strategies for protecting biodiversity have been created as a two-part process. Currently NQ Dry Tropics is developing the Conservation Action Plan (CAP) that will specifically outline the necessary conditions and management targets to maintain and enhance biodiversity in our region. In the interim, a number of strategies have been included below to ensure identified biodiversity elements are being appropriately considered and managed.
Objective 1 – Landscapes in good biodiversity condition are maintained and landscapes in poor biodiversity condition are rehabilitated to protect biodiversity and resilience of ecosystem services.
- Form and support a collaborative representative group to develop a regional Conservation Action Plan (CAP) that:
- collates existing information;
- describes regional biodiversity;
- assesses biodiversity condition at a land systems level;
- identifies appropriate integrated biodiversity and land management strategies;
- identifies and implements rehabilitation and recovery programmes for fragmented habitats and threatened species; and
- creates and implements a monitoring, evaluation and review programme.
- Engage, support and promote the wider community to:
- understand the location of high conservation value areas (including habitat for near threatened and threatened species) within their properties, their value and the importance of protecting them;
- improve management of areas with high conservation values (including near threatened and threatened species) within their properties;
- use land management techniques that improve biodiversity condition;
- implement programmes to rehabilitate priority locations such as highly-fragmented areas, riparian zones and threatened remnant vegetation; and
- participate in a biodiversity monitoring programme that considers site and landscape/regional perspectives.
Objective 2 – The distribution, composition and diversity of regional ecosystems and native plants and animals are continually improved.
- Maintain and improve a comprehensive and representative regional conservation network, consisting of remnant habitat areas with biodiversity values in good condition across freehold and leasehold lands, as well as conservation parks and reserves.
- Identify and preserve areas of high ecological significance.
- Support land managers to adopt environmentally sustainable land management systems.
Objective 3 – Effectively manage the adverse impacts of pest plants and animals on our region’s biodiversity, environment, economy, society and culture.
- Implement a regional biosecurity strategy through the Burdekin Dry Tropics Regional Pest Management Implementation Committee that:
- captures information on the proliferation and management of declared pest species;
- develops integrated regional biosecurity information management systems and decision support tools;
- builds the awareness and capacity of the community to undertake appropriate management techniques;
- supports collaborative and coordinated operational management activities; and
- includes an ongoing monitoring, evaluation and review programme.
- Engage, support and promote Indigenous community participation in biosecurity management, to reduce the negative impact of pest plants and feral animals on Aboriginal culture.
Objective 4 – Terrestrial habitats and environments are of sufficient size and condition to maintain functioning ecosystems and support healthy and viable populations of native plants and animal species.
- Support partnerships between government and landholders to undertake conservation agreements, such as Nature Refuges, to commit to sustainable land management practices and protect biodiversity.
- Update natural asset mapping for our region, particularly essential habitat mapping, to include listed EVNT species habitat and ensure this is reflected in statutory planning and development assessment mapping.
- Map, monitor and assess connectivity and functionality of remnant vegetation, to ensure it is maintained at landscape and regional scales. For example: there is no net decrease in remnant vegetation cover for our region.
- Ensure land development does not compromise the contiguity and connectivity of remnant vegetation at property, landscape and regional scales in local and state planning instruments. For example: retaining existing clumps of vegetation that provide connectivity across a landscape.
- Support land managers to implement best management practices to maintain or improve the size and condition of remnant vegetation and reduce threatening processes.
- Educate land managers and the wider community about the role of fire management in our regional landscape, and provide support where its application is appropriate.
Objective 5 – Riparian vegetation is maintained in a way that protects:
- habitat connectivity throughout a catchment;
- bank stability;
- stream processes; and
- water quality.
- Identify critically fragmented riparian corridors for rehabilitation.
- Provide extension and encourage the community to implement land management techniques that rehabilitate riparian habitat corridors such as:
- riparian fencing;
- rotation wet season spelling; and
- planting vegetation.
- Maintain existing partnerships and networks between parties undertaking works and rehabilitative measures within waterways including landholders, government, river improvement trusts, NRM groups, researchers and industry.
- Include appropriate watercourse buffers in land use planning and development design decisions.
Objective 6 – Natural wetlands’ conservation values and ecological processes are protected, including their water quality, aquatic and terrestrial habitat, naturally-occurring aquatic species and hydrological cycles.
- Identify priority systems and, where required, implement waterway/wetland rehabilitation/conservation programmes.
- Provide extension and encourage the community to employ land management techniques that improve wetland ecosystem processes and habitat such as:
- maintaining a buffer;
- water management techniques that allows for natural seasonal drying; and
- managing pest species within the wetland.
- Include appropriate wetland buffers in land use planning and development design decisions.
- Remove unnecessary barriers to allow natural flow regimes.
- Conduct fishway and fish passage design, monitoring and rehabilitation to ensure native fish can move along watercourses and between freshwater wetlands and lagoons.
- Re-establish connections between freshwater wetlands and lagoons so they are able to support native aquatic species expected for that system.
- Identify groundwater-dependent ecosystems and determine their requirements to maintain their health and sustainability.
- Manage the Bowling Green Bay wetland in a way that maintains its ecological character.
Objective 7 – Estuarine, coastal and Great Barrier Reef environments (and the quality of water entering these environments), are improved through enhanced land and coastal marine management practices.
- Implement strategies to improve the ecosystem processes, connectivity and condition of estuarine, coastal and marine environments, including:
- identifying and rehabilitating priority areas where connectivity between fragmented coastal and marine ecosystems can be achieved;
- removing impediments (either by complete removal, or modifying structures) between marine and freshwater environments;
- removing and monitoring marine debris, and implementing appropriate strategies to prevent it;
- promoting land and water techniques that improve the quality of water entering coastal and marine environments;
- closely managing activities that occur in marine environments and directly impact the GBR, including dredging, ship movements and fishing;
- rehabilitating degraded marine ecosystems; and
- quantifying and protecting Indigenous cultural fishing.
- Promote opportunities and support the community, including schools, businesses and councils, to build capacity to protect reef-connected ecosystems. For example: the ‘Reef Guardians’ programme and the Australian Marine Debris Initiative.
- Specify benchmarks for the maintenance, monitoring and improvement of coastal and marine assets in statutory planning instruments.
- Facilitate agreements with communities and local governments to effectively maintain natural coastal processes and coastal zones, by maintaining connectivity, and buffering from inappropriate land use through land tenure options, as well as planning and development decisions.
By or before 2026:
- a Conservation Action Plan (CAP) for our region is established and identified targets are achieved;
- connectivity of functioning biodiversity areas has continually improved/been maintained by a network of conservation parks/reserves and remnant habitat areas on freehold and leasehold land;
- there is a reduced impact of pest plant and animal species in priority areas as identified through the Regional Pest Management Strategy.
The Reef Plan 2050 targets are achieved.