The Sydney Basin bioregion is one of the most biodiverse in Australia. Its biodiversity is protected through a range of State and Commonwealth legislation. Over 5,200 square kilometres of land in the Greater Sydney Region, containing many areas of high environmental value, are protected in national parks and reserves primarily in the Protected Natural Area (refer to Figure 49).
As Greater Sydney has grown and changed, impacts on biodiversity have been managed through a range of approaches. The Office of Environment and Heritage continually updates information on areas of high environmental value. The Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 seeks to avoid or minimise impacts on biodiversity through the biodiversity certification of land. The Act includes the concept of strategic biodiversity certification, which provides tools for landscape-scale conservation planning. Biodiversity offsets is one such tool.
With the expansion of the urban footprint, and major transport infrastructure like the Outer Sydney Orbital and the Western Sydney Airport, there will be continuing demand for offset sites where biodiversity can be protected.
Providing incentives for landowners in the Metropolitan Rural Area to protect and enhance the environmental values of their land and connect fragmented areas of bushland can deliver better outcomes for biodiversity and greater opportunities to create biodiversity offsets (refer to Objective 29).
To support investment in biodiversity, the Office of Environment and Heritage has produced the Cumberland subregion Biodiversity Investment Opportunities Map to direct funding and investment in biodiversity to locations for the greatest benefit.
Urban bushland, particularly bushland on public land, will be protected and managed so that it continues to provide clean air and water, cooler urban environments and local habitat. Managing the impacts of urban development at the urbanbushland interface can help reduce the degradation of bushland caused by edge-effect impacts, including stormwater runoff, weeds, domestic pets and unmanaged or informal recreation trails.
In the Western Parkland City, urban bushland including degraded or remnant vegetation should be considered for incorporation into the planning and design of new neighbourhoods, and where possible be maintained on public land as part of the Greater Sydney Green Grid and for urban tree canopy.
The relationship of riparian vegetation, habitat and waterways is important and multifaceted in that it also provides water quality and amenity outcomes. Achieving positive outcomes for biodiversity and waterway health can be more challenging when riparian corridors are in fragmented private ownership. Public ownership and maintenance of riparian corridors improves the management of habitat, vegetation and waterway health.
Across Greater Sydney, councils are working together to map opportunities to restore and reconnect areas of habitat in established urban areas. Selected species of trees for parks and street planting in targeted areas supports the movement of wildlife and help strengthen connections between areas of habitat.