State of the Environment Report title
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2004 Report


icon for biodiversity Issue: Conserving biodiversity

This issue is discussed for these areas:  

What does the council area have?

Queanbeyan City Council Area has a relatively low biodiversity—only six different vegetation types have been mapped there, and approximately 520 plant species (native and introduced), 79 bird species, four fish species, 38 mammal species, 26 reptile species and 10 amphibian species have been recorded there.

Photograph of Mistletoe on Manna Gum, Eucalyptus viminalis; Credit: Rebecca Hall

Mistletoe on Manna Gum
Eucalyptus viminalis

Photograph of Button Wrinklewort, Rutidosis leptorrhynchoides; Credit: John Briggs

Button Wrinklewort
Rutidosis leptorrhynchoides

Bushland comprises some 17% of the council area, while land under some form of conservation reserve comprises approximately 12% of the area.

The council area contains occurrences of two endangered ecological communities, and populations of six plant and 20 animal species that are vulnerable or endangered nationally and/or in New South Wales. An additional 11 plant species and 15 animal species listed as vulnerable or endangered are also predicted to occur in the council area.

What has changed?

See these indicator results for more detail: | Aquatic macroinvertebratesEcological communities | Native species | Pest plants | Riparian condition |

Insufficient data were available to assess many aspects of the council area's biodiversity during the reporting period. The major data gaps included changes in species populations and abundance, changes in aquatic macroinvertebrates, changes in the condition of terrestrial and riparian ecosystems, and changes in the distribution and abundance of the major pest plant speciesThe number of ecological communities and species present in the council area that are listed as vulnerable or endangered increased. Although this will assist Council further in focusing conservation efforts in the future, it demonstrates the continued pressure the natural environment is under within the region.

Queanbeyan City Council Area has been one of the fastest growing local government areas in NSW for some time. Population increases and the resulting demand for urban development within the council area during the reporting period placed some pressure on native species and communities. Disturbances such as development, drought and weed invasion led to further degradation or loss of ecological communities or habitats of native species.

Council, individuals and community groups undertook a variety of programs and projects to enhance and protect biodiversity within the council area.

More threatened species and communities

During the current reporting period:

The 'pressure points'

See these indicator results for more detail: | Pest animals | Pest plants | Population | Riparian condition | Weather |

Protecting and enhancing biodiversity

See these indicator results for more detail: Ecological communities | Fire | Landuse | Native species | Pest animals | Riparian condition |

The natural environment maintains many essential functions that form the foundation of a healthy and sustainable environment. These are often called 'ecosystem services' and include air and water purification, waste detoxification and decomposition, crop and natural vegetation pollination, dispersal of seeds and nutrients and regulation of climate. Local councils are in a prime position to take a leading role in maintaining these vital ecosystem services (see The Biodiversity Toolbox for Local Government).

A range of activities in the council area during the reporting period were aimed at improving the condition of native ecosystems and the habitat of native species or reducing the pressures on them.

The future—what does this mean for Council?

Ongoing population growth in Queanbeyan City Council Area is likely to see continued expansion of urban and rural residential development. This will place further pressure on terrestrial and aquatic native species and ecosystems, including endangered ecological communities and some endangered or vulnerable species. Urban expansion may also result in weed invasion into areas currently relatively weed free and increase runoff, erosion, sedimentation and excess nutrients entering waterways.

The continued lack of data to allow a full assessment of the council area's biodiversity status carries with it the risk that approved development proposals may result in adverse impacts on the area's native plants, animals and ecosystems. Lack of monitoring of native species, populations and communities within the council area may also hamper conservation efforts, as impacts from urban and rural development and other pressures (e.g. fire, drought, weed invasion) cannot be determined and remediation measures cannot be planned. Monitoring is also essential to determine whether environmental plans and strategies and on-ground management projects are achieving the desired biodiversity outcomes.

Council needs to maintain appropriate effort and resources in the following areas of its environmental management.