Ecological Values of CSIRO Ginninderra Field Station Report
As we have discussed with many members of the community at our drop-in sessions, retaining green spaces and corridors and protecting Ginninderra’s ecology are key considerations for our project planning.
As part of the process, we have continued to consult with a range of conservation groups through workshops and site tours.
In addition, Umwelt Pty Limited (Umwelt) was engaged by CSIRO to undertake an ecological survey for the Ginninderra Field Station to determine the extent of ecological values, including matters of national environmental significance (MNES) on the property.
We are pleased to release the results of the Ecological Values of CSIRO Ginninderra Research Station Report.
Key survey findings include:
- Umwelt described an area of 114.41 hectares of vegetation meeting the definition of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) listed Critically Endangered Ecological Community (CEEC) ‘White Box – Yellow Box – Blakely’s Red Gum Grassy Woodland and Derived Native Grassland’. An equivalent community is listed as Endangered in the ACT under the Nature Conservation Act 2014 (NC Act) as ‘Yellow Box/Red Gum Grassy Woodland’. Vegetation meeting the definition of these communities was further described in collaboration with CSIRO vegetation ecologists, resulting in a total of 112.78 hectares of this community being present in a range of condition classes.
- At least 32.86 hectares of confirmed golden sun moth habitat, a Critically Endangered species under the EPBC Act, and Endangered under the NC Act
- 95 species of birds, including three Vulnerable birds under the NC Act (little eagle – breeding, scarlet robin and white-winged triller), one migratory bird under the EPBC Act (Latham’s snipe)
- 12 species of reptiles, including striped legless lizard (Vulnerable under the EPBC Act and NC Act)
- 3 species of frogs (non-targeted list likely to be more)
- 243 plant taxa across 62 plant families, including 128 native taxa, 117 exotic taxa and 16 planted native taxa.
Umwelt has also prepared an Ecological Management Plan to assist CSIRO to maintain the condition of matters of national environmental significance (MNES) in identified areas.
Currently, CSIRO is working through options to maintain ecological values in the context of proposed urban development. This includes consideration as to how identified areas can be maintained or improved in an urban reserve context, ensuring connectivity between viable remnants to maintain diversity, and appropriate urban management actions to reduce impacts on biodiversity.
The area of land to be conserved for ecological values and persistence of species is over 30% of the site. This will provide valuable recreational and conservation areas, as well as preserve some of the views of the hills and ridges currently experienced by adjoining suburbs. These open spaces will also allow for wildlife to continue traversing the property.
If you have any questions or suggestions on the environmental management of Ginninderra, please contact us.
Taking on the liveability challenge
Canberra is one of the best places to live in the world. Our beautiful open spaces, incredible sense of community and cosmopolitan lifestyle – without the traffic congestion typical in most cities – has now been recognised on a national and international level.
In March 2014 Canberra was ranked number one in the OECD Regional Well-Being Report, scoring highly in eight of the nine indicators including safety, access to services, civic engagement, education, jobs, environment, income and health.
Since then Canberra has continued to perform well in global assessments of liveability, ranking number 28 on the Worldwide Quality of Living survey in February 2016. While this is an achievement to be celebrated, can we actually improve on this?
Shaping and improving our future cities and their liveability is the focus of a range of CSIRO research. Achieving such improvements in liveability is also a key aspiration for our Ginninderra project.
“Liveability is typically measured using various social and economic indicators such as income, wealth, education, health status, economic, community and recreational infrastructure, and access to opportunities and services,” according to CSIRO Social Scientist, Dr Rod McCrea.
There are also aesthetic and environmental elements that contribute to liveability, for example features such as: air and water quality, environmental outlook and setting, and even native plant and animal presence.
“So in every city we see this trade-off between benefits such as: access to employment, health and entertainment opportunities and services; and the negative consequences of urban growth such as: housing costs, overcrowding, congestion and environmental degradation.”
“Increases in travel-to-work time and declining access to affordable housing can be negative impacts of urban growth when it is not well planned and executed.”
Rod and colleagues Professors Rosemary Leonard and Greg Foliente recently conducted a Survey of Community Wellbeing and Responding to Change across six local government areas in Melbourne. The survey was prompted by Melbourne’s current challenge of managing urban growth while maintaining quality of life and promoting community wellbeing.
While focussed on Melbourne, the research highlights the importance of community resilience and adaptability to successfully maintaining liveability and wellbeing amid urban growth and change.
“The planning and engagement of a community in urban growth and having a shared sense that ‘this is our place and we are growing it together’ are vitally important,” Rosemary says.
It is still early days at Ginninderra, with many opportunities for the thoughts and ideas of the local community to be heard and included through the planning process.
A participatory process that nurtures the liveability needs of future residents as well as those of people living in the area now, will help to produce a good outcome.