Significant areas of remnant vegetation on Western’s campuses include approximately 500 ha of Cumberland Plain Woodland on Hawkesbury campus, natural and cultural heritage associated with Vineyard Creek on Parramatta campus, and other valuable remnants on Kingswood and Campbelltown campuses. These remnants are habitat to some of the most vulnerable and endangered fauna and flora in NSW.
Key Strategies Emerging
Ecosystem health is reliant on the maintenance of critical habitat both for flora and fauna.
Bush regeneration is a primary strategy across the campuses to ensure this occurs. Bushfire management is also key in controlling weeds and the recovery of native species in large remnants such as Hawkesbury.
An innovative approach underway for Hawkesbury campus is a Biodiversity Stewardship site, being established in partnership with the NSW Biodiversity Conservation Trust (opens in a new window).
Teaching, research and engagement are also key strategies and examples include:
- Bushland at Hawkesbury campus is used for world leading research by Hawkesbury Institute for Environment (opens in a new window) (HIE) such as the EucFACE site
- Vineyard Creek on Parramatta has significant natural and Indigenous cultural values, with the area developing as a Living Lab as well as community engagement such as annual Clean Up campaign days.
Management Initiatives Underway
Management initiatives underway include:
- Ecological assessment and credit identification for a Biodiversity Stewardship site on Hawkesbury.
- Bushfire preparedness, planning and hazard reduction / ecological burns undertaken at Hawkesbury with NSW Rural Fire Service.
- Bush regeneration activities across all remnant areas over the past years, with a current focus guided by Bushland Management Strategy (PDF, 5828.1 KB) (opens in a new window) on Vineyard Creek, Parramatta campus.
Related Living Lab Initiatives
Compliance Requirements and Risk
Western is a named stakeholder in the Cumberland Plain Recovery Plan (opens in a new window), with management activities undertaken in a manner with State Threatened Species and Commonwealth Biodiversity regulations.
Risks associated with not managing these remnants includes a loss of ecological integrity from ecologically threatening processes (e.g. weed and feral animal invasion), along with threats to research and public infrastructure assets from uncontrolled bushfire.
Trends and Interdependencies
Management activities at all sites has been progressively underway for a number of years, with Vineyard Creek the most recent focus of primary bush regeneration.
Climate change implications for Western Sydney clearly indicate projected increases in bushfire risk, potentially impacting both asset protection and ecological integrity.
|2020||Biodiversity Stewardship, Hawkesbury campus; vegetation management plans for other remnants|
|2025||100% implementation of vegetation management plans|
|2030||Continued management of natural heritage|
Initiatives and Case Studies
Pilot Biodiversity Stewardship Site
Negotiations are underway with the NSW Biodiversity Conservation Trust (opens in a new window) to establish a Biodiversity Stewardship Site in the Cumberland Plain Woodlands of the campus.
Ecological assessments have been undertaken along with identifying management actions, to inform formal agreements which are under development.
Vineyard Creek, Parramatta
Protected between an easement and the Rydalmere light industrial area, Vineyard Creek is a significant area of natural and cultural heritage. Within a transition of threatened ecological communities, examples remain of the original riparian communities of River Peppermint (E.elata).
Habitat supports species including the original Burramatta eels, whose lifecycle takes them to the Coral Sea and back.
Current efforts include bush regeneration activities guided by Bushland Management Strategy (PDF, 5828.1 KB) (opens in a new window), and Living Lab engagement with Communications and Environmental Education students.
Hawkesbury Bushfire Mitigation
Hawkesbury campus has been a major focus for bushfire mitigation through the efforts of the Hawkesbury Bushfire Unit (BFU). Developed to help protect the EucFACE (opens in a new window) site for critical research, the BFU comprises technical, management and security staff on site.
Coordinating with the Rural Fire Service (opens in a new window), the BFU have equipment and procedures for preparedness, and have undertaken hazard reduction burns and live fire responses.