Enhanced mapping to inform local government decisions 

A partnership with Orange City Council (OCC) and local community groups to improve mapping of ecological assets present within the OCC Local Government Area 

Understanding potential impacts that can arise from development within local government areas (LGA) is a core tenet of the environmental impact assessment (EIA) process. Protection of biodiversity and adherence to Local Environment Plans (LEPs) and acts of legislation can only be achieved if Council staff are able to understand and consider potential impacts from a proposed development. Access to accurate spatial data and mapping resources showing the location of biodiversity assets with an LGA forms a critical component of this process.  

TEF worked in partnership with Orange City Council (OCC) to review and expand existing mapping data showing ecological assets, predominantly native vegetation, present within the OCC LGA. As part of Council’s revision to the 2020 LEP, specialists at TEF completed desktop analysis and detailed on-ground assessments along roadsides and waterways to ensure a higher degree of accuracy in the updated Terrestrial Biodiversity map layer. As a part of this process, TEF collaborated with local community groups to ensure that species records collated over time by dedicated citizen scientists could be incorporated into the updated mapping resources, making this data available and enabling better conservation outcomes. 

This project is an example of conservation in action, showing how a government authority can be supported to conserve and protect areas of native flora through the provision of accurate, user-friendly mapping tools that accurately reflect biodiversity assets present within the LGA. These mapping tools provide simple ‘triggers’ for non-environmental specialists to determine if further assessment and approval of a development application (DA) is required, allowing OCC’s planners to apply further logic and biodiversity constraints to development areas both at the DA and land use strategic planning stage.  Eventually the mapping is intended to form a statutory defence across the LGA. 

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