Our Plan for the Southern Tablelands

Our Local Landscape is renowned for its diversity, high agricultural production, the magnificent upland rainforests and the diverse cultures.

Much of our community is active and engaged but more awareness of the natural values of the region is needed. By working together with all our local partners, we can identify important corridors between forest fragments and manage them, as well as look after our important waterways and make sure our farmlands remain productive. We can help build a healthy landscape.

Our three top priorities

1. Community Values

We will work to ensure our Southern Tablelands community understands and appreciates the environmental, cultural, economic and recreational values of our natural areas.

Many of us are actively involved in community groups; we see first-hand how effective well-resourced and well-informed community groups are and how much they can achieve. Community groups fill a vital role in environmental management and education in our Local Landscape.

Increasing community involvement helps to raise awareness of the environment and natural areas, so it’s important our community groups remain strong and effective.

We have a lot of evidence showing the many benefits of good environmental management, but we need to make sure this message is reaching others within the community. Using a positive approach with incentives, education and marketing can help spread the message further!

“Without interaction / education, we don’t tend to value the importance of the natural environment.”

Examples of our priority actions include:

• Improve nature-based recreational opportunities within local towns.
• Deliver programs through the community and schools to build understanding about the ecological, economic, cultural and recreational values of natural areas.
• Support Traditional Owners to increase NRM involvement and improve knowledge and understanding of cultural NRM values.

2. Biodiversity

We will increase the condition and connectivity of our forests to build resilience against threats, including climate change.

While our Local Landscape is renowned for its amazing upland forest communities and there are large areas of forest protected in National Parks and World Heritage Areas, these areas are not always connected to other forests and wildlife may be isolated in their own patch.

Research also tells us that many of our area’s forests and animals, like tree kangaroos and ringtail possums, will be affected by climate change and will require to move up in elevations in the future. We are fortunate to have information and scientific knowledge about this now, to allow it to be taken into account when planning restoration work.

Community groups in this Local Landscape fill a vital role in improving habitat connectivity and condition and we need to make sure they receive the necessary funding, skills development and recognition to enable them to continue and expand their excellent work.

Examples of our priority actions include:

• Broker partnerships to enable community groups to gain access to planning, research and funding to increase connectivity (focus on areas where fragments can be re-connected within 5-10 years).
• Protect, maintain and widen existing connectivity between forest patches.
• Broker information for landowners to support maintaining/building connectivity on farming land.

3. Water

We will enhance the quality of our water and the condition of our waterways.

Our region’s waterways are so important – they provide important freshwater habitat, they supply water to our towns and farms, they sustain our natural environments, they are focus points for recreation, there is a strong cultural connection by Traditional Owners to waterways and they all eventually flow into the Great Barrier Reef lagoon.

Our management along waterways and wetlands brings multiple benefits, making them an important focus for restoration efforts.

Examples of our priority actions include:

• Establish wide, well grassed farm drainage systems and detention basins in Spring Creek/Hallorans Hill areas.
• Investigate a range of water saving initiatives on rural and urban land.

Other priorities:

In addition, our community will strive for sustainable, diverse and resilient industries, to provide a more secure farming future with reduced environmental impacts.

For more detail on the priority actions identified by the community for our Local Landscape, click on this link.