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Lachlan region Roadside Vegetation Management Plan project pays off

Central Tablelands Local Land Services ( and formerly the Lachlan Catchment Management Authority) has worked with local Councils since 2008 to prepare and implement detailed Roadside Vegetation Management Plans (RVMPs). 

The Plans assess the biodiversity value of roadside patches of remnant native vegetation on Council land, and provide guidance on the management of these important areas of bushland. 

Twelve local Councils were involved in the project, including Bland, Blayney, Boorowa, Cabonne, Carathool, Cowra, Forbes, Lachlan, Parkes, Temora, Young, and Weddin. 

Central Tablelands Local Land Services General Manager, Peter Sparkes, says having an RVMP strategy in place highlights the importance of maintaining the roadside environment, while also dealing with competing demands such as road construction, recreational use, bushfire management, weed control, and road safety.

"This is particularly important when areas of high conservation value have been identified, and road construction and maintenance need to be carried out using environmentally sensitive and sustainable practices," said Mr Sparkes.

"The plans help bring the community and relevant stakeholders on board and also create a clear vision for engineers, and environmental and operational staff." 

There is a heavy burden of compliance on Local Government with regard to the management of roadside vegetation, with at least 16 different Commonwealth and State legal Acts pertaining to this issue. 

"It's not an easy job to sift through the multiple Acts that impose rules and regulations on how Councils manage, maintain and preserve the large network of roadside reserves and crown land, so it's been very helpful to have the support of the CMA/Local Land Services to work with us on developing these plans," said Brian Parker from Blayney Shire Council.

"Now that Council has an active RVMP we have saved money by implementing work practices that also achieve better environmental outcomes."

"Using the RMVP, we're able to confidently address road safety issues during road maintenance and reconstruction while preserving important remnant vegetation."

"The field guides that were produced as part of the RVMP project and the training on ground staff received are also great tools for the ongoing protection of our natural assets," said Mr Parker. 

The Lachlan CMA took an active role in supporting Councils by facilitating a co-ordinated approach to roadside environmental management and consistent roadside vegetation mapping throughout the Catchment. 

The RVMP project first began in 2008, when Lachlan CMA pooled funds from seven councils to develop a Roadside Vegetation Management Plan Template. 

The Lachlan CMA also purchased a Trimble GPS unit with programmed vegetation ID drop down menus to assist councils in using the template when assessing and mapping vegetation to create consistent RVMPs.

"From 2008-2011 the Lachlan CMA funded all councils in the catchment to employ consultants to complete Biodiversity Audits of council owned and managed land, to underpin better land use strategies and the development of broader Local Environment Plans (LEP)," said Central Tablelands Senior Lands Services Officer, Casey Proctor. 

"Then in 2012 we organised a series of Roadside Management training workshops to help councils start the process of developing and implementing Roadside Vegetation Management Plans (RVMPs)." 

"At this time, the Lachlan CMA was the only funding source providing support to councils to develop or update their Roadside Vegetation Management Plans," said Mr Proctor. 

Central Tablelands Local Lands Services brought the project to a conclusion, employing a single consultant to work with smaller councils to finalise their RVMP's and maintain consistency in assessment and mapping across the region.

All twelve of the councils involved in the project now have RVMPs in operation, ensuring the protection and preservation of valuable bushland and native plant species that line the vast network of public roads across the Lachlan region. 

For more information contact Casey Proctor on 02 6341 9318, or email casey.proctor@lls.nsw.gov.au