Conservation Agreements in the Kanangra-Boyd to Wyangala Link
Conservation Agreements are part of the NPWS Conservation Partners Program and is one of a range of options available to landholders wanting to be involved in conservation. These include Conservation Agreements, Wildlife Refuges, Land for Wildlife and other options that support conservation on private and public land.
What is the Conservation Partners Program?
National Parks have been established over large areas of our natural environment, but for many reasons such conservation reserves are unable to protect all of NSW’s significant flora and fauna. The fact is that many ecological communities, including important plants and animals, are found only on private land. The Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) therefore recognises that working with private landholders is critical if our State’s biodiversity is to be safe-guarded. Accordingly, the Conservation Partners Program enables landholders to establish Conservation Agreements or Wildlife Refuges on their property.
What is a Conservation Agreement?
A Conservation Agreement is a joint agreement between landholders and the Minister for the Environment. The agreement provides permanent protection for the special features of your land and is voluntary. The area under the agreement is registered on the title of the land, ensuring that, if the land is sold, the agreement and management requirements remain in place.
A Conservation Agreement:
- enables the land to be conserved permanently while the landholder retains management and ownership
- ensures in-perpetuity protection of the ecological values of the property
- provides exemption from rates and land tax
- may be eligible for funding and grants to assist management
Who can enter into a Conservation Agreement?
A Conservation Agreement is most suited to people who:
- have special features including native vegetation, wildlife habitat, Aboriginal sites and historic places on their property
- want their investment in the conservation of the area to be protected after they leave the property.
What is the process for applying for a Conservation Agreement?
As a Conservation Agreement met Jan’s aspirations and objectives for managing her property, she contacted Conservation Partners Program to put in an application. An officer from OEH visited Bannaby to make an assessment of the ecological and cultural heritage values of Jan’s property and to discuss her plans for management. The assessment found that the property met the criteria for inclusion as a Conservation Agreement as it contained habitat suitable for thirteen Threatened Species of fauna and had good connectivity to adjacent bushland areas. The next step was the development of a negotiated draft agreement based on the established conservation principles required by the Minister and Jan’s desired use of the property. After several drafts, the final Conservation Agreement was produced.
At this point landholders may wish to have the document checked by their own solicitor. If the Conservation Agreement proceeds to final signing, these legal fees are reimbursed.
As the Conservation Agreement is attached to the title of the land, surveyors are engaged (at the expense of OEH) to survey the area under conservation so that the details can be recorded by the NSW Land and Property Information.
Case Study: Jan Solomon, Bannaby
Like many rural properties, Jan Solomon’s land at Bannaby was once partially cleared to allow for grazing, but the steeper hills considered unsuitable for agriculture were left alone and so still retained some original bushland. With an interest in native fauna, Jan observed how many different species of animals either lived within or regularly passed through her land as they moved along the forest corridor which stretched across the landscape.
Looking at her property as a whole, Jan understood that just as grazing land needed to be properly managed for maintain production, so the bushland remnants needed to be managed to protect ecological values. Jan was quite willing to invest time, energy and money into looking after the wildlife habitat on her land, but there were some questions in her mind.
What kinds of assistance and support are available for a landholder wanting to conserve and protect good quality bushland and habitat on their property? After years of work to improve the ecological values of the property, can there be any certainty that future landholders will have the same priorities for management?
Through contacts with Landcare and other government agencies, Jan heard about the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage’s Conservation Partners Program which provides the opportunity to protect and conserve significant natural and cultural heritage values on private and non-reserved public lands
For further information or to apply for a Conservation Agreement, contact:
Conservation Partners Program
Phone: 02 9995 6768
The document Conservation Partnerships – a guide for landholders also contains detailed information.
Land For Wildlife
Landholders wishing to protect and manage wildlife on their property but without entering into an in-perpetuity agreement attached to the title of the land may consider the options of a Wildlife refuge or Land for Wildlife /Property registration.