It’s no secret that the MidCoast is rich in natural treasures that provide many of us with a lifestyle that we love.

Our region contains important natural assets that support biodiversity, a term used to describe the variety of living things in the environment.

Our Biodiversity Framework 2021-2030 is a roadmap for managing the diverse natural heritage found across the region, and provides Council and the community with a single framework for a coordinated and strategic approach to managing biodiversity across the MidCoast. While plenty is already being done, it can be more effective if Council, community groups, business owners and individuals are all working to a consistent set of objectives, under an agreed “blue print”, which is what the Biodiversity Framework 2021-2030 document aims to deliver.

View the Biodiversity Framework 2021-2030 below

To view the Biodiversity Framework 2021-2030 document in full-screen in the interactive PDF viewer above, select the bracket icon at the bottom-right side the toolbar to enable full-screen.

If you are having trouble viewing the document in the interactive PDF viewer, you may also download the full Biodiversity Framework 2021-2030 in the Document library on this page.

Biodiversity Framework 2021-2030 - Key themes

Check out the key themes in the Biodiversity Framework 2021-2030

The biodiversity program as Section Two of the Biodiversity Framework 2021-2030 is built on six central themes, that were derived from consultation and reflect Council’s major activities, projects, responsibilities and tools related to biodiversity. Each theme has a set of tables that describes context and rationale, and list actions with timeframes.

To view these themes in more detail, please refer to Section Two - Biodiversity Program in the Biodiversity Framework 2021-2030 in the Document library.

  • Theme 1 - Engagement and Partnerships

    Building relationships, understanding and appreciation and working towards community stewardship of biodiversity and natural areas.

    Key areas of this theme include:

    • Community education and participation
    • Landholder engagement and incentives
    • Partnerships for biodiversity
    • Bushcare and Landcare support
  • Theme 2 - Reserves and Conservation Agreements

    Making progress to a comprehensive, adequate and representative reserve scheme with well-managed public and private protected areas.

    Key areas of this theme include:

    • Mapping and zoning protected areas
    • Securing land for reserves
    • Private land conservation
    • Indigenous Protected Areas

  • Theme 3 - Land Management

    Protecting and improving biodiversity values through on-ground work.

    Key areas of this theme include:

    • Strategic weed program Pest animal management program
    • Council bushland reserves management
    • Significant roadside areas program
    • Fish and wetland habitat programs
    • Biodiversity disaster response and resilience
    • Nature-based facilities
    • Fire management
  • Theme 4 - Science and Knowledge

    Obtaining data to fill knowledge gaps and ensure research is continuously improved to underpin sound decision making.

    Key areas of this theme include:

    • Understanding flora and fauna species diversity
    • Biodiversity research
    • Vegetation mapping and monitoring
    • Climate change adaptation
    • Mapping important biodiversity and ecosystem service value lands
    • Sub-catchment terrestrial landscape health reports
    • Climate change
    • Aboriginal cultural and community knowledge
  • Theme 5 - Strategic Planning and Policies

    Adopting strategic plans and policies to guide best-practice outcomes and to communicate with stakeholders.

    Key areas of this theme include:

    • Local Conservation Action Plans
    • Tops to Coast plan and mapping
    • Threatened biodiversity management guidelines
    • Coast and catchment management planning
  • Theme 6 - Land Use Planning and Development

    Protecting biodiversity through land use and development controls.

    Key areas of this theme include:

    • Land use planning
    • Biodiversity impact assessment (Development)
    • Biodiversity impact assessment (Council activities)
    • Development incentives for conservation
    • Greening Strategy


Consultation on draft document

During April-June 2021 we placed the draft Biodiversity Framework 2020-2030 on exhibition for our community to review, understand and provide feedback on.

During this period we talked to our community at a range of events and briefings, along with online surveys, quick polls and feedback.

The feedback demonstrated a very high level of community support for the adoption of a framework for biodiversity in the region.

A total of 97 percent of respondents said it was very important or important that Council manages biodiversity assets.

The main themes raised by the community during the consultation period included the following:

  • Funding for the implementation of the framework
  • Recognition of the seriousness of biodiversity decline
  • Need for greater controls for development

A summary of the feedback can be found in the Biodiversity Framework 2020-2030 - review of submissions document in the Document library.

Changes to the draft document

Based on the feedback a number of changes were made to the draft document, before it was adopted by the elected Council at their 28 July 2021 Ordinary Meeting.

These included commentary to recognise the framework does not impact on rural zonings, some changes to the structure of parts of the framework to make it more readable, and a number of amendments or additions to themes, activities and actions. These are outlined in the report to the 28 July 2021 Ordinary Meeting.

The Biodiversity Framework timeframe period has also been updated to 2021-2030 to reflect Council’s adoption at the 28 July 2021 meeting.

Previous engagement

In 2020 we conducted previous engagement with the local community to inform the draft Biodiversity Framework. Submissions closed on 20 November 2020.

The overall response from environment and interest groups, rural landholders and community was agreeance that:

  • We have a responsibility to look after nature and biodiversity for future generations
  • Nature and biodiversity are essential to the production of food, other products and clean air and water
  • Nature and biodiversity are important for tackling climate change
  • Nature and biodiversity are important for my personal recreation, relaxation and spiritual renewal
  • Whether I visit natural places or not, it is important for me to know nature and biodiversity is looked after.

  • Our community has told us they highly value the natural environment, the unique species and areas of International, National and State significance in our region. Some of our precious natural assets include:

    • Spectacular World Heritage listed Gondwanan Rainforests of Australia and the Myall Lakes National Park, an internationally-listed wetland.
    • Port Stephens - Great Lakes Marine Park, home to threatened species such as the grey nurse shark and green turtle.
    • Significant populations of the koala.
    • The Manning River helmeted turtle, renowned as Australia's most beautiful turtle. Its entire known range is confined to the Manning River Catchment.
    • The iconic and shy platypus, one of only two monotremes on the planet.
    • NSW's most important nesting site for the endangered little tern at the entrance to the Manning Estuary.
    • Migratory shorebirds such as the eastern curlew, the largest migratory shorebird in the world.
    • The maternity camp of vulnerable grey-headed flying fox in a patch of Sub-tropical Lowland Rainforest (EEC) at Wingham Brush.
    • State-listed threatened ecological communities including littoral rainforest, coastal saltmarsh, swamp sclerophyll forest on coastal floodplains and lowland rainforest.
    • The largest area of seagrass in any estuary in NSW in Wallis Lake.

    Let's all work together to conserve this incredible diversity of plants, wildlife and natural habitats in our region.

    The biodiversity of the MidCoast region has important environmental, economic, social and intrinsic value. Our well-being, lifestyle and economy is connected to the health of the natural environment and the plants and animals within it.

    Benefits of biodiversity to the MidCoast region include:

    Aboriginal connection: For the Biripi and Worimi Aboriginal people, ecologically healthy Country is integral with identity, spiritual and cultural belonging, and in some cases livelihoods.

    Well-being: Experiencing nature contributes to physical and mental health.

    Amenity: Access to nature contributes to the liveability of communities.

    Water supply: Healthy catchments deliver clean water for drinking, farming and other uses.

    Tourism: Nature-based tourism is a key driver of the MidCoast economy.

    Primary production: Biodiversity provides ecosystem services such as nutrient-cycling, soil formation, erosion control, water purification and pollination that help support agriculture, fisheries and forestry.

    Resilience and adaptation: Biodiverse habitats protect shorelines, store floodwaters and sequester carbon to mitigate climate change risks and natural disasters.

    With so many benefits, we can’t afford to lose the ecosystem services biodiversity provides.

    Human activities have pushed biodiversity and natural ecological systems into decline. Habitat loss, land clearing, degradation and fragmentation, invasive plants and animals and the impacts of climate change are just some of the pressures on biodiversity. We have a collective responsibility to halt this decline in the MidCoast region.

    Australia has a poor track record when it comes to biodiversity loss, ranked second in the world for ongoing species extinction.

    The MidCoast region is blessed with large healthy natural areas and high levels of biodiversity. However, there are significant threats which we need to manage more effectively. These include:

    • Land clearing and fragmentation
    • Habitat degradation
    • Introduced plants, pest animals and disease
    • Altered fire and hydrological regimes
    • Pollution from diffuse-source run-off
    • Human impacts
    • Changing climate

    We can all take steps to manage these threats and halt the decline of biodiversity.

    Biodiversity has intrinsic value and plays a vital role in supporting the MidCoast region community’s socioeconomic and cultural well-being. Appreciating the value of healthy habitats, the MidCoast community nominated protection of the natural environment as one of five core values in the inaugural MidCoast Community Strategic Plan in 2016.

    To achieve our community’s vision, we are preparing a Biodiversity Framework which will help us work with the community to manage, conserve and restore ecosystem health and biodiversity in our region. Other government agencies and community members are vital to this effort and we invite you to partner with us for biodiversity conservation.

    Applying clear and consistent objectives for biodiversity will help us meet our statutory responsibilities and implement actions to halt the decline of biodiversity in the region.

    The Biodiversity Framework will have six themes:

    Strategic Planning and Policies

    Adopting strategic plans and policies to guide best-practice and communicate with stakeholders.

    Land Use Planning and Development

    Protecting biodiversity through land use and development controls.

    Reserves and Conservation Agreements

    Helping achieve well-managed public and private conservation areas.

    Land Management

    Protecting and improving biodiversity values through on-ground work.

    Engagement and Partnerships

    Building relationships, supporting community stewardship.

    Science and Knowledge

    Building scientific knowledge for evidence-based management.