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Proposed Conservation Agreement for Porters Creek Wetland

Proposed Conservation Agreement for Porters Creek Wetland

Proposed Conservation Agreement for Porters Creek Wetland
This public exhibition has now concluded.

Central Coast Council is seeking feedback on a proposed Conservation Agreement Made under the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 (NSW) for the Porters Creek Wetland Conservation Area.

Porters Creek Wetland is the largest remaining freshwater wetland on the Central Coast and is located in the suburbs of Warnervale and Wyong. The wetland filters stormwater from the catchment, and acts as a kidney for Tuggerah Lakes. It is also significant for flood mitigation for the lower Wyong River.

The proposed Conservation Agreement covers Council-own land and provides permanent legal protection for the Conservation Area, which means that it cannot be developed or modified in ways that detract from the biodiversity values.

Have your say

We wanted your feedback on the following before formalising the Agreement with the Biodiversity Conservation Trust:

  • Does the map of the area covered by the agreement need to be adjusted? View the map 
    Note: The detailed maps show the infrastructure that has been considered in identifying the area for conservation and the assets that are identified in the agreement for on-going management and maintenance.
  • Are there any other considerations in addition to what is shown on the map?

Feedback on the proposal was accepted between 1 March and 29 March 2021.

  • by email (preferred) ask@centralcoast.nsw.gov.au (Subject line: Porters Creek Wetland Conservation Agreement), or
  • by post PO Box 20, Wyong NSW 2259.

When providing feedback to Council your attention is drawn to the provisions of the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 which allows for possible access to certain public and personal documentation. View our privacy statement.
 

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Name
Rochelle Lawson, Senior Ecologist

Frequently asked questions

Where is Porters Creek Wetland?

Porters Creek Wetland, the largest remaining freshwater wetland on the Central Coast, is located in the suburbs of Warnervale and Wyong. It is bounded by the M1, Sparks Road, the Main Northern Railway and Wyong River. Contributing to the wetland are Porters Creek, Buttonderry Creek and Woongarrah Creek. It drains to the Wyong River, which makes its way to the Tuggerah Lakes at Tacoma. As a filter of stormwater from the catchment, it acts as a kidney for Tuggerah Lakes. It is also significant for flood mitigation for the lower Wyong River.

Porters Creek Wetland is significant due to its size (700 hectares), its rare and endangered swamp forest communities and its high species diversity including a number of threatened flora and fauna species. It includes five Endangered Ecological Communities listed under the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 and has high conservation value. The Aboriginal Heritage Information Management System register indicates that there are 15 known Aboriginal Places on, or near, the Conservation Area.

What is a Conservation Agreement?

Under the Biodiversity Conservation Trust’s Conservation Partners Program, landholders are encouraged to participate in land conservation. Landholders wishing to permanently protect and conserve biodiversity on their land can apply to enter an in-perpetuity Conservation Agreement at any time. An in-perpetuity Conservation Agreement is a voluntary agreement between the landholder (in this case Council) and the BCT to conserve and manage biodiversity. The agreement is registered on the land title and is binding on subsequent landholders. Conservation agreements are suitable for lands that are of high conservation value.

What are the benefits of a Conservation Agreement?

The Conservation Agreement provides permanent legal protection for the Conservation Area, which means that it cannot be developed or modified in ways that detract from the biodiversity values.  Council’s on-going maintenance through appropriate weed removal and revegetation will improve the biodiversity values of the wetland over time and provide the wetland with better resilience against pressures from the surrounding catchment. If the Council-owned land was ever sold in the future, the Conservation Agreement protections would still remain on the land. The land is currently classified Operational under the Local Government Act, which is unusual for a conservation area. However, the Conservation Agreement offers far more secure protection than land classification does.

Will it cost Council money?

No. A Conservation Agreement does not cost anything to set up. The agreement does not obligate Council to spend money on the reserve. Council’s commitment to protecting the wetland puts us in a better position to apply for grant funding for land management activities.
 

Is there public access to the conservation area?

The wetland itself is very difficult to access on foot due to the nature of the waterlogged soil and thick vegetation. Currently, there are no recreational opportunities in the wetland. However, there is an Environmental Volunteers group actively restoring important threatened species habitat. To find out how to get involved in bush regeneration activities, contact environmentalvoluteering@centralcoast.nsw.gov.au

Does the Conservation Agreement change anything?

The legal agreement specifies that the landowner may not carry out prohibited activities that may damage the conservation area. The owner may, but is not obliged to, carry out the recommended management actions set out in the agreement. These are things such as bush regeneration, not allowing stock to graze, maintaining fencing in working order and feral animal control. As these are things that Council is currently doing, there is no change to the management of the conservation area. 

The agreement makes allowances for current and planned infrastructure, such as the proposed Link Road, the Mardi to Warnervale pipeline, the aircraft landing area, gas, water and sewer lines, and electricity easements. Operations and maintenance for this infrastructure is not affected by the Conservation Agreement as these areas are excluded from the conservation area. There are already legal protections in place for the wetland, such as the Coastal Management State Environmental Planning Policy, that limit the impacts from development and infrastructure on the sensitive ecology of the wetland. The proposed Conservation Agreement adds a further layer of protection under the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016

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