With more than 2500 plant and animal species and 16 threatened ecological communities, the Macleay Valley is home to a unique and rich biodiversity.
To ensure this natural environment is properly managed and conserved for our future generations, Kempsey Shire Council is developing a draft Biodiversity Strategy.
A discussion paper has been released to give the community an opportunity to comment on planning for biodiversity conservation and management within the Kempsey Shire.
The feedback will be used to develop a strategy to guide growth and development in the Shire while protecting important biological diversity values, as identified as a priority in council's draft 2019-20 Operational Plan.
Council's Environmental Strategies Officer, Bill Larkin, said the community valued the protection of the natural environment as a high priority.
"Kempsey Shire Council recognises the importance of biodiversity and has a key role to play in ensuring that the environment is properly managed, developed, protected, restored, enhanced and conserved," he said.
"The draft Biodiversity Strategy will guide long-term planning and help to deliver a sustainable and resilient natural environment."
Council has identified key threats to biodiversity in the Kempsey Shire, including land clearing and agriculture impacts, development pressure through population growth, and climate change and rising sea levels.
A Biodiversity Strategy will set the direction and actions for managing a range of ecosystems, ecological communities and high value habitats throughout Kempsey Shire into the future.
"The strategies will help council to work with the community to protect the Shire's environment and ensure its natural biodiversity is healthy, valued and actively cared for," Mr Larkin said.
Council is liaising with key stakeholders to develop a draft Biodiversity Strategy, including NPWS, Macleay Landcare Network, local Dune Care groups, RMS, NSW
Department of Primary Industries, Office of Environment and Heritage, North Coast Local Land Service and Kempsey Local Aboriginal Lands Council.
"The Dunghutti people have had a long association and connection to the land within the Macleay Valley," Mr Larkin said.
"Biodiversity values within the Macleay Valley landscape are central to the Dunghutti peoples' spirituality, association of natural resource uses with food and medicines, caring for the land, passing on cultural knowledge and strengthening social bonds."
The Macleay Valley 2036 Community Strategic Plan recognises the relationship of biodiversity and the health and wellbeing of the Shire.
"The discussion paper is the first step towards a Biodiversity Strategy for Kempsey Shire and the community's feedback will help to ensure that the plan is effective in safeguarding our biodiversity and our productive environment into the future," Mr Larkin said.
To comment on the Kempsey Biodiversity Strategy discussion paper, complete the short online survey by Friday, June 14 on council's engagement website, Your Say Macleay, at: https://yoursay.macleay.nsw.gov.au/biodiversity-strategy
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