The total number of assets listed under the heading ‘Ecological’ in the asset database for the PAE of the Hunter subregion on 20 November 2015 is 1836 (Table 8). Assets fall within three subgroups and seven classes. As described in Section 18.104.22.168, all landscape features such as aquifers, rivers, lagoons, lakes, springs and wetlands, and the habitats dependent on them, are inherently water dependent; hence, all assets in the subgroups ‘Surface water feature’ and ‘Groundwater feature (subsurface)’ are included in the water-dependent asset register. Selected ‘Surface water feature’ assets are illustrated in Figure 4 and Figure 5 .
Of assets in the ‘Vegetation’ subgroup, 234 assets are groundwater-dependent ecosystems (GDE) derived from the National atlas of groundwater dependent ecosystems (GDE Atlas; Bureau of Meteorology, Dataset 1). Of these, 34 are wetlands, 36 are rivers and 4 are springs and are classified as surface GDEs. All springs, wetlands and rivers are water dependent and many of these are replicated in other classes (for example ‘Ginger Beer Springs’). Four assets named as ‘ecosystems’ and 156 assets named as ‘vegetation types’ are classified as subsurface GDEs. Vegetation types that are identified within the database as ‘known GDEs’ or having a moderate-to-high or high probability of being a GDE have been classified as water dependent. Only 99 assets from the GDE Atlas had a less than moderate-to-high probability of being water dependent and were excluded. A further 452 vegetation communities and wetlands were supplied as assets by the NSW Office of Water (Figure 6) based on mapping of vegetation with a high probability of groundwater interaction (NSW Department of Primary Industries, Dataset 2). All are assumed to be water dependent having already passed a test for high probability of groundwater interaction prior to their inclusion in the NSW GDE Atlas.
The ‘Habitat (potential species distribution)’ asset class contains 921 assets from various sources (Table 8), most of which (835) are water dependent based on the criteria given in Section 22.214.171.124. Within the ‘Habitat (potential species distribution)’ asset class are 258 Geofabric (the Australian Hydrological Geospatial Fabric) river basins containing habitat and streams that were supplied from the former Hunter-Central Rivers Catchment Management Authority (CMA), and a further 16 river basins from the Namoi CMA (Dataset 3). All catchments are water dependent, along with all assets from Department of Primary Industries (Dataset 4), Australian Government Department of the Environment (Dataset 5, Dataset 6) and NSW Department of Environment Climate Change and Water (DECCW) (Dataset 7, Dataset 8). Most of the assets from Birds Australia (Dataset 9), Australian Government Department of the Environment (Dataset 10), DECCW (Dataset 11, Dataset 13, Dataset 15, Dataset 16, Dataset 17) and Office of Environment and Heritage (Dataset 12, Dataset 14) are also judged to be water dependent.
Only two threatened or endangered ecological communities (Office of Environment and Heritage Dataset 18, Dataset 19, Dataset 20; Australian Government Department of the Environment, Dataset 21) are not water dependent: ‘Upland Basalt Eucalypt Forests of the Sydney Basin Bioregion Threatened Ecological Community’ and ‘Lower Hunter Spotted Gum Forest Endangered Ecological Community EEC 2319’. Assets sourced from Birds Australia Important Bird Areas (IBA), CAPAD and Threatened Ecological Communities (TEC) are illustrated in Figure 7. Assets from DECCW (Dataset 11, Dataset 12, Dataset 13, Dataset 14, Dataset 15, Dataset 16, Dataset 17) and Office of Environment and Heritage (Dataset 18, Dataset 19, Dataset 20) are not presented.
Of the 146 potential habitat distributions for EPBC-listed species (i.e. under the Commonwealth’s Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999) identified within the Hunter PAE, 105 are water dependent based on descriptions of their habitat and only 41 are judged to not be water dependent because their habitats lacked demonstrated water dependency. All fish (including sharks) and frogs were judged to be water dependent. Fifty-seven of 59 birds, 7 of 9 mammals, 5 of 8 reptiles and 29 of 63 plants were judged to be water dependent. Owing to the large number of these assets and their overlap, they are not presented in map form.
Table 8 Total ecological assets and water-dependent ecological assets in the preliminary assessment extent (PAE) of the Hunter subregion
Includes the Ramsar-listed Kooragang Nature Reserve and Hunter Wetlands Centre which together comprise the Hunter Estuary Wetlands Ramsar site.
Data: Australian Government Department of the Environment (Dataset 3, Dataset 6); NSW Department of Environment Climate Change and Water (DECCW) (Dataset 7). Note that there is substantial overlap between the three data sources.
Data: Australian Government Department of the Environment (Dataset 3)
Vegetation types are grouped according to vegetation formation (Keith 2006). Note that within this classification the formation ‘Forested wetlands’ includes Eastern riverine forests.
Data: NSW Department of Primary Industries (Office of Water) (Dataset 2)
Data: Birds Australia (Dataset 9); Australian Government Department of the Environment (Dataset 10); NSW Department of Environment Climate Change and Water (DECCW) (Dataset 11, Dataset 13, Dataset 15, Dataset 16); Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) (Dataset 12, Dataset 14, Dataset 18, Dataset 19, Dataset 20)
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- 1.3.1 Methods
- 1.3.2 Ecological assets
- 1.3.3 Economic assets
- 1.3.4 Sociocultural assets
- Contributors to the Technical Programme
- About this technical product