Oxygen Farm Conservation Agreement
|Date: ||1 December 1995|
|Sub Category:||Conservation Agreement|
|State/Country:||New South Wales, Australia|
|Alternative Names:||Oxygen Farm Voluntary Conservation Agreement|
Oxygen Farm VCA
|Subject Matter:||Cultural Heritage | Education | Environmental Heritage | Land Management | Research | Land Use|
|Summary Information: |
|The Oxygen Farm Conservation Agreement (the Agreement) is a joint agreement between the New South Wales State Minister for the Environment and the Oxygen Farm Association. The Oxygen Farm covers an area of 373.5 hectares of Bulga Plateau escarpment to the south of Elands village. The Agreement is made under the terms of the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974 for the preservation of biodiversity and Aboriginal sites which may exist on the land (see s 69B). The Agreement provides that the land will be managed in accordance with a Plan of Management which includes matters relating to weed control, regeneration issues, feral animals, erosion control, grazing, buffer zones, gates and fencing, flora and fauna management, productive yield, aboriginal heritage, fire management, education, and development. The Agreement may provide for National Parks and Wildlife (NSW) assistance with fencing materials, plant and animal surveys, works on sites of Aboriginal significance and other specialist advice or assistance.|
|Detailed Information: |
|The purpose of the Agreement is to:|
· Preserve vegetation communities which are poorly conserved in the region and to manage their structure in a condition that maintains viable habitats for native species;
· Protect flora and fauna species of regional conservation significance;
· Protect scenic amenity;
· Protect water quality in the Bulga Creek catchment;
· Provide a resource for scientific research and education;
· Promote the concept of Oxygen Farming; and
· Preserve and respect Aboriginal sites which may exist on the land.
The Plan of Management, effective as of December 1995, sets out a range of specific management practices to be implemented by the owner and the Oxygen Farm Association. The owner undertakes to take all reasonable steps to control weeds where they risk degrading the ecological value of the land. The Oxygen Farm undertakes to identify weed occurrences and control weeds through non-chemical means. Regeneration issues will be addressed through a non-clearing and revegetation strategy in accordance with the Department of Land and Water Conservation, the Greater Taree City Council and the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS). The humane destruction of feral animals is also envisaged. It is proposed that erosion will be addressed through the installation of cross drains and the revegetation of certain areas. Grazing will not be permitted. Jointly managed buffer zones around the Oxygen Farm will be established in order to reduce environmental stress resulting from the activities of neighbouring properties and to enhance the conservation objectives of the reserve. Fencing and gates in some areas may be erected for the purposes of vehicular control and exclusion of livestock. The management of native and endangered species on the reserve will be addressed via the creation of flora and fauna corridors, in conjunction with the development of Strategies Recovery plans by the NPWS. Calculations may be taken to measure the carbon dioxide cycle in the oxygen farm. Water yield, seed production, feed capacity and biomass may also be estimated.
The Plan of Management also envisages the undertaking of consultation with local Aboriginal communities and of Aboriginal site surveys on the Oxygen Farm for the purpose of determining whether any sites of cultural heritage significance exist. Aboriginal sites will be protected. Funding for Oxygen Farm activities derives from a number of sources. These include donations, memberships and subscriptions, State and Federal Government programs such as the Community Activity Program, New Work Opportunities and Labour Market programs. Labour has also been provided by individuals undertaking Community Service Orders. Other issues such as fire management and education are also addressed by the Plan. The owner and the NPWS agree that the central purpose of the Agreement is the conservation of the native flora and fauna of the area. Visitation will therefore be maintained at a level that is in accordance with the Agreement and does not adversely impact on the habitat values of the area. The Parties agree that the area offers an important research and educational opportunity for the study of native plants and animals, as well as for the preservation of remnant vegetation. Visitation will therefore be restricted to tertiary and research institutions, and NPWS staff, for conducting research. The Agreement also imposes limitations on the erection of structures. Nothing other than an environmental education/ecology centre may be constructed.
The Oxygen Farm Conservation Agreement is legally binding on the State and the Owner of the Oxygen Farm. It may be terminated or varied with the agreement of the Parties, in accordance with the terms of the Agreement or by the Minister where s/he is satisfied that it is not capable of achieving its purpose. The Agreement otherwise provides permanent protection for the area. If the land is sold, the Agreement remains in place.