Updated Flora Survey Guidelines - Protected Plants (Qld)

The Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (DEHP) has released an updated version of the Flora Survey Guidelines – Protected Plants (the Guidelines).

The Guidelines are a statutory document under the Nature Conservation Act 1992 (NC Act) and subordinate Nature Conservation (Wildlife Management) Regulation 2006 that provides information about how to comply with the requirements of a flora survey for certain plants protected under the NC Act.

Under the DEHP’s risk-based framework, a flora survey is only required when a development activity is proposed within mapped High Risk Areas – blue areas on the Flora Survey Trigger Map.

The Guidelines provide information on:

  • Who is suitably qualified to undertake a flora survey
  • The extent of the area that must be surveyed
  • What flora survey methods must be used
  • What must be included in a flora survey report.   

The Guidelines now provide improvements to the flora survey framework and processes regarding reporting the results of flora surveys to DEHP. The main improvements are:

  • Increased transparency and flexibility regarding selection of suitably qualified persons to conduct flora surveys. The Guidelines utilise a points system where flora surveyors must be able to reach 100 points (combination of qualifications and experience) in order to conduct or supervise surveys
  • Providing increased transparency when surveying within a reduced clearing impact area can be used. The clearing impact area is the area proposed to be cleared with a 100 metre buffer around it. The flora surveyor is now able to justify a reduced clearing impact area rather than seeking permission from DEHP, according to certain circumstances. 

The Guidelines have improved over the previous version, however as many of the flora survey requirements are in the NC Regulations, there is limited scope to change the process. The Queensland Government has committed to commence a review of the protected plant framework in 2017 as well as wildlife management legislative requirements such as protection of animal breeding places.

If you have any concerns about the new Guidelines or the wildlife management review in general, please contact us on 1300 839 325.

Relevant links

Department of Environment and Heritage Protection - Protected Plants

Flora Survey Guidelines - Protected Plants

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