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Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges Natural Resources Management Plan
Why have a regional NRM plan? The Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges (AMLR) Natural Resources Management Plan looks at how best to protect the AMLR region, home to 1.3 million people. The region is our ‘backyard’, providing us with a livelihood, and producing some of the finest food and wine in South Australia.
The region is full of wonderful opportunities: we can holiday on the Fleurieu Peninsula, eat pate from the Barossa Valley, drink milk from Parawa, sip a shiraz from McLaren Vale, catch seafood from Gulf St Vincent, feed our children veggies from Virginia, surf at Middleton and watch the whales at Victor.
The region has abundant and varied natural resources — beaches, forests, rivers, wetlands, plains, mangroves, farms and vineyards. Our wellbeing is dependent on the health and productivity of the landscapes and environment around us. They are essential to primary production, but they also house dynamic natural systems that need to be sustained and protected.
We can all play a part in nurturing and promoting the environment in which we live, by:
• recognising the value that the Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges Natural Resources Management (NRM) Board and its regional plan bring to our environment, and paying the NRM levy
• taking responsibility as community members by volunteering for environmental projects and managing our rural private property responsibly
• encouraging our children to connect with nature and the environment through outdoor activities and school learning programs.
This plan shows us how, through natural resources management, we can protect, sustain and develop our region over the next 10 years. It explains why action is needed, and how we can work together to keep our backyard healthy, beautiful and productive. Caring for our natural resources will help us achieve a sustainable future.
What approach does this plan take? The NRM plan takes an integrated but practical approach to sustaining the region. It has been created in consultation with the community with the board’s vision summing this up: ‘Thriving communities caring for hills, plains and seas’. Its strategies and recommendations are based on the most up-to-date information available.
Under the Natural Resources Management Act 2004, the plan must be reviewed at least once every 10 years. But as our knowledge about the region grows and changes all the time, the NRM board wants the plan to remain current, so its strategies and approaches are continually monitored and evaluated as part of the process.
This plan adopts a ‘landscape’ approach which looks at the entire region as a web of interconnected natural systems: this includes not only land, water, air and sea but the plants, animals and people that live there. Sometimes choices have to be made about what to focus on, because our financial and practical resources are limited. We cannot repair everything, and the plan plays a vital role in establishing priorities for action.
This integrated approach focuses on the idea of ‘resilience’. The best way to preserve our natural resources is to maintain and improve the landscapes that best service the region, rather than caring for parts of our environment in an isolated or random way. Our environment and the climate are changing. If we are to manage diverse landscapes such as rivers and creeks, beaches and mangroves, farm lands and forests, then we must ensure that they have the ability to deal with these changes and continue to function.
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We can only achieve real results through communities, businesses
and government working together.
And so the plan identifies factors that can damage the environment and targets effort where it can have the greatest effect, preventing systems from deteriorating and affecting the health of the landscape as a whole.
The plan is all about protecting our natural resources so that the community can use and enjoy them. This is summed up by one principle — to acknowledge and enhance the three ‘Ls’ — landscape, livelihood and lifestyle.
• By lifestyle, we mean the people who live in the region and their way of life.
• By landscape, we mean the land in a particular area, including its biodiversity, vegetation, wildlife and water resources.
• By livelihood, we mean the industries and commercial enterprises that rely on the natural resources of the region.
Achieving a balance between the needs of people, the land and industry involves genuinely engaging with everyone who has an interest in the region. This helps the NRM board to balance competing social, environmental and economic demands so that we protect and sustain the healthy natural resources that promote a healthy community.
In developing the plan, the board sought expert advice, local knowledge and input from communities throughout the region, recognising that we all have a part to play. We can only achieve real results through communities, businesses and government working together.
What are the plan’s conceptual models and targets? To gain the support of the community, the NRM plan needs to show that it is making a difference and improving the region. It needs indicators which measure its success, monitor progress, and provide updates through ‘report cards’ about how programs and initiatives are working.
However, it is not an easy task to evaluate a region as varied as the Adelaide and Mt Lofty Ranges. To help us understand this complexity, the plan contains seven ‘conceptual models’. These models help us think through and solve problems. They help us know and understand how the natural, economic and social systems in our region work, including how healthy they are, what threats they face, and how to manage them. The models are:
• terrestrial landscape health
• marine health
• aquatic health
• community support for NRM
• building capacity of natural resource managers
• sustainable primary production
• adapting to a changing climate.
The conceptual models then inform 12 long-term targets that are identified in detail in the NRM plan.
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The regional plan identifies factors that can damage the environment and targets effort where it can have the greatest effect.
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Strategic directions The NRM plan is structured around a series of broad strategic directions, which help to guide how the community can contribute to its implementation.
These directions are grouped under four factors that will cause changes in the environment. These are:
• climate change
• land management and change
• economic impacts
• knowledge and capacity.
Any of these could greatly affect land, aquatic and marine health — and, as a result, have an impact on the community.
The big picture The AMLR region is one of eight NRM regions in South Australia. It includes metropolitan Adelaide and the western side of the Mount Lofty Ranges, extending from Mallala and the Barossa in the north, to the Fleurieu Peninsula in the south. It also extends up to 30 kilometres into the marine environment. Of its total area, 59% is land and 41% is marine waters.
The region supports a diverse mosaic of landscapes including remnant bushland, agriculture and horticulture, urban areas, beaches, spectacular coastal scenery and marine environments.
It is the most complex landscape in the state, and is home to half the state’s native plants and three quarters of its native birds. It also contains some of the state’s most productive industries and contributes strongly to South Australia’s economic and social wellbeing.
The region is under continual pressure as the city’s population grows and land use consequently changes. It contains almost 80% of the state’s population, who live and work in the Adelaide CBD, as well as in its suburbs, rural holdings, primary industries and rural townships.
As part of the NRM plan, the region has been divided into seven subregions. These subregions overlap and share common characteristics — such as types of land, plants, animals and people — with the areas next to them.
The subregions are:
• Metropolitan Adelaide
• Northern Coast and Plains
• Northern Hills
• Central Hills
• Willunga Basin
• Fleurieu Peninsula
Each subregion has been carefully assessed over the years and scientific data has been collected to provide a ‘snapshot’ of each subregion’s various environments, communities and industries.
The region is under continual pressure as the city’s population grows and
land use consequently changes.
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Northern Coast and Plains
Northern and Yorke NRM region
Northern and Yorke NRM region
SA Murray Darling Basin NRM region
Kangaroo Island NRM region