About us

Australian Capital Territory Natural Resource Management (ACT NRM) is one of 56 regional NRM organisations across Australia under the Australian Government’s regional stream of the National Landcare Programme. ACT NRM is hosted in the ACT Government Environment and Planning Directorate.

Our role

ACT NRM uses a collaborative approach to achieve a balance between the needs of the community (such as recreation and health) and those of the environment. Working together with delivery partners, volunteers, the broader ACT and regional community and other stakeholders, we:

  • provide leadership for regional natural resource management planning and prioritisation
  • broker collaboration and engagement
  • build capacity of local community and industry to improve natural resource management
  • promote improved Aboriginal outcomes through natural resource management
  • administer funding
  • help deliver national environmental obligations
  • raise awareness about natural resource management issues
  • communicate successes.

ACT NRM obtains independent advice from the ACT Natural Resource Management Council (NRM Council). The NRM Council was set up as an independent advisory body to the ACT Government. It has seven members and operates under a charter.

ACT NRM is co-funded by the ACT Government and Australian Government. We have been allocated $3,804,860 under the Australian Government’s Regional Delivery 2014 –18 National Landcare Programme.

ACT policy context

The ACT Nature Conservation Act 2014 (NC Act) aims to protect, conserve and enhance the biodiversity of the ACT. This includes the sustainable management of:

  • native flora and fauna, and their habitats
  • ecological communities and connectivity
  • ecosystems and their processes and functions.

It is also a requirement of the NC Act to consider climate change in the development of a nature conservation strategy and action plans for threatened species and ecosystems.

The ACT  Nature Conservation Strategy 2013 –23 (NCS 2013 –23) provides policy direction and integrates management across different land uses and tenures to better support management effectiveness and conservation outcomes.

Our region

Canberra is set in the midst of a mosaic of grasslands, woodlands, forests, riparian and alpine areas that are biodiversity-rich ecosystems. Many of these ecosystems, and the biodiversity they support, have regional and national conservation significance.

All threatened ecological communities and habitats of threatened species occurring in the ACT are represented in the reserve network.
Listed threatened ecological communities which occur in the ACT are:

  • Natural Temperate Grassland of the Southern Tablelands of NSW and the Australian Capital Territory  
  • White box - yellow box - Blakely's red gum grassy woodlands and derived native grasslands
  • Alpine Sphagnum Bogs and Associated Fens.

Urban expansion, weeds, exotic animals, fire management and recreation pressures are significant factors affecting the connectivity and condition of these ecological communities and the ecosystems in which they occur.

About the ACT

General information Value      
Population (2015) 390,800
Land area 2,357 km2 (235,787 ha)
Area designated primarily for nature conservation or as water catchment 61% of in the ACT
Area managed by the ACT Government Around 70% of the ACT
Area under agricultural production Around 15% of the ACT (35,300 ha)
Rural leases 160
Urban footprint Around 15 % (35,300 ha)

(As at February 2016)

Our landscape

Bioregions

The ACT is situated in two bioregions, the South-East Highlands and the Australian Alps. The southern half of the ACT is in the Australian Alps bioregion.

The higher land, above 750 metres, retains nearly all its natural vegetation and lies almost entirely within Namadgi National Park and Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve. The sub-alpine, montane and wet forest communities that occupy this part of the ACT are part of a much greater continuous network of mountain and alpine parks that includes Kosciuszko National Park and the Victorian Alps.

The scale and connectivity of the ACT’s reserve network does much to protect the ecosystem function and plant and animal diversity of the ACT’s higher lands.

The remaining areas of the ACT are lower in altitude and form part of the South-East Highlands bioregion. Around 60% of the ACT’s lowlands have been affected by clearing. Key vegetation remnants have generally been retained as conservation reserves. However, urban expansion has fragmented these remnants and led to deterioration in their condition.

Waterways

The Murrumbidgee, Molonglo and Cotter rivers are the main water courses of the ACT. There are also a number of natural and man-made fresh water wetlands and water bodies across the ACT comprising diverse ecosystems which support native and introduced species of plants and animals. Examples include the sub-Alpine bog systems in Namadgi National Park, the man-made Jerrabomberra Wetlands and the three major urban lakes, Lake Tuggeranong, Lake Burley Griffin and Lake Ginninderra.

Climate

The ACT Government recognises climate change as a driver that is influencing how we manage the environment. The diversity of upland and lowland landscapes across the ACT produces a range of climatic conditions. Canberra has a relatively dry, continental climate with warm to hot summers and cool to cold winters.

Climate projections for our region indicate longer drier summers and more frequent storms. This is increasing the threat from bushfires, heatwaves and violent storms to lives, property, economic activity and the environment. Total annual rainfall is projected to remain relatively unchanged, despite changes in rain seasonality patterns (i.e. wetter summers and autumns, drier springs). The frequency and intensity of extreme events (e.g. storms, floods, bushfires, etc) is also expected to increase substantially in coming decades.

For further information on the ACT Government’s climate change policies and actions see:

Our community

ACT NRM works closely with the region’s strong and active natural resource management volunteer and not-for-profit sector, which includes:

  • Landcare
  • ParkCare
  • Waterwatch
  • Frogwatch
  • Catchment groups
  • Friends of Grasslands
  • Conservation Volunteers
  • Canberra Ornithologists Group
  • Canberra Indian Myrna Action Group
  • Conservation Council
  • Greening Australia
  • Rural Landholders’ Association
  • Bush Heritage Australia
  • National Parks Association of the ACT.

Please email ACT NRM if you would like to be added to this list.