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Cape Byron State Conservation Area

australia

First Listed

2014

Area
0.98km2

Why is it Green Listed?

Disclaimer:  both Arakwal National Park (NP) and Cape Byron State Conservation Area (SCA) are part of a a single joint application to the IUCN Green List


Arakwal National Park (NP) and Cape Byron State Conservation Area (SCA) are located on the most eastern point of Australia near the busy tourist town of Byron Bay. The Arakwal people are recognised as native title holders and manage the reserves jointly with NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service under an Indigenous Land Use Agreement. The Arakwal people maintain very strong cultural associations with the landscape, plants, animals and waterways.

Despite their small size (298 ha combined), the parks support high biodiversity and tourism. Some species and habitats are found nowhere else in the world e.g. Byron Bay Graminoid Clay Heath and the Byron Bay orchid are protected and being restored using a cross-cultural conservation planning approach. In addition, Cape Byron SCA is an internationally renowned tourist destination that receives 2 million visitors. All funding generated is directed back to the management of the site.

Theresa Nicholls, on behalf of Cape Byron Trust and Arakwal National Park Management Committee

“We feel very honoured to have been re-listed on the IUCN Green List.Our joint management partnership with NPWS, managing Arakwal National Park and Cape Byron State Conservation Area has allowed us to look after and care for our Country. We have worked towards managing our Parks with good governance, sound design and planning, effective management and positive conservation outcomes. To be re-listed is a great acknowledgement of all the work to protect our precious National Parks. We will continue to strive towards better and improved management so that our National Parks will be there for everybody in the future. When our Country is heathy, we are healthy.”

Key Achievements

Conservation

  • 63% of the last remaining 11.5 ha of Byron Bay Graminoid Clay Heath is protected and restored in Arakwal NP, which also provides habitat for the critically endangered Byron Bay Orchid.
  • The health of ecologically and cultural important coastal ecosystems and wetlands have been restored through programs to control weeds and pests, manage visitor impacts and reduce illegal activities.
  • Cultural burning has been implemented to reinstate appropriate fire regimes for the important natural values, with regular monitoring to track species response.

Good governance

  • Arawkal NP was the first national park in Australia to be created under an Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA) with Arakwal people.
  • Both sites are managed under the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Act (1974) and the ILUA, facilitating direct involvement and decision making by Arakwal people and engagement with rights holders, stakeholders and the community, ensuring transparency and accountability.
  • A Visitor Master Plan has been developed to guide improvements to visitor management and experience.

Community benefits

  • The local Arakwal people have a strong connection to Country, they continually learn about Country, and have the opportunity to use Country, and share Country with the community.
  • The parks are an important tourist attraction for Byron Bay supporting local and regional economies.
  • Cape Byron SCA provides a wide variety of recreational, education and social opportunities both for the local community and tourists.

Trevor Sandwith, Deputy Chair, IUCN Green List Management Committee, Director, IUCN Global Protected Areas Programme

“As some of the first parks in the world to achieve IUCN Green List status in the pilot phase, this renewal demonstrates their continued dedication to conservation leadership and sharing it with the global Green List community. We congratulate these remarkable parks and the park staff and supporting communities and stakeholders that have enabled this outstanding distinction.”

Site Attributes

WDPA ID

Size
0.98km2

Designation(s)
State Conservation Area

IUCN Category
V and II

Year Established
2009 and 1998

Marine Protected Area
No

Governance Type
Joint governance

Site Agency
NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service

Site Manager
Sue Walker

Application
15 July 2019

EAGL Evaluation
26 July 2019

GL Committee Submission
12 August 2019

EAGL Chair
Andrea Leverington

ASI Reviewer
Matthew Durnin

Site Summary

Arakwal National Park (NP) and Cape Byron State Conservation Area (SCA) are located on the most eastern point of Australia near the busy tourist town of Byron Bay.

The Arakwal people are recognised as native title holders and manage the reserves jointly with NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service under an Indigenous Land Use Agreement. The Arakwal people maintain very strong cultural associations with the landscape, plants, animals and waterways.

Despite their small size (298 ha combined), the parks support high biodiversity. Some species and habitats are found nowhere else in the world e.g. Byron Bay Graminoid Clay Heath and the Byron Bay orchid are protected and being restored using a cross-cultural conservation planning approach.

In addition, Cape Byron SCA is an internationally renowned tourist destination that receives 2 million visitors. All funding generated is directed back to the management of the site.

1. NATURAL VALUES
MONITORING OF VALUES
THRESHOLDS OF SUCCESS
CONDITION OF VALUES
SUMMARY OF TRENDS AND RESULTS
EXTENT OF VEGETATION COMMUNITY Scientific expert monitors Implementation Schedule of the Restoration Management Plan (Baker 2013 Restoration Management Plan: Byron Clay Heath in Arakwal NP. Wildsite Ecological Services).
Desirable: Baker 2013 Plan Implementation Schedule on track to be completed by 2023 as required by the plan Acceptable: 75% completed by 2023 Undesirable: <50% completed by 2023 Unacceptable: not implemented.
DESIRABLE
BYRON BAY DONKEY ORCHID (Diuris sp. aff. Chrysantha) Targeted annual scientific and NPWS staff surveys undertaken, including pre and post cultural burn.
Desirable: Cultural burn implemented to improve habitat, presence of 2 or more plants and viable seed collected and stored in seed bank. Acceptable: Cultural burn implemented to improve habitat, presence of 1 plant and viable seed collected and stored in seed bank. Undesirable: Cultural burns undertaken but no plants detected. Unacceptable: No cultural burns undertaken and no plants detected.
ACCEPTABLE
The species benefits from fire which had been absent from the site for many years until the cultural burn in 2018. Targeted monitoring during the flowering season of 2019 revealed a previously unrecorded individual plant.
FIRE Rapid assessment of site plots. Aerial photo analysis of historical cover and area burnt during 2018 burn. Arakwal people monitor health of cultural valued plants (bush tucker)
By 2023: Desirable: 70-100% area burnt within fire threshold, with unburnt refuge areas, Arakwal people involved in the burn and monitoring. Acceptable: 50-69% area burnt within threshold and Arakwal people involved in the burn. Undesirable: <49% area burnt within fire threshold, and Arakwal people not involved in the burn. Unacceptable: No area burnt within fire threshold and Arakwal people not involved in the burn.
DESIRABLE
Culturally valued plants (bush tucker) were collected prior to burn and seed distributed after burn in degraded areas to improve vegetation health.
PRESENCE / ABSENCE OF THREATENED SPECIES Annual targeted surveys (2017, 2018, 2019) using Elliott traps to monitor small mammal populations over time. Monitor the impact of wild dog/fox through attacks on native fauna and wild dog/fox control implemented.
Desirable: Three planned surveys undertaken and resulting in threatened species previously unrecorded in park found or increase in known numbers. Acceptable: Survey undertaken and known threatened species detected. Undesirable: Surveys undertaken and no threatened species detected. Unacceptable: No surveys undertaken.
DESIRABLE
During the surveys, there were 4 native small mammal species detected including threatened Common Planigale (Planigale maculate), a new record for Arakwal NP. No wild dog/fox attacks on native fauna since controls implemented in 2016.
2. ECOSYSTEM SERVICE VALUES
MONITORING OF VALUES
THRESHOLDS OF SUCCESS
CONDITION OF VALUES
SUMMARY OF TRENDS AND RESULTS
Recreational values Implementation of the Cape Byron SCA Visitor Master Plan Cape Byron Trust quarterly and annual financial reports Customer service feedback at lighthouse, accommodation customer satisfaction reports. Visitor disturbance of cultural and natural values – regular compliance patrols and assessment of condition.
Cape Byron SCA visitor experiences showcase natural and cultural values. Cape Byron SCA generates support for local economy. Visitors are happy with their NPWS experience and recommend it to others Recreation does not significantly impact on natural or cultural values.
Meeting performance measure Cape Byron SCA records around 2 million visits each year and provides recreational and health and well-being for local communities by providing a natural place for relaxation, exercise, rest and reflection. It also supports a thriving tourism industry and has a strong positive effect on the local and regional economy.
NPWS has started to implement actions identified in the Master Plan including safer walking access to Cape Byron. Revenue from parking fees, accommodation, cafes etc increasing by 5-10% per year. Trip advisor >94% satisfaction You-Review >80% satisfaction Accommodation 100% satisfaction Visitor impacts are being controlled through formal tracks, strategic plantings, enforcement, education, and working with neighbours.
Catchment protection for water quality of Tallow Creek Byron Shire Council conducts water quality monitoring including E.coli levels. Levels of contaminants in shellfish and fish.
E.coli levels meet the Australian and New Zealand Guidelines for fresh and marine water quality. Water quality of Tallow Creek is suitable for swimming. Water quality in Tallow Creek is suitable for cultural activities including shellfish harvest and fishing.
Meeting performance measure Water quality meets the water quality guidelines 90% of the time except during high rainfall events. Additional data required
Council must comply with strict licence conditions for the opening of Tallow Creek, to ensure that it is done under the right conditions. Potential breaches are investigated and actioned accordingly. The project is in the early stages.
3. CULTURAL VALUES
MONITORING OF VALUES
THRESHOLDS OF SUCCESS
CONDITION OF VALUES
SUMMARY OF TRENDS AND RESULTS
Arakwal involved in and benefit from joint management of Country Regular audit of agreed actions in the Indigenous Land Use Agreement Participation of Arakwal representatives at meetings Number of Arakwal people employed in ongoing roles in NPWS Byron Bay office Partnerships with Arakwal on business opportunities
Arakwal people are participating in the agreement and happy with partnership Arakwal people are represented on Boards and Committees and attend >75% meetings. Six Arakwal people are employed consistent with ILUA Indigenous business opportunities are supported.
Exceeds performance measure 2018 ILUA audit demonstrate that Arakwal board are satisfied with joint management actions. >90% attendance at meetings. Six identified roles are occupied by Arakwal people. Partnership with the proposed Arakwal Cultural Centre and bus shuttle business, and sale of Arakwal merchandise in Visitor Centre.
100% support for NPWS responsibilities to the ILUA

Conservation Summary

Site visit report // EAGL meeting minutes

EAGL vote results Five of the eight EAGL members were present at the meeting and all agreed that Arakwal NP and Cape Byron SCA should be included on the IUCN Green List. The three other members all reviewed documentation and did not raise significant concerns.


EAGL summary statement:

The site visit and the discussions of the EAGL with local managers supported the very positive management and engagement of the areas with local indigenous people. 

While the Plan of Management technically requires review, amendments to the plan, and more recent planning documents provide an adaptive management framework enabling responsiveness in decision making. In addition to the Plan of Management, State of Parks reporting is a triennial monitoring report, and an operational plan is prepared every year with tasks tracked quarterly. 

Monitoring systems, performance measures and thresholds have been established for the major natural values, cultural and ecosystem service values. The thresholds are being met.

The EAGL agrees that the sites meet the thresholds for the conservation of natural values, ecosystem services and the cultural values. The EAGL also acknowledges the excellent work done by staff to develop appropriate  thresholds and performance indicators for the natural values, ecosystem services and cultural values of  the sites.

DECISION: The EAGL recognises that Arakwal NP and Cape Byron SCA were the first sites to be awarded the IUCN Green List status in 2014. Excellent management of the sites continues. In particular the EAGL recognises the importance and success of the joint management arrangements of Arakwal NP. The EAGL members approved by consensus to recommend the Arakwal NP and Cape Byron SCA for inclusion on the IUCN Green List.


Reviewer statement:

Site visit and review of site application by EAGL was extremely thorough and meets all of the required guidelines for submitting the PA to the Candidate Phase Committee decision.

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