Environmental management in a highly urbanised context

Greater Sydney Local Land Services partnered with Golf NSW Ltd with $1.8 million funding from the Australian Government to deliver a three-year project resulting in an exceptional outcome in protecting native vegetation, reducing the impact of weeds and invasive pests like rabbits and foxes, and linking important vegetation corridors across the Sydney region. In addition to on-ground works, a university research partnership was established with Western Sydney University to document the role of golf courses as carbon sinks in biodiverse corridors.

There are more than 100 golf courses in Greater Sydney, which occupy over 4 000 hectares of the local green space. A series of 16 workshops was delivered to more than 150 golf club staff and volunteers representing over 30 golf clubs from across the Sydney region. These workshops addressed a range of topics with the purpose of developing the skills and knowledge of those responsible for managing the region’s golf courses, to enable them to confidently participate in the program to protect and restore biodiversity and waterways on their land.

Because of the project, significant on-ground works were implemented including:

  • Weed control measures were carried out across more than 64 ha
  • Fox and rabbit control was implemented across more than 190 ha
  • Approximately 100,000 plants were established across more than 12 ha throughout the project area
  • Indigenous Cultural Heritage (AHIMS) desktop searches were carried out with site visits conducted to ensure that no Aboriginal Heritage was damaged
  • Endangered Themeda grasslands were protected by fencing
  • Fifteen management agreements were established for on-ground works across golf courses and connected landscapes
  • More than 50 training and awareness raising events with more than 300 participants related to on-ground management

The project extension resource was designed to provide all golf clubs access to material that will assist them to better manage weeds, native vegetation, fauna and water quality. It includes the findings from the Accounting for Biodiversity and Carbon on Golf Courses research project undertaken by Western Sydney University and information on where and how to apply for grant funding to assist with future rehabilitation. Providing resources and information for future use is a critical component of the project. The resource materials are available for all golf courses to continue to utilise and includes: Case Studies

  • Endangered Ecological Communities: providing golf courses with unique and natural character
  • Volunteers: an untapped resource for a better golf course environment
  • Managing urban dams and wetlands on golf courses
  • Booklets and Fact Sheets
  • Understory plants for Sydney golf courses and parks
  • Time-lapse video: construction of a bio-retention basin
  • Chemical free weeding on golf courses
  • Fencing and sign styles for environmental protection areas on golf courses
  • Nurseries supplying local provenance plants in the Greater Sydney area
  • Vertebrate pest management contacts

The project featured in GOLF Link’s – “The week in Golf: Carbon Connections”, a national network used by over 450,000 golfers across more than 1200 Australian golf clubs. The success of and interest in this project: has meant that sustainable natural resource management has moved beyond the normal engaged community to a much broader audience.

This case study is adapted from Local Land Services Greater Sydney’s Case Study: Environmental management in a highly urbanised context.