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The Australian National University

Landscape

Grasslands
Established wetland
Creek landscape

Hidden amongst the lush greenery of the ANU campus are echidnas, wombats, possums, sugar gliders, wallabies and even the odd platypus.

Despite being in the middle of Canberra, the campus is surprisingly diverse, supporting more than 140 native animals. The 145-hectare campus also contains 10,000 trees, including patches of the nationally endangered Box Gum Grassy woodland.

More than 11 native mammal species have been found at ANU including two bats with special conservation status. Sullivans Creek, which runs through the campus, supports native fauna including eastern water dragons, long necked turtles, frogs and the native water rat.

The campus has many large old trees, some of which are several hundred years old. These large old trees are important for providing hollows for birds, bats and possums.

Goal

To adopt strategies that protect landscape values and reduce dependence on potable water.

Targets

  • No degradation of water quality in Sullivans Creek between when it enters and exits ANU.
  • Decrease weed coverage by 5 per cent by 2020.
  • Eliminate potable water use for landscape irrigation by 2015.

Strategies

  • Irrigate the landscape with non-potable water including rainwater and recycled water
  • Improve drought tolerance and reduce reliance on irrigation through plant selection
  • Establish protection zones to protect biodiversity values
  • Maintain species diversity and reduce the impact of pests and weeds
  • Restore ecosystems, especially at Acton Grassy Woodlands, the Sullivans Creek Riparian Corridor and the Lake Burley Griffin Corridor

Achievements

Significant progress has been made in reducing use of potable water (also see Water section). Since 2006 total potable water use has declined by 30 per cent.

In terms of reducing weed coverage the improvement has been more modest. Since 2012 there have been a thirteen per cent decrease in weed coverage, and the area of weeds coverage has gone from 131,000m2 to 114,000m2. Most of the weeds are Chilean Needle Grass.

Water quality in Sullivans Creek has continued to decline. The trend for dissolved oxygen, which is an indicator of water quality, has declined slightly since 2009. This decline is believed to coincide with increased urbanisation of Canberra's Inner Northern suburbs, which drains into the creek.

A draft Biodiversity Management Plan was completed and will be adopted pending feedback from the Department of Environment. This plan provides a framework for managing the University's biodiversity values under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

Updated:  11 July 2016/Responsible Officer:  Director, Facilities & Services Division/Page Contact:  Systems & Information Technology