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acid sulphate soils
a mix of low-lying coastal clays and sands that contain sulphur-bearing compounds, which form sulphuric acidic when exposed to air.

intangible environmental and social benefits, such as peace and beauty.

without atmospheric oxygen.

Australian and New Zealand Environment Conservation Council.

aquatic habitat
Includes species that live in or near the water including intertidal areas that are inundated eg seagrass, mangroves, saltmarsh habitats.

living in trees.


the process by which chemicals taken up by organisms from the environment become concentrated in body tissues.

able to be broken down into simpler substances by the activities of living organisms and therefore unlikely to persist in the environment.

the variety of living things - the different plants, animals and microorganisms, the genes they contain and the ecosystems they form.

biological control
use of organisms (predators, herbivores, parasites and disease-producing organisms) to control pests and weeds.

biological indicators
assessment of living organisms used to measure ecosystem health.

living organisms.

an unusually dense and visible growth of organisms (algae or phytoplankton) in water, caused by increased nutrients (e.g. phosphorus).  Blooms can be toxic and generally result in reduced oxygen in the water.

blue-green algae
members of the cyanobacteria (or Cyanophyta), characterised by blue-green pigmentation and a lack of cellular organisation.

a volunteer program that encourages people to become involved in looking after their local bushland.

an area where there is vegetation that is either a remnant of the natural vegetation of the land or if altered, is still representative of the structure and floristics of the natural vegetation. It applies to the whole ecosystem, which encompasses not only native vegetation but also the surface and subsurface soils, leaf litter, the seed bed etc.


China Australia Migratory Bird Agreement (1986).  An intergovernmental agreement for the protection of migratory birds.

the drainage basin of a water body that captures all precipitation that falls on it.

coliform bacteria
a group of bacteria originating from animal (including human) intestines and used as an indicator of the sanitary quality of water.

community (ecological)
aggregation of organisms characterised by a distinctive combination of two or more ecologically related species.

an area of vegetation that connects one vegetated area to another (e.g. like a hallway connecting one room to another).

CZMP Coastal Zone Management Plan
a management plan prepared in accordance with the Coastal Protection Act 1979


any decline in the quality of natural resources.  Commonly caused by human activities.

Department of Urban Affairs and Planning
The Department of Urban Affairs and Planning became the Department of Planning on 21/11/2001.  The Department was known as the Department of Urban and Transport Planning from 2/4/2003 and the Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Natural Resources from 30/6/2003. (Personal Communication 10/10/2004 with Department of Infrastructure and Natural Resources, Information Centre 9762-8047).  This department is still known as the Department of Planning.

disturbance (ecological)
any discrete event in time which disrupts ecosystem structure and resource availability.


ecological community
a group of two or more ecologically related species living in a defined area.

ecological footprint
a measure of the impact of direct and indirect consumption of resources and production of wastes.

ecological sustainability
the capacity of ecosystems to maintain their essential processes and functions to retain their biological diversity without impoverishment.

ecologically sustainable development (ESD)
using, conserving and enhancing the communities resources so that ecological processes, on which life depends, are maintained, and the total quality of life, now and in the future, can be increased.

a functional system which includes communities of living organisms and their associated physical, non-living environment, which interact to form an ecological unit, (for example, a tidal rockpool, wetland or forest).

endangered ecological communities
a group of different species living in a particular area that is likely to become extinct if threats continue.

endangered species
species or ecological communities likely to become extinct unless action is taken to remove the factors that threaten their survival.

originating in a given area and confined only to that area.

environmental flow
the minimum amount of water necessary to maintain all ecosystem processes in a water body.

Environmental Planning Instruments (EPI)
In NSW, under the EP&A land is zoned using environmental planning instruments to establish zoning and permissible land use within that zone.  When a particular project is proposed, the project is required to be assessed according to criteria laid out in the relevant environmental planning instrument.  The two main types of planning instruments are:

  • Local Environmental Plans (LEP); and
  • State Environmental Planning Policies.

From July 2009, all REP's are deemed SEPPs.

The applicable instrument will depend on the location and type of project proposed.

environmental weed
plants considered to be a threat to the natural environment, but are not covered by legislation.

EP & A Act
Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979.

the loosening and transportation of sediment, usually by wind or water.

the over-enrichment of a water body with nutrients, primarily nitrogen and phosphorous.

a plant or animal that has been introduced to a region in which it does not naturally occur.


refers to domesticated animals which have adapted to living in the wild.

areas subject to inundation of water by the overflow of adjacent rivers.

"part of shore between high and low water marks, or between water and land cultivated or built upon" (Concise Oxford, 1980, p.384).

the division of habitat, which isolates species and limits gene flow.  Usually caused by vegetation clearance for human activities.


garden escapes
exotic or introduced species, grown in gardens that have escaped into and colonised bushland.

genetic diversity
the diversity of genes present in a given population or species.

Georges River Catchment
the catchment includes the Woronora River and other tributaries to the Georges River, both fresh and salt water.

gross pollution trap - a device that captures gross pollutants, such as litter and leaves from the stormwater system, creeks and rivers.

Greater Metropolitan Regional Environment Plan No 2
Plan that applies to the GRC.  See REP later in this table.

Georges River Combined Council's Committee.

Greenweb-Sydney is a vegetation management plan for the Sydney Region 1997.  It was prepared for the Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils and includes identification of significant vegetation and its protection (WSROC, 2001, p.21).  In Sutherland Shire Council area these vegetation corridors will connect islands of bushland.

wastewater from the shower, bath, hand basins, laundry tubs and washing machines.

water derived from rainfall that infiltrates into and through the soil, flowing through a saturated zone of soil or rock.


home that one lives in, or, an area that can provide enough resources to sustain a population.

hazard reduction burn
the deliberate and controlled burning of understorey vegetation.  Used to reduce fuel loads and therefore reduce the incidence of wildfires.

any chemical agent that destroys or inhibits plant growth.


Integrated Catchment Management (ICM)
ICM a community based approach based on collaborative partnership to involve the multiple stakeholders with often-conflicting objectives (Bellamy, 2000).

The management of a river basin should be based on all ecological functions and socio-economic systems.  All involved in management rather than sector focus.  The river basin is the entire catchment and includes surface and underground water.  Management is continuous process of design, decision making and implementation of policies and interventions related to the human use of the river and its ecosystems (Water at Both Ends. 2002).

integrated planning
integrated planning is the examination of a problem or issue by examining the relationships and the context, as well as the specific issue in a way that encourages the understanding of the totality of the problem.

interdisciplinary and transdisiplinary
interdisciplinary studies involves several unrelated academic disciplines in a way that forces them to cross subject boundaries to create new knowledge and transdisciplinary studies integrates academic researchers from different disciplines with non academic participants (Tress, 2004, p.3).

a measurable item or unit that is used to monitor and report changes.

non living material (not containing a combination of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen).

the area between the levels of low and high water tide; also the littoral zone.

species of flora or fauna that occur outside their natural area

an animal without a backbone composed of vertebrae.  Includes insects, worms, mussels, snails, prawns etc.


Japan Australia Migratory Bird Agreement (1974).  An intergovernmental agreement for the protection of migratory birds.


key threatening process
things which harm threatened species, populations or ecological communities, or could cause other species to become threatened.


Local Environmental Plan (LEP)
LEP's are used in local government areas to control land use through zoning.  A LEP usually consist of a zoning map and associated written text.  In the LEP there will be a land use table, which identifies whether an activity is permissible or prohibited on an area of land (or zone) and whether development approval is necessary.  The Council prepares and administers these plans, but the State Government (DUAP) must first endorse them. 

liquid containing dissolved solids which has percolated through soil or rock.

Local Government Area.

littoral zone
refers particularly to the area of the sea floor lying between the levels of low and high tide.

local provenance
of local origin (especially plants).


a masterplan is a document (and maps) containing information in broad terms of the long term proposals for the development of land.  Some areas require the preparation of a masterplan, e.g in the Pyrmont-Ultimo REP 26.  In other cases the masterplan can be voluntarily undertaken by the owner/developer of large sites to stage development or to integrate a number of functions in the longer term.

invertebrate (animal without a backbone) clearly visible with the human eye.

a plant visible to the naked eye, usually particular to an aquatic habitat.

a microscopic organism, unable to be seen with the naked eye.

Material placed on the soil around plants. Generally mulch is organic material such as wood chips or partly decomposed garden waste, but may be inorganic such as pebbles or aggregate.


organisms that have not been recently introduced into an ecosystem.

natural areas
areas undisturbed by human activities.

exotic or introduced species which have become established.

noxious weeds
plants considered to be a threat to human and animal health, agricultural production, and the environment, which by law must be managed.

National Parks and Wildlife Service.


chemical compounds based on carbon - constitutes all living or once living organisms or materials.

organic certification
when an organic certifying group (such as Australian Certified Organic) audits a business’ methods to ensure that they comply with national or international standards for organic farming and processing.


a disease-causing organism.

any substance used to harm or kill pest organisms.

a measure of the degree of acidity or alkalinity. Expressed on a logarithmic scale of 1 to 14 - 1 is most acid, 7 is neutral and 14 most alkaline.

process whereby plants and some other organisms take energy from the sun, carbon dioxide from the air and water and convert it into oxygen and sugars to aid growth.

planners are professionals who specialise in developing strategies and design the communities in which we live, work and play.  Balancing the built and natural environment, community needs, cultural significance, and economic sustainability, planners aim to improve our quality of life and create vibrant communities.  As well as assessing development proposals and devising policies to guide future development, planners work in areas as diverse as housing, energy, health, education, communications, leisure, tourism and transport.  They create new, and revitalise existing, public spaces, conserve places of heritage and enhance community value. 

planning is the process of making decisions to guide future action.  The planning profession (which is also referred to as ‘town planning’ or ‘spatial planning’) is specifically concerned with shaping cities, towns and regions by managing development, infrastructure and services.

plans of management
a document that outlines the most effective strategies for enhancing community use of sites and protecting the local environment.

Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997.

the presence of a contaminant in the environment, for example: water pollution, air pollution, noise pollution or land pollution.

Plan of Management.

potable (water)
fit for human consumption.

the term given to rain, drizzle, dew, hail, snow and other forms of moisture from the atmosphere which reaches the ground.




Regional Environmental Plans  (REP) 
Since July 2009, all REP's are deemed SEPPs.  REP's were made when the minister is of the opinion that the matters are important on a regional basis.  The broad interpretation of "regional' means that there are significant variations in the content of REP's.  Consent authority was identified in each individual REP.  These plans were prepared by Planning NSW. 

riparian zone
"may be defined as that component of land (including floodplains) adjacent to rivers and streams or other water courses.  Riparian vegetation includes emergent aquatic and semi-aquatic plants, as well as the over and under storey vegetation in the zone immediately adjacent to, or verging water courses" (DLWC,1992, p.23).

commonly used name to describe the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance Especially as Waterfowl Habitat, which was signed in Ramsar, Iran in 1971.

rare species
species which are uncommon but which are not currently considered endangered or vulnerable.

recovery plan
a plan designed to return a threatened species, population or ecological community to a point where their survival in nature is viable.

to clean up a contaminated area to the level required for intended use.

remnant (ecologic)
a small fragmented portion of the former dominant vegetation of an area.

renewable resources
those materials that can be replaced within a reasonable time frame by natural processes.

a modification of existing equipment.

riparian vegetation
vegetation situated on a river or stream bank (See also riparian zone).

riparian zone
any land which adjoins, directly influences, or is influenced by a body of water.

any amount of precipitation which is not absorbed by the land surface and so flows across.


deposition of material away from it's site of origin.  Can be organic or inorganic and usually moved by the action of water, wind, gravity or ice.

waste matter discharged to a sewerage system (see also sewerage system).

sewerage system
infrastructure for collecting treating and disposing of sewage (see also sewage).

Stormwater Management Plan

State of the Environment Report

Southern Sydney Catchment Management Board/Georges River Catchment Management Committee
The Southern Sydney Catchment Management Board covers the Cooks River, Georges River and Woronora River, Botany Bay and the Eastern Beaches (GRABBE).  The board replaces the Georges River CMC in 1999.

group of organisms which are biologically capable of breeding and producing fertile offspring.

species diversity
a measure of the number of individual species and their relative abundance in an area.

an individual or agency who has an interest or stake in the current activity or proposed change of activity taking place.

State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP)
SEPP's are made when the Minister is of the opinion there are concerns with matters of planning for the State.  SEPP's in effect amend existing LEP's by imposing additional consent requirements or by removing consent from the prohibited development zoning categories.  Consent authority will be identified in each individual SEPP.  These planning policies are prepared by DUAP (Department of Planning).

the run-off from rainfall events.

the arrangement of a body of water into two or more horizontal layers of differing characteristics (often temperature).

to keep in existence or maintain for now and for future generations - particularly referring to the earth's resources (such as water, air, flora and fauna etc).

Sustainable Urban Drainage
SUDS (Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems) refers to a collection of methods used to reduce run-off from hard surfaces through storage and by enhancing groundwater recharge via infiltration.  It is being strongly promoted by the Environment Agency and SEPA (UK).  Pollutant concentrations are reduced through filtration, sedimentation, adsorption and biodegradation.  SUDS also offer aesthetic and cost benefits compared to surface water drains and storm-sewers.  And as flood damage has increased, their ability to cope with sustained heavy rainfall has attracted growing interest (Environment Business Magazine Newsletter, United Kingdom. 2002 -


terrestial habitat
species occurring on land

The Georges River Planning System
The regulatory framework for the Georges River contains 21 pieces of legislation and numerous state and international agreements plus planning instruments of the 14 local governments.  These pieces of legislation span a number of State and Federal government departments and agencies.

Total Catchment Management (TCM)
The Catchment Management Act 1989 defines Total Catchment management (TCM) as the coordinated and sustainable use and management of land, water, vegetation and other natural resources on a catchment basis, so as to balance resource utilisation and conservation (New South Wales Government, 1992, p.4).

TCM (total catchment management)
the coordinated and sustainable use and management of natural resources, such as land, water and vegetation on a catchment basis.

threat abatement plan
a plan that addresses a key threatening process.  This plan will outline actions to be taken, identify how actions will be managed, identify responsible authorities and identify time frames, resources and costs involved.

threatened species
a species facing processes which may jeopardise the survival, abundance or evolutionary development of that species (See also key threatening process).

a measure of the amount of suspended solids (usually clay or silt) in water. 


ultraviolet (UV)
shortwave radiation, invisible to the human eye, but may cause damage to humans.  The UV spectrum has 3 bands UV-A, UV-B and UV-C.

urban consolidation
policies/programs intended to increase the density of dwellings and population in urban areas to make more efficient use of the existing infrastructure.


an animal with a backbone; includes fish, birds, mammals, reptiles etc.

vulnerable species
species that may soon become endangered if threatening processes continue.


Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD)
Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD) is a mechanism for developing and implementing sustainable solutions at the interface between development, landscape modification and water cycle change.  As such WSUD represents a development control mechanism which provides the framework for implementation of structural and non structural measures to control water balance, water quality and water consumption objectives (Mouritz, 1996 p.209).

waste water
water that carries waste from homes, business and industries.

water cycle
the natural cycle of water in the environment.

a plant growing out of it's natural region that has a negative impact on it's surrounding environment.

land areas situated along water courses (both fresh and saltwater) that are inundated with slow moving or stationary water on a temporary or permanent basis.