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Pymble, Australia

Ives C.D.,Macquarie University | Taylor M.P.,Macquarie University | Nipperess D.A.,Macquarie University | Davies P.,Ku ring gai Council
Environmental and Planning Law Journal

The conservation of biodiversity is a well-established principle of ecologically sustainable development and is an integral part of environmental policy and legislation in Australia. How the concept of biodiversity as understood by scientists and policy makers is reflected in environmental planning instruments and law and managed at various scales is another matter entirely. This article contends that if strategies are to be effective in reducing the dramatic decline in biological diversity, they must be founded upon clear, holistic and workable concepts of biodiversity that are grounded in science and positioned within a spatial hierarchy. For urban areas that rely greatly on local government policy, practice and regulation to manage natural assets, more effective utilisation of scientific knowledge about a range of biodiversity attributes at local and regional scales is needed. This will enable local government authorities to plan strategically for biodiversity across all land uses and multiple scales, thus minimising the loss of bushland and mitigating against ecological impacts resulting from increased development pressure. However, this article argues that this will only be realised through the establishment of planning policies and management strategies with meaningful and achievable conservation goals, integration of regional conservation priorities, and consideration of community values and economic and socio-political connections. Source

Liebman M.B.,Sustainability Workshop | Jonasson O.J.,Ku ring gai Council | Wiese R.N.,Storm Consulting
Water Science and Technology

Currently more than 3 billion people live in urban areas. The urban population is predicted to increase by a further 3 billion by 2,050. Rising oil prices, unreliable rainfall and natural disasters have all contributed to a rise in global food prices. Food security is becoming an increasingly important issue for many nations. There is also a growing awareness of both 'food miles' and 'virtual water'. Food miles and virtual water are concepts that describe the amount of embodied energy and water that is inherent in the food and other goods we consume. Growing urban agglomerations have been widely shown to consume vast quantities of energy and water whilst emitting harmful quantities of wastewater and stormwater runoff through the creation of massive impervious areas. In this paper it is proposed that there is an efficient way of simultaneously addressing the problems of food security, carbon emissions and stormwater pollution. Through a case study we demonstrate how it is possible to harvest and store stormwater from densely populated urban areas and use it to produce food at relatively low costs. This reduces food miles (carbon emissions) and virtual water consumption and serves to highlight the need for more sustainable land-use planning. © IWA Publishing 2011. Source

Wright I.A.,University of Western Sydney | Davies P.J.,Macquarie University | Findlay S.J.,Ku ring gai Council | Jonasson O.J.,Ku ring gai Council
Marine and Freshwater Research

Stormwater and other urban runoff is often conveyed by concrete infrastructure and it is plausible that the chemistry of urban streams is modified by the leaching of minerals from this infrastructure. We tested this hypothesis by analysing major anions, cations and other chemical variables from urban and reference freshwater streams in northern Sydney. Urban streams tended towards neutral pH whereas non-urban reference streams were acidic. Bicarbonate levels were more than 10 times higher and calcium concentrations were more than six times higher in urban streams than reference streams. Experimental analysis revealed that the chemistry of rainwater changed when passed through concrete pipes and down concrete gutters, suggesting dissolution of cement products from various concrete materials used for urban drainage. This study concluded that the use of concrete particularly its application for urban drainage is responsible for some of the modifications to urban stream geochemistry. Thus, urban geology should be considered as an important factor that contributes to the urban stream syndrome. © 2011 CSIRO. Source

Davies P.J.,Ku ring gai Council | Davies P.J.,Macquarie University | Wright I.A.,University of Western Sydney | Findlay S.J.,Ku ring gai Council | And 2 more authors.
Aquatic Ecology

Internationally, waterways within urban areas are subject to broad-scale environmental impairment from urban land uses. In this study, we used in-stream macroinvertebrates as surrogates to measure the aquatic health of urban streams in the established suburbs of northern Sydney, in temperate south eastern Australia. We compared these with samples collected from streams flowing in adjacent naturally vegetated catchments. Macroinvertebrates were collected over a 30-month period from riffle, edge and pool rock habitats and were identified to the family level. Macroinvertebrate assemblages were assessed against the influence of imperviousness and other catchment and water quality variables. The study revealed that urban streams were significantly impaired compared with those that flowed through naturally vegetated non-urban catchments. Urban streams had consistently lower family richness, and sensitive guilds were rare or missing. We found that variation in community assemblages among the in-stream habitats (pool edges, riffles and pool rocks) were more pronounced within streams in naturally vegetated catchments than in urban waterways. © 2010 Springer Science+Business Media B.V. Source

Findlay S.,Ku ring gai Council | Taylor M.,Macquarie University | Davies P.,Ku ring gai Council | Davies P.,Macquarie University | Fletcher A.,Macquarie University
Water and Environment Journal

Increasing awareness of the environmental value and importance of catchment systems, coupled with the emergence of legislative demands encouraging a holistic approach to environmental management, has forced practitioners to have a sound understanding of the fluvial systems with which they are working. The collection and interpretation of information regarding the functioning of riparian processes is an integral component of this understanding. This paper details the methods and application of the rapid riparian assessment, which was designed to assess urban stream networks. This tool was developed for Ku-ring-gai Council, Sydney, to aid environmental decisions and management processes by collecting meaningful data to identify specific pressures at individual reaches and how these affect catchment processes. These data have been used to identify individual reach and overall catchment condition, and are now guiding capital maintenance programmes to maximise the benefits to natural systems. © 2009 The Authors. Water and Environment Journal © 2009 CIWEM. Source

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