After more than two years of consultation and planning the Sunshine Coast's Biodiversity Strategy will move into the next phase, the Biodiversity Action Plan. With continuing community consultations this week at the Sunshine Coast Botanical Gardens, the ideas in the Strategy will be refined and focused into a comprehensive Biodiversity Strategy Action Plan, including detailed, itemized and prioritized actions, with specific targets, timelines and lead organizations.

The plan intends to achieve the vision of:
“A Sunshine Coast community which cherishes and understands the diverse benefits of healthy ecosystems and biological processes to everyone, and thus practices responsible coast-wide stewardship of biodiversity.”

The recently released Sunshine Coast Biodiversity Strategy was developed by the Ruby Lake Lagoon Society in collaboration with partner groups and community stakeholders and written by Dr Michelle Evelyn and Dr Michael Jackson. It is a far-sighted and beautifully formatted document that lays out six primary goals to ensure the protection and enhancement of biodiversity throughout the Sunshine Coast Regional District.

These goals are:

  • All segments of our community are inspired and empowered to value and protect biodiversity, with citizens, governments and businesses actively involved in caring forbiodiversity as a part of their daily lives and operations.
  • Governments, land managers and resource users have developed collaborative strategies and enacted far-sighted policies to conserve biodiversity and ensure that natural ecosystem services on both land and water continue to provide maximum benefit to our community.
  • Comprehensive knowledge and access to scientific information about biodiversity enables governments, resource users and interest groups to make informed decisions and take responsible action to manage and conserve biodiversity.
  • The economic value of biodiversity and ecological goods and services is known and appreciated and incorporated into decision making and planning.
  • A network of protected areas conserves a rich variety of interconnected ecosystems, ecological communities, habitats, species and populations.
  • Action has been taken to protect, restore and enhance habitats, and mitigate threats to biodiversity, ensuring that healthy ecological communities and viable populations of all native flora, fauna and other organisms survive and thrive across their ecological ranges.

The Strategy was recently presented to the Sunshine Coast Regional District Planning and Development Committee where it received support from all members.  Dr Michael Jackson, Chair of the Ruby Lake Lagoon Society, stated, “the SCRD Directors and Staff have provided both moral and financial support to this important community-led initiative to identify and protect biodiversity on the Coast, and it is very important to keep them informed and involved as further progress is made.  We will keep coordinating our efforts in research and planning with all levels of government at all future stages as we expand the number of people and groups involved.”