Environmental Reserves Network Management Plan
  • Last updated:
  • 13 Feb 2020

Council endorsed the Environmental Reserves Network Management Plan 2017-2027[4691KB] at its Ordinary Meeting on 18 May 2017.


The plan provides an overarching management framework to guide operational management to all of council's environmental reserves.


Council manages over 547 environmental reserves ranging in size from less than 1 hectare up to 333 hectares and located in all six catchments - Pumicestone, Stanley, Mooloolah, Maroochy, Noosa and Mary. This represents approximately 11% of the Sunshine Coast protected area estate.

The Environmental Reserves Network Management Plan[4691KB] was developed to ensure all reserves are considered under an integrated and consistent set of management principles while continuing to develop individual site management plans where needed.

The eight principles described in the plan were developed from international standards in reserve management and recognise the importance of developing a reserve network that is not only protecting the plants and animals within the reserves, but is also resilient to change, cost effective and contributes to community wellbeing and livelihood.

A cornerstone of the plan is the zoning of reserves into five categories that guides how public access is managed according to the attributes of a site. This will ensure there is an equitable distribution of access to reserves while also protecting sensitive areas and maintaining the Sunshine Coast's natural advantage.

The approach of assuming an overarching view for planning and managing council's environmental reserve network provides a cohesive document that shows how the reserves are managed and why.

This includes:

  • a description of the important ecological, social, cultural and economic aspects of the whole reserve network and how these can be protected and maintained
  • best practice guidelines and methods to address management issues
  • a detailed description of the reserve network and how it is managed operationally
  • a showcase of innovative opportunities that the environmental reserves network can bring to the local economy through sustainable nature based tourism, education and research partnerships and culture.

The plan is a reflection of a maturing reserve management approach which is required in response to increased size of the reserve network and added complexity of issues and opportunities such as population growth.

New management tools and descriptions of emerging and future programs that will be delivered across the reserve network such as:

  • identifying research priorities
  • using landscape planning as a tool for individual reserve management
  • mapping and data management priorities to inform biodiversity protection
  • community partnership event schedules for selected reserves
  • the use of IT applications to support a "smart reserves" network through open data and new advances in ecological monitoring and citizen science

To ensure the plan is implemented and outcomes can be monitored and reported, a details action plan has been included with the following five themes:

  • protecting ecosystem service, resilience and livelihood benefits
  • protecting biodiversity
  • sustainable public access
  • building knowledge
  • biodiversity partnership and community involvement

Council will implement the action plan as part of its operational plans over the next ten years, working towards council's corporate vision to be Australia’s most sustainable region - healthy, smart, creative.

Community engagement

The Environmental Reserves Network Management Plan[4691KB] is an operational document developed as an outcome of council strategies that have been through community engagement. A steering committee comprised of council and community stakeholders was also formed to provide guidance and feedback for the early and final states of the plan which included representatives from SEQ catchments and Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service.


For more information, please contact council - refer the Natural Areas Programming Officer.