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


Council manages over 682 environment 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 (PDF, 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 which recognise the importance of planning a reserve network that is not only protecting the plants and animals, but is also resilient to change, cost effective and contributes to community well-being and livelihood.

A cornerstone of the plan is the zoning of reserves into 5 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 environment 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 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 environment reserves 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 an increasing reserve area as new sites are added, and a growing local and visitor population.

To ensure the plan is implemented and outcomes can be monitored and reported, a detailed 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 program 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 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 gave guidance and feedback for the early and final stages of the plan. Participants included representatives from SEQ Healthy Land and Water and Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service.

Managing environmental reserves is just one way council and our community are working together to deliver a healthy environment and liveable Sunshine Coast. View the environment and liveability strategy to see what else we are doing.


For more information, please contact council - refer the natural areas programming officer.