Environmental Assessment Guideline to deliver better environmental outcomes

Found in: News

When preparing Condition Environmental Management Plans (EMPs) under WA’s Environmental Protection Act 1986, proponents are now required to set out measureable criteria (thresholds and targets) along with clear actions to prevent, and if necessary correct, any failure to achieve these criteria. In addition, early response indicators are either required or recommended to prevent exceedances of thresholds or failure to reach targets. The nomination and refinement of early response indicators also encourages a process of learning with respect to ecosystems and the most effective ways to manage them (adaptive management).

The Environmental Protection Authority’s (EPA) Environmental Assessment Guideline 17 (EAG 17) was released in August 2015 and provides clear direction on the preparation of Condition EMPs. The document distinguishes Outcome-based Condition EMPs from Management-based Condition EMPs. Important differences are summarised in the table below.

Distinguishing two types of Condition Environmental Management Plans

EAG17 emphasises that EMPs should be concise thereby enabling a clear focus on thresholds and targets which are tightly aligned with management and monitoring objectives. To assist proponents in this process, the EPA has produced templates for Outcome-based and Management-based Condition EMPs.

For several years now, Astron has been preparing monitoring and management plans with clear and measureable targets and triggers. We have the experience and understanding to develop logical and concise plans that include monitoring programs that are scientifically sound yet practical and efficient.

Astron has also led the way in the application of control charts to assessing monitoring data against targets, thresholds and early warning indicators. Control charts align very well with EAG 17. They provide rigour and transparency to the adaptive management cycle and are suitable for a range of data types including plant health, population sizes, community structure and remote sensing.

For further information on the preparation of Condition-based EMPs or management and monitoring plans generally, please contact our Biodiversity Team via our online form or call us on (08) 9421 9600.

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