Agriculture Stewardship
Enhancing Remnant
Vegetation Pilot
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A pastoral landscape

The Enhancing Remnant Vegetation Pilot (ERV Pilot) is trialling mechanisms to pay farmers for protecting and enhancing the condition of remnant vegetation.

Farmers who participate in the ERV Pilot must protect and enhance the condition of existing remnant vegetation for 10 years.

Revegetation can be undertaken as part of an ERV project but only where it is designed to enhance the condition of existing remnant vegetation.

Remnant vegetation is uncleared native vegetation or regrowth native vegetation that, with appropriate management, could achieve the structure and composition of the original native vegetation community in the next two decades. For the avoidance of doubt, remnant vegetation includes natural features such as rock outcrops and wetlands.

ERV project areas

ERV projects must contain one or more areas of remnant vegetation (called ‘remnant management areas’). Remnant management areas must consist exclusively of remnant vegetation, with the exception of small features like cleared fence lines and management tracks that do not, in aggregate, constitute more than 5 per cent of the area.

Revegetation can be undertaken as part of an ERV project in nominated ‘revegetation areas’. However, in aggregate, revegetation areas must not constitute more than 20 per cent of the total project area. Revegetation areas must also directly adjoin a remnant management area and be designed to enhance the condition of the remnant vegetation (e.g. by providing a buffer or linking two or more areas of remnant vegetation).

Management activities

Applicants must undertake one or more of the eligible management activities in order to enhance the condition of the remnant vegetation:

The requirements governing the conduct of the management activities are contained in the Management Protocols.

Biodiversity enhancement payments

Successful applicants will receive biodiversity enhancement payments over the 10 year project period. The payments will have two components:

Rent component

The rental component will be calculated on the basis of the estimated value of the total project area (i.e. both the remnant management areas and any revegetation areas) and be paid annually over the 10-year project period. Payments will rise by 3.5 per cent annually to account for increasing land values.

For the avoidance of doubt, the Australian Government will not lease or take any other legal proprietary interest in the project area.

Management activity component

The management activity component of the biodiversity enhancement payment is designed to cover the cost of the management activities. The payments will be made annually and align with the performance of the management actions. Where projects involve large initial outlays (e.g. fencing, new water points and revegetation), the payments will be front-loaded to help cover the upfront establishment costs.

The management activity component will be calculated using the cost estimates submitted by applicants. However, these estimates will be subject to caps applied to each relevant cost component. If an estimate submitted by an applicant for a cost component exceeds the relevant cap, the cap price will replace the applicant’s estimate when calculating the payment offer.

Project selection

Projects will be selected having regard to their ‘benefit-cost score’, which will be calculated using biodiversity benefit scores (benefit) and possible biodiversity enhancement payment offers (cost).

Biodiversity benefit scores will be based on the predicted future biodiversity value of the site and its contribution to regional biodiversity conservation. Generally and with all else being equal, projects will receive higher biodiversity benefit scores if they protect and enhance remnant vegetation that is of high regional conservation significance (e.g. from a vegetation type that is more extensively cleared).

Eligibility

Before applying to participate in the ERV Pilot, you must ensure you meet the eligibility requirements outlined in the ERV Guidelines. Key eligibility requirements include.

  • Your property must be at least partly in one of the six eligible pilot regions (see below).
  • Your property must be predominantly used for agricultural purposes (i.e. the majority of the land must be zoned for agricultural land uses and, at the time of the application, be used to operate a commercial agricultural enterprise).
  • You must have the legal right to control how the project area is used (e.g. you must hold freehold or leasehold title, or exclusive possession native title, to the land on which the project will be located). If you are a lessee, the term of your lease must run for the duration of the ERV agreement, otherwise you must apply jointly with the holder of the freehold title.

You cannot submit more than three applications in total, including as part of a group. If you submit more than three applications, only the first three will be considered and the remainder will be rendered ineligible.

Apply to participate

There are seven steps involved in making an application.

Step 1:
Plan your project. Amongst other things, your project planning should include the following.
  • Read the ERV Guidelines, Price Guide and Management Protocol to check eligibility and scope your project.
  • Read the ERV Application Guide. The Guide provides details on how to map your management areas using the ERV mapping tool (the tool is accessed by clicking on your NRM region below). The Guide also includes a worksheet that can be used while planning your project and gathering the information required to complete the online application form.
  • Use the ERV mapping tool to explore rent values, conservation priorities and remnant vegetation extent.
  • Discuss your proposal with your local NRM group and relevant advisors.
Step 2:
Map your proposed remnant management areas and revegetation areas using the ERV mapping tool.
Step 3:
Add your contact details on the application form.
Step 4:
For each remnant management area:
  • provide information on the condition of the land and its management history
  • nominate the management activities you intend to undertake
  • provide details on the nature and intensity of the proposed management activities
  • provide details of the costs of the proposed management activities.
Step 5:
For each revegetation area:
  • provide information on the condition of the land
  • nominate how you intend to revegetate the area
  • provide details of the costs of the proposed revegetation and associated recurrent management costs.
Step 6:
If you want to, nominate an alternative rental payment that is lower than the estimate provided on the web portal (in order to increase the competitiveness of your application).
Step 7:
Submit your application
Choose a NRM Region to start your application (available for desktop and tablet only)
NSW

Central West

New South Wales
SA

Eyre Peninsula

South Australia
TAS

North NRM Region

Tasmania
VIC

North Central

Victoria
QLD

Burnett Mary

Queensland
WA

South West Region

Western Australia

More information

The ERV Guidelines, Management Protocols and other information on the ERV Pilot is available from the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment.

Agricultural Stewardship website and application created with support by
Department of Agriculture Water and the EnvironmentAustralian National UniversityFlintproCogent