Biosis, Setting the Standard

Victoria’s ‘Net Gain’ policy can be complicated and difficult. Biosis has pioneered an approach that enables project teams to negotiate complex issues around active management and monitoring of significant cultural and ecological sites.

Biosis has consulted to Places Victoria (formerly VicUrban) at Aurora since 1999. Covering over 650 hectares, Aurora is a very large housing development with considerable ecological and heritage considerations.

Biosis consulted on the rezoning and drafting of the Aurora Development Plan at a time when Victoria’s ‘Net Gain’ policy came into play. As such, the Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE) considers the development a case study for implementing its Net Gain policy.

Aurora is home to four nationally significant species for which Biosis undertook targeted surveying – Golden Sun Moth (GSM), Growling Grass Frog (GGF), Matted Flax-lily (MFL) and there is habitat for Striped Legless Lizard (SLL). Aurora also includes extensive Aboriginal camp sites and the archaeological remains of several German and Irish bluestone houses dating from the 1850s.

Biosis consulted on the successful approval submission required under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act before the Aurora development was given the green light.

Together with Places Victoria, Biosis is responsible for the creation and protection of 14 conservation reserves at Aurora. These reserves cover over 140 hectares and are habitat for important animal and plant species. Biosis has monitored the wellbeing of these species for over 5 years.

Crucially, with the leading expertise of Biosis consultants and our integrated assessments of ecology and heritage, we were also able to include many of the Aboriginal camp sites in the Aurora conservation reserves.

These sites have been protected with landscape architects creating interpretative schemes that celebrate our Aboriginal heritage and add value to the development for future property owners.

The Aurora conservation reserves are among the earliest managed ‘Net Gain’ offset sites in Victoria, in part because Places Victoria have been quick to take on innovations to improve the condition of conservation reserves.

The Aurora seed orchards are one such innovation. Here, seeds will be harvested to sow in degraded grasslands to provide healthier habitat and linkages between isolated patches. This means healthier plants and animals with more room to move.

The improved habitat for threatened species within the reserves is monitored continuously by Biosis and provides great insights that are of benefit to projects across the spectrum. This also includes a monitoring program for the Growling Grass Frog, which has been successfully translocated from an old farm dam into newly created wetlands along Edgars Creek.

There are now about a dozen preserved aboriginal sites and several historic archaeological sites which are retained, conserved and interpreted within a modern integrated planned residential community.

Biosis means you can design and manage your projects and developments to balance biodiversity, cultural heritage and daily use; habitat for plants and animals, links to our cultural past and life and work for people.

Today and tomorrow, know where you stand with Biosis.