How a covenant is created
As described under What We Do, one of the NCT’s key roles is to encourage an existing landholder to create a conservation covenant.
Typically, third parties fund the NCT to seek expressions of interest from landholders in a particular landscape to protect habitat that supports particular species. These third parties may include conservation groups, natural resource management bodies such as the LLS, the NSW Government, and the Australian Government.
Once funding is in place, Expressions Of Interest are sought from landholders in a district via local and social media.
Property Covenant Criteria
Before a covenant can be created, the conservation significance of the property is assessed for suitability in accordance with the NCT conservation criteria. These criteria are adopted by the NCT Board and endorsed by the NSW Minister for the Environment.
The NCT gives preference to properties with the following high wildlife and habitat values:
Biodiversity: properties with unusually high species richness, vegetation diversity or that support examples of regional vegetation communities in good condition or in moderate condition with high potential for resilience and recovery.
Communities & Ecosystems: vegetation communities and ecosystems that are poorly represented at a sub-regional level in existing public reserves, or that have a high national, state or regional conservation priority, and that are in good condition and likely to benefit from covenanting and on-going management
Threatened Species: habitats or populations of State and Commonwealth listed threatened species that are viable and likely to benefit from covenanting and management Landscape Processes and
Climate Smart Conservation: vegetation communities and habitats that: contribute to maintenance of essential ecosystem processes; enhance landscape resilience; and support the ability of our biodiversity to adapt to the pressures of climate change.
Complementary & Consistent: alignment with the NSW National Parks Establishment Plan, alignment with NSW Biodiversity Strategy priorities, consistent with the National Biodiversity Strategy 2010 and alignment with Australia’s Strategy for the National Reserve System 2009 –2030.
Threat and Underrepresentation: Focus on biodiversity under threat from alienating, invasive and destructive activities and on bio-regions with less than 10% representation in the public reserve system
Getting the property covenant
If the rural property is considered suitable and the landholder wishes to pursue a covenant, we undertake the following steps:
- A ground-truthing assessment of the conservaiton values and a more thorough surveying of the property.
- Paperwork for the covenant is prepared. The Trust Agreement and Plan of Management is prepared by NCT and signed off by the landholder.
- Paperwork is lodged with the Land and Property Information Office and the Trust Agreement is registered on the title of the land.
- The landholder is officially welcomed into the NCT and recognised as one of a growing number of Australians making valuable contributions to Australia’s national reserve system.
They also receive an NCT Protected Habitat fence or gate diamond sign. The sign illustrates that the property is protected by a covenant and is part of the Nature Conservation Trust network.