Image credit: DOI/Neal Herbert

posted 25 June, 2024

Playing our part in Emergency Preparedness

Across the globe, climate patterns are changing, which is contributing to more frequent and severe natural disasters and emergency events. In recent years, southern Tasmania has faced increasing challenges posed by disasters and emergencies, including storms, bushfires, flash floods, and biosecurity incursions. These events threaten human lives, property, and food supply and can have significant impacts on biodiversity and primary production.

As southern Tasmania’s leading natural resource management organisation, NRM South has over two decades’ experience working across sectors to help improve the resilience of our landscapes – and those who depend on it – to the impacts of these risks. From biosecurity campaigns to drought resilience measures, weed control to flood recovery initiatives, our organisation plays an important role in enhancing our preparedness and response to risk mitigation.

Southern Tasmania’s unique situation

Image credit: Nathalie Laurence

Southern Tasmania is home to internationally recognised areas of exceptional environmental significance, including Ramsar-listed wetlands, UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Important Bird (IBAs) and marine biodiversity hotspots. Our natural assets also underpin a rich and diverse network of primary producers and our important tourism sector.

However, our unique temperate ecosystems are particularly vulnerable to events such as bushfires, floods, and coastal hazards. The 2019-20 Black Summer bushfires and other recent environmental disasters (2006 East Coast Tasmania bushfires, 2013 Dunalley and Tasmanian bushfires, 2018 Hobart flash flood, and 2018-2019 Tasmanian bushfires) have emphasised the urgent need for comprehensive emergency preparedness and response plans tailored to the region’s natural assets and specific challenges.

NRM South’s role

In 2023, the departments of Climate Change, Energy, Environment and Water (DCCEEW) and Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) contracted NRM South to prepare a Biodiversity and Agricultural Natural Capital Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan (EPR Plan).

The first of its kind, the EPR Plan outlines how NRM South can collaborate with the agencies responsible for emergency preparedness and response in southern Tasmania. This includes efforts to enhance the resilience of biodiversity and agricultural assets. By recognising the risks and threats posed by disasters and undertaking planning to improve outcomes through actions and management Before, During and After an emergency event, NRM South is helping to support preparedness and recovery.

The development of the EPR Plan reflects a proactive approach to addressing the growing challenges posed by disasters for natural assets in southern Tasmania. By leveraging local knowledge, stakeholder engagement, and strategic partnerships, NRM South aims to enhance the region’s resilience and safeguard its natural assets for future generations.

The EPR Plan will be publicly available on NRM South’s website soon.