In 2013 Terrain NRM was funded under the Australian Government’s Regional NRM Planning for Climate Change Program, to review the Natural Resource Management Plan for the Wet Tropics Region.
The primary purpose of this program was to enable regions to include climate change considerations into regional NRM plans. This includes identifying regional priorities for investment into carbon sequestration that also maximise the benefits for biodiversity, water and agricultural production.
The former plan, Sustaining the Wet Tropics 2004 - 2008, was overdue for review and so Terrain NRM decided to undertake a complete review of the NRM Plan.
A New Approach to Planning
Terrain NRM decided early in the review process that in order to best achieve the desired purpose of the NRM Plan, it wasn’t just an updated plan document that was required, but rather a new approach to planning.
It was agreed that the primary purpose of the NRM Plan would be to support better natural resource management decisions at all levels.
In order to be effective, Terrain identified that the plan needs to meet the following criteria:
- Meaningful – a wide range of people and organisations need to relate to what it contains and is trying to achieve
- Useful – it needs to provide people with useful information and assistance, otherwise it will not be used
- Current – it needs to be up-to-date to retain its credibility
This set of criteria, although short, is extremely challenging and can rarely be met through the traditional approach of preparing a large printed document. All too often those documents just sit on the shelf.
The new approach to planning is focussed on being more adaptive and nimble, ensuring that we can meet many needs and satisfy many interests, but also make ongoing improvements to meet all of the above criteria. For this reason, the new plan is being delivered online as a website.
Adaptive Planning and Management
A ‘planning by doing’ approach is being taken to reflect the fact that adaptive planning is a cycle that includes planning, action and a review and evaluation of the results.
The learnings are then used in the next phase of planning.
Adaptive planning is about making sure we monitor what we do so we can keep learning and doing things better.
As a community-based plan, great effort has been taken to involve the community in the planning process to ensure a broader plan ownership and community stewardship.
Since December 2013 when preliminary consultation began, Terrain NRM has had over 1,500 interactions with people directly relating to the NRM Plan.
Please note that some individuals have engaged multiple times.
A variety of opportunities have been provided to engage with the plan, including:
- 10 Local Landscape workshops
- 9 Technical workshops (4 of which related to water and catchment repair)
- 49 meetings with community groups
- Interactive presentations
- 147 3-minute surveys at regional events
- Online survey
- Logo design competition
- Photo competition
- Technical advisory groups (Spatial and Traditional Owner)
Now that the plan is complete the focus is shifting to ongoing monitoring, evaluation and continuous improvement.
Everyone is encouraged to provide feedback, comments and suggestions through the Feedback Form.
Check out the What's New page to see what has been added or updated.
Terrain will publish a Wet Tropics Plan Report Card annually to help everyone track progress towards the plan outcomes.