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Case study: Picton and Winmalee

Sydney Water is combining environmental and commercial responsibilities through 2 Biodiversity Stewardship Agreements at Picton and Winmalee.


In 2019, Sydney Water entered into its first Biodiversity Stewardship Agreement (BSA) at Picton, using land surplus to operational needs to benefit both the environment and commercial goals. 

A spokesperson for Sydney Water said, ‘It’s quite a large property … with beautiful native bushland that goes down a river embankment. Sydney Water does not need this part operationally, so it was ideal to set a BSA site there.’

Establishing a BSA site at Picton resulted in generating credits that Sydney Water has used to offset its own construction projects. The remaining credits were sold and, as a result, Sydney Water met its Total Fund Deposit (TFD) and is now implementing management actions that will result in biodiversity gain. 

Selling credits in a variety of ways proved fruitful. Sydney Water was able to sell the credits from its Picton site by having those credits visible on the public registers, and through the Biodiversity Conservation Trust, Credits Supply Taskforce and selling directly to proponents. 

Sydney Water found that establishing the first BSA was a long and complex process but it was a lot faster with the second site at Winmalee in 2022. For Sydney Water, it was clear that the process for entering into a BSA is becoming more efficient and easier. The spokesperson said, ‘It has been a pleasure working with the BCT and Taskforce to establish the Winmalee BSA.’

Like Picton, Sydney Water’s goal for the Winmalee site is that it ‘covers its land management expenses and contributes to the improvement of environmental values’. Both sites are in reasonable condition but through the management plan it’s expected that the sites will improve further and some areas will be revegetated. 

Management activities include addressing pests and weeds, fire management and creating conditions that support ecological restoration. Sydney Water is also interested in Cultural burning and will collaborate with local First Nations groups and the BCT to implement where possible. 

Offering advice to anyone interested in establishing a BSA, Sydney Water advises that it is important to understand the complex process and timelines.

The Taskforce continues to make it easier for landholders to enter into BSAs. Since 2022, landholders with the potential to generate in-demand credits can now obtain biodiversity assessments at no up-front cost, with repayment when credits are sold.

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Credits Supply Taskforce

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