Vegetation Classification

Robbie Economos | Environmental Planner  Lake Macquarie City Council

This is just a friendly reminder to consultants that undertake flora and fauna surveys and ecological assessments,  in Lake Macquarie LGA that Council’s Flora and Fauna Survey Guidelines require the use of the Bell, S.A.J., Driscoll, C & Lake Macquarie City Council (2014) Lake Macquarie Working draft composite Vegetation Community Map 2014 and associated Map Units.

A copy of the current Lake Macquarie Working Draft Vegetation Community Map and the accompanying report can be found on Council’s web site at  by searching for vegetation mapping.

The Greater Hunter Mapping will not be accepted by Lake Macquarie Council for landscape, regional or local scale flora and fauna assessments given the inaccuracies that have been demonstrated with the line work and attribution within the LGA by Council staff and in the Upper Hunter Valley by Hunter 2005 refer to

The Greater Hunter Map Units are also considered too coarse for local application.”


Mat Bell, Senior Ecologist, Great Lakes Council

Further to Robbie Economos’ comment with respect to the use of Greater Hunter Vegetation Mapping in the Lake Macquarie LGA, I wish to note that:

  • Great Lakes Council staff will also not accept the use by Consultants of the recent Greater Hunter Vegetation Map products for a planning or ecological purpose due to the demonstrated inaccuracies in the line-work and attribution of this map product and the fact that the map units used are considered too coarse for relevant application.  As Council does not hold alternate, suitably-scaled vegetation community type mapping, it reminds Consultants that planning studies (for development, rezoning or other purposes) will need to be supported by subject-scale vegetation community investigations.  In this regard, it would be beneficial if Consultants contacted Council’s Senior Ecologist prior to the commencement of an ecological investigation to discuss project and site-specific ecological requirements.————————————————————————————————————

Daniel Williams, GHD

I am not sure the stance taken by Robbie and Mat is the best way to go. I would have thought the actual line work associated with any broad scale vegetation mapping needs refining on individual assessments via fieldwork.  I think we need to remember that assessments involving OEH and/or biobanking assessments are going to require veg typing in accordance with the new PCT’s which are linked to the OEH Hunter mapping project. Therefore, even if we were to use the mapping databases referenced by Robbie and Mat we are still going to have to reclassify the vegetation to match PCT’s. Perhaps a more constructive way to deal with this issue from the councils perspective would simply be to enforce ‘ground truthing’ of any mapping, including the new OEH Hunter mapping.


Robbie Economos | Environmental Planner  Lake Macquarie City Council

LMCC requires ground truthing and site specific vegetation community mapping for all development proposals, this is part of the Lake Macquarie Flora and Fauna Survey Guidelines and these are checked by the assessing officer.

The Lake Macquarie Council website has just been updated with a new report Bell, S.A.J., Driscoll, C (2015) Volume 1: Vegetation Mapping Report Lake Macquarie Local Government Area. Stages 1-6

 LMCC will in the near future be releasing detailed vegetation community profiles for all the Vegetation Map Units. Volume 2: Vegetation Community Profiles Lake Macquarie Local Government Area Working Draft v1.2. This document includes Greater Hunter equivalents for many of the Lake Macquarie Map Units.

Using these local documents provides for detailed local mapping that can then be converted to PCTs.  PCT equivalents have also been identified for the many of the Lake Macquarie Map Units and this work will also be made available in the near future.

LMCC has found in practice that Greater Hunter Map Units and PCTs are too broad for local and site specific work (some are not recognisable in the field). However, it is acknowledged they must be used for biobanking assessments. The method of data capture is not so different,  so it makes sense to use the more specific Lake Macquarie Map Units and then covert them as necessary for other purposes.