Jocelyn Dela-Cruz

Jocelyn Dela-Cruz

Jocelyn is a Senior Team Leader and Principal Scientist at the NSW Department of Planning Industry and Environment. She leads the Place Based Science team, which undertakes scientific research to inform evidenced based policy and decision making. Over the last 5 years, Jocelyn’s research has underpinned state-wide reforms on water quality and waterway health management, with an explicit focus on the need for integrated land use planning to deliver resilient and liveable cities.

Identifying High Value Waterways And Water Dependent Ecosystems In South Creek – Home To The Western Parkland City, In New South Wales Australia

South Creek is located on the Cumberland Plain in Western Sydney, Australia. It is characterised as a floodplain with a network of perennial and intermittent flowing tributaries that collectively drain into the larger Hawkesbury-Nepean River system. Over the next 40 years much of South Creek’s catchment will be urbanised to become part of the Western Parkland City, and home to over 1.5 million people. Considerable strategic planning of the urban footprint is underway to ensure that South Creek (and tributaries) provides a cool green corridor through the Western Parkland City, and be the core element of liveability and amenity for the residents.

Historical vegetation clearing and urbanisation in the South Creek catchment has resulted in altered hydrological and sediment regimes, and impacts on the geomorphology and ecology of the waterways. Yet, there are still many areas in the catchment that are of high ecological value. In this study, we identified strategic planning priorities for protecting and improving the health of high value waterways and water dependent ecosystems. We developed a method, based on the principles of systematic conservation planning, specifically recognising requirements in governing legislation but also local community expectations. The outcomes have informed urban typologies for the Western Parkland City, and contributed in a case for change to business as usual approaches to land use and water infrastructure planning. Current work is now underway to develop planning principles for stream rehabilitation efforts, and setting integrated water cycle management targets to ensure that the waterways and water dependent ecosystems can provide the essential services and functions expected of a cool green corridor.

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