Yass Valley is home to some of Australia's most picturesque and diverse landscapes, characterised by grassland plains, gently rolling hills and green valleys which give way to the spectacular Brindabella Ranges. Within the boundaries of the LGA, there is one National Park, five Nature Reserves and one State Conservation Area.
There are also numerous endangered and vulnerable flora and fauna species, including the nationally endangered Regent Honeyeater (Xanthomyza phrygia), Spotted-tail Quoll (Dasyurus maculatus maculates), Wee Jasper Grevillea (Grevillea iaspicula), Golden Moths Orchid (Diuris lanceolata) and Hoary Sunray (Leucochrysum albicans).
Some sections of Yass Valley also contain two nationally listed Critically Endangered Ecological Communities - Natural Temperate Grassland of the South Eastern Highlands, and White Box - Yellow Box - Blakely's Red Gum Grassy Woodland and Derived Native Grassland (often referred to as "Box Gum Woodland").
Trees are a vital aspect to the character of the Yass Valley region. Both native and introduced species enhance the landscape, provide habitat for wildlife and provide the comfort of shade.
Clearing or pruning trees
The requirements for the removal of trees and native vegetation has recently gone through a suite of Land Management and Biodiversity Conservation (LMBC) reforms by the NSW Government that commenced in 2017. The new legislation details what is required to be considered when someone is seeking the removal of a single tree through to clearing areas of native vegetation. The NSW Government has developed the Sustain Invest Protect website which has information about clearing in different circumstances.
Given the recent changes in relation to the removal of trees and the clearing of native vegetation, please contact Council’s Planning Services Section in the first instance to identify whether you require a Permit to remove a tree or clear native vegetation.
If you have any concerns about the legitimacy of any tree removal, please call Council on 6226 1477 or report your concerns to the NSW Environment Compliance Hotline 131 555.
Neighbours and trees
Tree disputes between neighbours can be referred to the NSW Land & Environment Court in accordance with the Trees (Disputes Between Neighbours) Act 2006. Please note that Yass Valley Council does not have any legislative authority to deal with trees on your neighbour's private property. If you have issues with trees on your neighbour's property, contact the Community Justice Centre on 1800 990 777 in the first instance. If mediation attempts between neighbours fail, contact the NSW Land and Environment Court on 02 9113 8200.
Street and Park Trees
Street and park trees are maintained primarily by Council's Parks & Gardens staff. Removal of trees will only be undertaken where a risk to public safety or property has been identified. Parks and Gardens staff or qualified arborists contracted by Council prune trees on public land mainly for the purposes of clearing traffic sight distance or making traffic signs more visible, improving health, shape or safety of a tree, and removing obstructions to pedestrian traffic on footpath. Essential Energy and arborists under contract to them are the only other organisations/individuals with authority to prune street trees.
Maintenance of grass and any other surface material (aside from footpaths and other infrastructure provided by Council) on the nature strip is the responsibility of the person residing at the adjacent property.
In the interest of pedestrian safety it is essential to keep grass mown regularly during the growing season. Planting of gardens, trees or construction of any permanent landscaping is not permitted without written consent from Council. The nature strip should not be used for storage or discarding of rubbish. Failure to maintain a safe and tidy nature strip could result in fines. Maintenance of trees on nature strips is the responsibility of Council, however your assistance in ensuring the health and vitality of such a valuable asset to the community is appreciated.
There are two main ways you can help to protect the amenity of your street by caring for trees on the nature strip:
- Care with mulching - if you mulch the trees outside your property it is essential to leave some space for air circulation between the mulch and the tree truck. If mulch is placed right up against the tree trunk it can cause rot and affect the health of the tree.
- Avoid soil compaction - driving vehicles onto the nature strip around the root zone of a tree will compact the soil and can cause structural weakness or ill health in the tree. It is best not to drive vehicles under the drip zone of the tree canopy to avoid compaction damage.
Using waterwise plants in your garden saves water, time and money. There are a wide range of waterwise plants available that will grow well in our climate, bringing beauty to your garden and providing important habitat for birds, bees and other insects. For suggested species which are suitable for this area, view our "Recommended Native Plant List for Waterwise Gardens in the Yass Valley" below.
Using native grasses for lawns can also reduce the water requirements of your garden.
The Yass Gorge (the area along the Yass River between Flat Rock Crossing and the Yass Dam) has been a project that Council and Yass Landcare have been working on for over a decade. Since October 2014 Council has supported two Green Army teams and the Friends of Yass Gorge to clear weeds, create pathways and install benches and interpretive signs.
The Yass Gorge is significant for two main reasons:
- Natural bushland in the middle of an urban area – providing recreation opportunities for residents and visitors, and habitat for native plants and animals.
- Part of the Gorge contains the best example of Natural Temperate Grassland in the region (a critically engendered ecological community – which means that its extremely rare and must be protected).
This map shows the trails and infrastructure within the Yass Gorge. If you’re not able to walk the trail, you could instead drive to the end of Meehan Street and walk out to the rocks for a sweeping view of the whole Gorge.
Interpretive signs are installed in the Yass Gorge to inform visitors of the significance of this special place.
Plan of Management
In September 2017 Council has adopted a Yass Gorge Plan of Management (located below). It gives more information on the Gorge and why it’s important, and details the actions which need to be taken to protect the Gorge for many years to come.