Blue dots/Protected plants for rural landholders

What are the Blue dots/Protected plants?

Protected plants/blue dots are areas identified by the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (EHP) as a high risk area for containing rare plants.

They are based on Queensland Herbarium specimens of rare plants that have been sent in for identification at some time in the past (sometimes 40+ years ago). The location of this specimen is then buffered by a 2 km circle.

A copy of the blue dot maps are available on the last page of the vegetation maps, available at:

https://www.dnrm.qld.gov.au/qld/environment/land/vegetation/vegetation-map-request-form

What does it mean to a landholder?

If you have a blue dot on your property, you cannot clear native vegetation (like wattles and regrowth) in the blue dot without a permit or exemption from EHP. This includes areas of Category X/white on your property or in an area that has a PMAV.

However you are exempt to clear (i.e. do not need to contact EHP) if:

  • You are clearing to maintain fences, roads, stockyards or buildings
  • You are clearing a cropped area
  • You are clearing for a fire break or fire management line
  • You have a thinning or encroachment permit over the area from NRM

What do I need to clear a blue dot area?

To clear a blue dot area you need:

  • A flora survey by a botanist that meets the requirements of the Flora Survey Guidelines under the Nature Conservation regulation
  • An exemption notification or permit from EHP.

If the flora survey finds no rare plants, then a exemption notification (which is free) can be applied for with EHP.

If the flora survey finds rare plants, then you can either:

  • Keep 100 m from the plants, and apply for an exemption notification from EHP; or
  • Apply for a clearing permit from EHP to clear within 100 m of the plants.  A clearing permit application fee is currently $2,866.00 (as at 1 September 2017).

Can I get rid of the blue dot?

Currently no, however once you have an exemption notification, this allows the area to be cleared whenever. Clearing under a permit lasts for 10 years.

Can multiple properties be surveyed at once?

Blue dots on your property often covers your neighboring property as well. A flora survey can be used for both properties, meaning that survey costs can be shared between landholders.

How can Ecosure help?

Ecosure has several botanists that meet the requirements of a suitably qualified person under the Flora Survey Guidelines, and has had extensive experience in surveys and organising clearing permits for landholders when necessary. We have successfully negotiated permits for areas that contain rare plants to ensure a minimum impact on the grazing/agricultural operation is achieved, and legislative requirements are met.

For information on rural services, please contact our Rockhampton office on 07 4994 1000.