Environmental risk management plans
An Environmental Risk Management Plan—commonly referred to as an ERMP—is a property management plan to minimise the risk of sediment, herbicide and nutrient run-off affecting the health of the Great Barrier Reef, while keeping the land in optimum productive condition.
Properties that use more than 70 ha to grow sugarcane in the Wet Tropics (PDF, 1.1M)* catchment and cattle grazing properties of more than 2000 ha in the Burdekin Dry Tropics (PDF, 1.1M)* need to submit an ERMP to the Department of Environment and Resource Management by 30 September 2010.
An ERMP will help sugarcane growers and cattle graziers reduce their risks to reef water quality by:
- identifying potential risks and hazards – situations or geographical features that, if poorly managed, could threaten water quality
- describing current practices used to manage adverse effects on water quality
- developing reasonable and practical actions to improve these practices where necessary
- setting targets to measure and monitor progress.
Once an ERMP is submitted it will be assessed by the department within 60 business days. If the plan meets the criteria it will be accredited for a stated term. If the plan does not meet the criteria, a reef protection officer will make contact to discuss a way forward.
Providing detailed information that best describes your land management system may enable a longer accreditation term to be granted, and will also reduce the need for the department to request further information at a later date.
An industry and government working group has developed a simplified ERMP for graziers in the Burdekin Dry Tropics catchment who are grazing cattle on more than 2000 ha.
This document is available on the AgForce website and may be used instead of the existing ERMP form - although marked "Draft", it is acceptable as is.
Once an ERMP is submitted, it will be assessed by the department within 60 business days. Reef Protection Officers use a set of accreditation principles and criteria (PDF, 76K)* to guide their decision making.
During assessment, an officer may request further information to clarify any elements of the ERMP. If the ERMP meets the criteria, it will be accredited for a stated term.
An easy-to-read Landholders Guide (PDF, 665K)* on ERMP accreditation outlines the criteria used to assess ERMPs and the standards required for a one, three or five-year accreditation term.
Accreditation involves the assessment of: the information in an ERMP; any geographical information specific to the property; how the current and proposed mix of practice, farm or property design and infrastructure are or will be managed to minimise risk to reef water quality; and, the accreditation term.
DERM cannot change an ERMP without consent and will take steps to clarify certain things or to suggest changes or alternative actions. Once the ERMP is accredited, requests can be made at any time to amend it, for example to reflect a change in circumstances or management approach.
Landholders who have an accredited ERMP must provide an annual report to the department by the end of March each year, outlining the previous year’s progress towards implementing the ERMP. The annual report template will be provided to landholders in January to complete and send back to the department.
- Completing your grazing annual report (PDF, 42K)*
- Completing your sugarcane annual report (PDF, 42K)*.
For more information, go to frequently asked questions about ERMP.
* Requires Adobe Reader
Last updated 24 February 2012