Biodiversity is most simply defined as the variety of life on earth. All living things interact with one another in some form, having evolved over millions of years to form complex inter-relationships that are integral to ecosystem function. Protecting and enhancing biodiversity is essential for the long-term sustainability of nature and our way of life. Despite the small size, isolation and relatively degraded condition of the City of Canada Bay’s natural environment, the area retains a surprisingly diverse range of plants (Flora) and native animals (Fauna).

Studies carried out by ecological consultants in 2002/2003 revealed that there are a total of 159 different plant species that are unique to the lower Parramatta River area present in the City of Canada Bay, including one vulnerable plant species called Narrow-leaved Wilsonia (Wilsonia backhousii) and three endangered ecological communities, these are:

  • Sydney Turpentine-Ironbark Forest.
  • Coastal Saltmarsh in the Sydney Basin Bioregion.
  • Swamp Oak Floodplain Forest.

The studies found that there are 11 species of native mammal; 86 species of native birds; seven native lizards, one freshwater turtle and six native frog species within the City of Canada Bay. It is highly that likely that a more comprehensive natural area survey would reveal an even greater number of species.

For further information regarding the City's biodiversity, the following documents are available to download:

Despite our relatively long history of European Australian occupation in the area, and the scale of landscape modification over the last two hundred years, there still remain a number of types of natural areas types including threatened species in the City of Canada Bay.

Threatened species

Threatened species are plants and animals that are recognised as being at risk of extinction in the wild. In NSW, these native plants and animals are protected and their recovery managed under the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016. The City of Canada Bay provides habitat for three Endangered Ecological Communities (EECs) and one vulnerable plant species. The Local Government Area may also provide foraging habitat to vulnerable bat and frog species that are known to occur in the adjoining Bicentennial Park.

Sydney Turpentine-Ironbark Forest

Sydney Turpentine-Ironbark Forest is by far the most common vegetation type in the City of Canada Bay. It existed on the fertile, deep, Wianamatta Shale derived clay soils of Concord, Concord West, North Strathfield, Canada Bay and parts of Five Dock.

The widespread loss of Sydney Turpentine-Ironbark Forest throughout the Sydney Basin has resulted in its listing under Division 5 of Part 2 of the NSW Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 as an Endangered Ecological Community.

Further recognition of the vegetation community’s conservation value is provided by the Federal Government, which has listed Sydney Turpentine-Ironbark Forest as Critically Endangered under the Commonwealth Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (1999). The City of Canada Bay is actively working to ensure the protection and recovery of this community within the Local Government Area.

Coastal Saltmarsh

The City of Canada Bay is one of the few Council areas in Sydney where Coastal Saltmarsh vegetation communities still survive. This assemblage of salt tolerant species grows in the inter-tidal zone, usually behind a band of protective mangroves. Coastal Saltmarsh is listed as an Endangered Ecological Community under the NSW Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016.

This vegetation community occurs in the intertidal zone on the shores of estuaries and lagoons. In the City of Canada Bay it is frequently found on the landward side of mangrove stands. Saltmarsh in the City of Canada Bay is characterised by Sea Rush (Juncus kraussii), Samphire (Sarcocornia quinqueflora), Salt Couch (Sporobolus virginicus), (Ficinia nodosa), Austral Seablite (Suaeda australis) and Coast Couch (Zoysia macrantha).

Swamp Oak Floodplain Forest

This vegetation community is associated with the areas usually occurring on salty floodplain areas and is characterised by the following:

  • Tree species – include Swamp She-oak (Casurina glauca) and Paperbarks (Melaleuca spp.)
  • Groundcover plant species – include Centella (Centella asiatica), Scurvy Weed (Commelina cyanea), Spotted Knotweed (Persicaria decipiens), Tall Sedge (Carex appressa), Saw Sedge (Gahnia clarkei), Mat Rush (Lomandra longifolia), Basket Grass (Oplismenus imbecillis), and Harsh Ground Fern (Hypolepis muelleri).

The widespread loss of Swamp Oak Floodplain Forest throughout the Sydney Basin has resulted in its listing under Division 5 of Part 2 of the NSW Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 as an Endangered Ecological Community.

Vulnerable Plant Species

Narrow-leaf Wilsonia (Wilsonia backhousii), is a saltmarsh herb that is only known to occur in two locations in the Sydney Basin, one of which is in the City of Canada Bay. Wilsonia is a perennial mat forming herb with white flowers.

Wilsonia is 'vulnerable' due to a decline in available habitat, its inability to recover quickly from damage and changes in salinity regimes. Wilsonia has been listed as vulnerable under the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016.


Bushcare is a volunteer program that enables community members to participate in the restoration, enhancement and maintenance of natural areas within the City of Canada Bay.

Council's Bushcare program provides support to Bushcare groups (existing and new), and supplies all necessary training, supervision, tools, materials and equipment for their projects.

Why we need Bushcare

The City of Canada Bay's natural areas require regular and ongoing attention to preserve their ecological value and biodiversity.

Bushcare sites

The City of Canada Bay area has a wide variety of natural areas where Bushcare groups work such as Sydney Turpentine-Ironbark Forest, foreshores containing remnant and restored sandstone vegetation, and estuaries with Mangroves and Coastal Saltmarsh communities.  

Current areas where Bushcare groups work include:  

  • Arthur Walker Reserve, Queen Elizabeth Park, Lovedale Place, Rothwell Park, Shadrack Shaw Reserve 
  • Quarantine Reserve, Werrell Reserve, Figtree Bay Reserve
  • Prince Edward Park and Cabarita beach, Wangal Reserve 
  • Brett Park, Thompson Street jetty 

More information

Joining Bushcare

Joining Bushcare is easy all you have to do is contact Council's Bushcare Team Leader on 9911 6555, or email or complete the Bushcare Volunteer Registration Form.

New volunteers are always welcome!