Advice to the Environmental Trust

The NSW Environmental Trust is an independent statutory body created by the Environmental Trust Act 1998. The Trust is administered by the Department of Planning and and Environment. The Trust awards grants for environmental projects and supervises how they are used.

We work with the Trust, as requested, to provide advice on natural resource management evaluation and project design, particularly in regards to the Trust’s major projects funding stream.

Currently, we are working with the Trust on the following projects:

Evaluation of nature based tourism

The Environmental Trust requested us to undertake an independent evaluation of three projects, funded under the Grow Sustainable Nature-Based Tourism program, including the:

  • NSW National Parks Young Adults Brand Campaign
  • Commercial Tour Operators Small Grant Program
  • Wilder Quest Learning.

The NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service has been managing these projects since 2013-14 with $4.3 million funding from the Trust.

Our evaluation will determine whether the projects have achieved their desired outcomes, identify lessons learned and provide recommendations for future Trust projects in nature-based tourism.

In collaboration with the Trust, we developed an evaluation framework that was used to analyse key documents and interviews.

After completing a detailed analysis of projects against the agreed evaluation framework, we provided a draft evaluation report to the Trust for consideration. We are now finalising the report after incorporating the Trust's comments.

Evaluation of feral deer management

The NSW Environmental Trust has engaged us to evaluate the cost-effective cross-tenure feral deer management project.

The project is being managed by the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS), together with a range of community and research partners. The project has $9.2 million in funding from the Trust and a further $7.4 million in cash and in-kind contributions. The project is being delivered over an eight-year period, from July 2019 to June 2027. The project aims to develop new cost-effective, humane and coordinated control techniques for feral deer in NSW to ensure population levels can be managed sustainably by land managers into the future.

An evaluation framework for the project was prepared in July 2021. The evaluation of this project includes an early formative evaluation as well as a final evaluation.

The formative evaluation was completed in 2022 and found that:

  • Project establishment had been hindered by the Black Summer bushfires and COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The project is making up for lost time through effective operations management.
  • A greater focus on the project outcomes related to the management of feral deer on private land is required.

The final evaluation will be undertaken at the completion of the project.

Overseeing forest dieback research program

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