The Park's rich biodiversity includes over 400 native plant species and over 250 native animal species. It includes 3 endangered ecological communities, over 200 species of native bird, 7 species of frog, 10 species of bat, 15 species of reptiles, native fish species, many thousands of species of invertebrates, protected marine vegetation, and three threatened plant species.
This high species diversity and abundance in the geographic centre of a large and modern city contributes to Sydney Olympic Park's high ecological, aesthetic and educational values.
Many of the species and ecological communities dependent upon the Park's habitats were once widespread in Sydney but are now uncommon in urban areas. These are of conservation significance at a local, regional, state, national or international level. The Park's habitats also provide a stepping stone for nomadic fauna species moving between urban habitats, and a drought refuge for species from western New South Wales.
Species and habitats of particular conservation significance include:
- Three "endangered ecological communities", listed under the Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995 (Coastal Saltmarsh; Swamp Oak Floodplain Forest; Sydney Turpentine Ironbark Forest). The Turpentine Ironbark Forest is also listed as ‘critically endangered’ under the Commonwealth Environment Protection Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.
- The largest stands of Mangrove Forest (protected estuarine vegetation) and Coastal Saltmarsh (endangered ecological community) along the Parramatta River estuary
- The only remaining example along the Parramatta River estuary of a complete zonal succession of eucalypt forest, saltmarsh, mangroves and tidal mudflats. Almost all other similar sequences have been cleared in the Sydney Basin.
- Estuarine habitats along the Parramatta River utilised by migratory shorebirds, listed under international agreements between the governments of Australia, China, Japan and Korea.
- One of the largest remaining populations of the Green and Golden Bell Frog, listed as an endangered species under the Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995, and as a vulnerable species under the Commonwealth Environment Protection Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.
- The saltmarsh plant Wilsonia backhousei, listed as 'vulnerable' under the Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995. The saltmarsh community also supports two species of restricted distribution and local conservation significance - Halosarcia pergranulata and Lampranthus tegens.
- The only known maternity roost of the White-striped Freetail bat in the Sydney area, established in the roof and wall cavity of a former explosives storehouse. Several other former explosive storehouses within the precinct also show evidence of recent use as maternity roosts by several bat species. The Park’s habitats provide a regional base for insectivorous bat species that rely on the Park for shelter and breeding habitat, but utilise urban habitats for feeding and movement.
- A rich avian diversity - a quarter of all bird species found in Australia have been recorded within Sydney Olympic Park.
- Latham's Snipe - a bird that migrates to Australia from Japan each year and is protected under international agreements between the governments of Australia, China, Japan and the Republic of Korea. Snipe can be found across the Park in permanent and ephemeral freshwater wetlands but Narawang Wetland, with its dense cover of sedges and grasses, is the primary stronghold supporting a Commonwealth-significant population.
- 'Woodland birds' - a group of small, mostly passerine birds, disappearing from surrounding urban habitats. The Park’s habitats provide a base for species that rely on the Park for shelter and breeding habitat, but utilise urban habitats for feeding and movement.
- Zannichellia palustris – a submerged aquatic plant, found within freshwater and slightly saline wetlands, listed as endangered under the NSW Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995.
Close encounters with nature
Much of the Park’s flora and fauna can be seen from bike trails, walking paths and scenic boardwalks within the Park. Visit What's On for more information on nature-based activities.
One of the objectives of the Park is to ensure that animals are protected and can find natural food and shelter within the Park's habitats. Visitors to the Park can help to protect and conserve biodiversity by:
- staying out of sensitive habitats and keeping to the paths or mown grass areas.
- not feeding birds and animals, as this can encourage some species to become pests through changes in their behaviour. Feeding by visitors is not healthy for wild animals; it alters their diet and prevents them from performing their natural role in the environment.
Well behaved dogs are welcome on a leash in all areas except for:
- Newington Armory, Brickpit Ringwalk, unsealed paths in Narawang Wetland, and Badu Mangroves (in Bicentennial Park).
Owners should comply with the signposted 'no dogs' areas that are protecting sensitive habitats for local wildlife.There is also an off-leash dog area near P5a car park off Hill Road.