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Ecology

Species expert reports

Under the NSW Government’s ‘Biodiversity Assessment Method’, where the required targeted surveys for threatened species cannot be completed (including where land access is restricted) an expert report prepared by an approved species expert can be used. To be recognised as a species expert ecologists must demonstrate evidence that they are a well-known authority on the relevant species. Ecoplanning Senior Ecologist Brian Towle is an approved species expert for six orchid species and has prepared numerous expert reports for NSW Government infrastructure projects.

 

Kangaroo population assessments

Ecoplanning have been conducting kangaroo population and density assessments, and kangaroo impact assessment on vegetation, soil surface and EPBC Act listed TECs in southern NSW and northern Victoria at selected sites since 2018.  Kangaroo population and density estimates have been calculated in the program Distance, and based on walked line transect data.  Floristic data from grazed and ungrazed plots have been compared statistically to observe trends between treatments and over time.  Further transects surveyed to record species assemblage are used to determine the extent of EPBC Act listed TECs and ground cover composition and soil crust integrity.  All data and reports are used to inform land management actions.

Planning

Maguires Road, Maraylya three lot subdivision – Biodiversity Development Assessment Report (BDAR) and Vegetation Management Plan (VMP)

Ecoplanning recently completed a BDAR for a small three lot subdivision on Maguires Road, Maraylya, NSW. The site contained several constraints including threatened species and intact native vegetation. Very careful consideration of the vegetation was required to confirm the absence of threatened ecological communities. The heavily vegetated site required a comprehensive bushfire assessment and Ecoplanning prepared a supporting Vegetation Management Plan to balance the needs of the ecological values with the asset protection requirements. Ecoplanning provided clear and concise planning advice to our client, allowing them to demonstrate the avoidance and minimisation of impacts as well as understanding the potential offset liabilities associated with various subdivision and building envelope layouts.

 

Proposed Data Centre, Huntingwood

A proposal to construct a data centre in Huntingwood triggered the Biodiversity Offset Scheme due to it being State Significant Development.  Ecoplanning was engaged to undertake the ecological assessment.  We conducted a staged approach to the assessment, initially preparing an ecological constraints assessment (ECA), which helped our client design the development to avoid and minimise impacts to ecological values at the site.  Once a site plan was prepared sensitive to these values, a Biodiversity Development Assessment Report was prepared to address the residual site impacts, and a Flora and Fauna Management Plan was prepared for the retained vegetation and waterways in accordance with the Huntingwood Precinct DCP.

Offsets

Biodiversity Stewardship Feasibility Assessment (BSFA), Menangle.

Landholders who are considering the merits of entering into a Biodiversity Stewardship Agreement engage Ecoplanning to prepare a Biodiversity Stewardship Feasibility Report (BSFR). Ecoplanning recently prepared one of these reports for a landholder in Menangle. The BSFR validated vegetation mapping, collected data in BAM plots and calculated the Vegetation Integrity score and likely credit generation potential of the property in the BAM calculator. In addition, Ecoplanning estimated the potential Total Fund Deposit required for site management and reviewed current trading prices for the PCTs that were identified on the property to help determine whether entering into a formal Biodiversity Stewardship Agreement was practical and financially feasible.

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