Who We Are

LUCAS MCKINNON

DIRECTOR AND PRINCIPAL ECOLOGIST 

Lucas is a Director and Principal Ecologist at Ecoplanning Pty Ltd, with over 18 years’ experience working in both the private and public sectors. Lucas has previously worked with the NSW Government in native vegetation and threatened species policy, as well as the on-ground regulation of private native forestry in NSW. Lucas has been a consultant ecologist for the past 12 years. Lucas is one of the most experienced offsetting practitioners in NSW, having been accredited under the former NSW Biobanking Scheme in 2010 (scheme established late in 2008). He has prepared numerous formal and informal biobanking assessments, including the first biocertification of land in south-western Sydney using the Biocertification Methodology 2011. He was also one of the first consultants accredited under the Biodiversity Offsets Scheme under the NSW Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 (BC Act) and has submitted many Biodiversity Development Assessment Report (BDARs), Biodiversity Stewardship Assessments (BSAs), Biodiversity Certification Assessment Reports (BCARs) numerous BSA Feasibility Studies.

Lucas has undertaken flora and fauna surveys across NSW and the ACT and has completed a Graduate Certificate in Ornithology. He has acted as an expert witness in the NSW Land and Environment Court. His highly developed skills in research, policy development and project management are complemented by his field capabilities in flora and fauna survey. Lucas has worked on a variety of small and large scale projects, including vegetation mapping, impact assessment, biodiversity offset strategies, flora and fauna monitoring, targeted threatened species surveys.

BRUCE MULLINS

DIRECTOR AND PRINCIPAL ECOLOGIST

For more than 25 years, Bruce has worked with a range of public and private clients in the mining, urban development, infrastructure and government sectors to design and implement solutions to complex ecological problems. For seven years, he managed the environmental consulting activities of Charles Sturt University, principally through the Johnstone Centre based in Wagga Wagga. He spent over 12 years at Eco Logical Australia, where he was leader of the Ecology and Assessment Team and Principal Ecologist. Bruce’s experience centres on NSW and the ACT, but extends across Australia.

Bruce is a Director and Principal Ecologist at Ecoplanning. He is experienced in the design and execution of ecological surveys, environmental impact assessment, the development of management plans, the biobanking assessment methodology and offsets, literature reviews and all aspects of project management. He can work through complex ecological issues and present solutions in logical and simple terms. Bruce is an accredited Biodiversity Assessment Method (BAM) Assessor and will apply a logical, rigorous approach to your planning or conservation project to deliver quality, effective and economical outcomes.

ED COOPER

OPERATIONS MANAGER | SENIOR ECOLOGIST

Ed joined Ecoplanning in early 2021, bringing with him a broad range of experience gained from a diverse mix of roles over his more than 10 year consulting career. Ed started his career in bush regeneration, where he built a solid understanding of land management practices that are now a vital part of the NSW Biodiversity Offset Scheme. Ed then moved into consulting and has spent the last 10 years developing his technical skills including plant identification and Plant Community Type (PCT) classification and terrestrial and aquatic fauna surveys. More recently, Ed has been developing his team leadership skills, mentoring junior staff, and ensuring positive client outcomes as a part of a large, multidisciplinary team.

Ed joined Ecoplanning as Operations Manager and Senior Ecologist to support the business’s next phase of growth. In his role as Senior Ecologist, Ed draws upon project experience in the development, transport, waste, water, defence, energy (including renewables) and minerals sectors. This project experience covers much of eastern NSW and Victoria, with a focus on the Sydney Basin. Ed enjoys working collaboratively with clients to deliver successful projects. He appreciates that no two projects are alike and enjoys the challenge of navigating the complexities associated with the entire project lifecycle, from early constraints consideration and optioneering, to planning and assessment, to construction management and operations. This whole-of-project mindset is a core value of Ecoplanning, where we look to build enduring relationships with our clients as a trusted advisor. In his role as Operations Manager, Ed is a valued member of the Senior Leadership Team, supporting the Directors, management and ecologists with their day-to-day operational requirements. Like all Ecoplanning employees, Ed focusses on building a supportive and collaborative culture and a diverse portfolio of exciting projects that make it fun to come to work.

LIZ NORRIS

SENIOR ECOLOGIST

Liz has 35 years botanical and ecological research experience in the Sydney Basin, Coastal New South Wales, Hunter Valley, and North and South-Western Slopes and Plains. She has a Bachelor of Science, a postgraduate certificate in electron microscopy and a Master of Science (Thesis) ‘A study of the soil and vegetation patterns within part of the Pilliga Forests, and an evaluation of the impact of European settlement on the vegetation’.

Liz has been involved in many systematic floristic surveys, targeted flora surveys, vegetation monitoring, the development of strategic conservation plans, other ecological assessments, and has served as an ecological expert to the NSW Land and Environment Court. She was an employee at the National Herbarium, Royal Botanical Gardens from 1982 – 2009, where she had a range of duties including various research projects and curation of the herbarium collection. Liz has extensive experience as a field botanist, has written species descriptions for the Flora of NSW, and has provided technical advice at flora workshops.

Brian

BRIAN TOWLE

SENIOR ECOLOGIST

Brian joined Ecoplanning in 2017 as a Senior Ecologist and brings over 15 years experience as an environmental consultant to the role. During this time he has worked primarily as a botanist, undertaking a range of projects with a particular focus on vegetation monitoring programs, vegetation mapping projects, threatened species management, targeted threatened species surveys, and a range of impact assessments. Brian has been involved in monitoring threatened species as part of the NSW Government’s Saving Our Species Program, large scale vegetation mapping and modelling projects including for the Murray Darling Basin Authority, wetland mapping for the NSW Government and mapping of endangered ecological communities for Ku-ring-gai Council.

An accredited Biodiversity Assessment Method (BAM) Assessor, Brian has highly developed skills in the identification of flora species and ecological communities. Brian is a recognised expert in orchid species having undertaken research into the ecology of native orchids and authored publications within peer-reviewed journals. He has also been approved as a species expert under the BAM for six native orchid species. Brian is regularly sought out by a range of clients, including government agencies, to provide advice on the habitat and management of these threatened orchid species and threatened flora species in general.

TAMMY PAARTALU

SENIOR ECOLOGIST 

Tammy is a senior ecologist with over 19 years consulting experience. She joined Ecoplanning in 2017 and has managed a diversity of ecological projects for clients, including local government, the Department of Defence and the private sector. She has worked in large environmental consultancies, including with Eco Logical Australia where she was the Sydney Ecology Team Manager. Tammy has experience in managing large field teams and preparing due diligence assessments, flora and fauna surveys, and ecological assessments in terrestrial and aquatic environments. She has extensive experience with federal approvals, including the preparation of Referrals and other approvals under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act), and was sought by the Commonwealth Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment (DAWE) to provide input to new EPBC Referral systems under development. She has highly developed skills in plant identification, vegetation mapping and classification, aerial photograph interpretation, vegetation and floristic monitoring and the Biodiversity Assessment Method (BAM). Tammy has worked on projects in a variety of locations throughout NSW, QLD, VIC and the ACT.

Tammy has undertaken and project managed large scale infrastructure projects, including linear infrastructure such as powerlines / energy generation, pipelines, road, rail, and wind farms. Tammy was the TransGrid relationship manager at Ecological Australia for the two years prior to joining Ecoplanning. She is an accredited BAM Assessor and has undertaken a number of Streamlined Biodiversity Development Assessment Reports (SBDAR) and BDARs throughout NSW.

Bret Stewart

BRET STEWART

SENIOR ECOLOGIST

Bret’s core interest is herpetology, which led to early involvement in herpetofauna surveys with university researchers while he was a junior high school student in the United States. Bret worked as a research assistant at University of California Davis which led to field studies in the Top End of Australia. Bret went on to work for the University of Canberra as a field biologist conducting research on river turtles in the Northern Territory. He has led field teams and been solely responsible for completing the field component of academic studies in landscape ecology, nesting ecology, and animal behaviour. Bret’s research has been cited over 200 times and has influenced land management decisions in California. Bret co-authored research that was published in the journal Animal Behaviour and featured in the BBC series Life in Cold Blood, for which Bret was a production assistant.

Bret began work as an ecological consultant in 2008. His consulting work focused on impact assessment, targeted surveys and fauna management in Western Australia, the Northern Territory, Queensland, and most recently in New South Wales. Since joining Ecoplanning in 2020, Bret’s work has mainly involved impact assessment and in-depth ecological studies, which has included detailed assessments of threatened fauna species post-bushfire and development of overarching management plans for large biodiversity offset areas. Bret has many years’ experience finding, capturing, and handling fauna, including venomous snakes and other potentially dangerous fauna. Bret is able to apply a sound understanding of local legislation, impact assessment, and flora and fauna management within NSW, together with a diverse background in ecological survey and research.

JO DALY

Senior GIS and Offsets Specialist

Jo has over 15 years experience in Geographical Information Systems (GIS), working in environmental consulting and state government. She has a range of GIS skills, using the ESRI suite of products (e.g. ArcGIS Desktop), including map production, vectorisation, digitizing and spatial analysis. Jo is required to manage spatial data efficiently and effectively. This includes managing the large quantities of data that are received and created as part of a project as well as working with datasets that cover a wide area.

Jo is familiar with the back-end database side of GIS as well as training and troubleshooting for users. In recent years, her consulting experience has involved the use of GIS to determine the inputs for the Credit Calculator for the Biodiversity Assessment Method (BAM) and former BioBanking Assessments.

JULIE PARKINSON

BUSINESS SERVICES MANAGER

Julie joined Ecoplanning in early 2021. She brings a wealth of experience in managing diverse teams from the mining, agriculture and aviation sectors including valuable knowledge from nine years at Tropicana mine in Western Australia. From a startup site to one of Australia’s leading gold producers, she was instrumental in building and mentoring the administration team from several small teams and employers to an amalgamated, synergetic team.

In her role as Business Services Manager, Julie is a member of Ecoplanning’s Senior Leadership Team and ensures the day-to-day running of the administrative functions that support the business. Julie thrives on continuous improvement, integrating processes to provide effective and safe work practices, and performance optimisation. She is passionate about motivating people to achieve their goals and strive for best performance.

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