The Inland Rail is a freight network currently in development between Melbourne and Brisbane via regional NSW. The Inland Rail will significantly reduce freight transit times between Australian farms, cities and ports, reduce the number of trucks on major highways and provide much needed economic stimulus to regional communities.
Advitech Environmental’s accredited BAM ecologists were chosen to assist the development of the quarries as they have all the scientific licenses and capabilities required to undertake biodiversity assessments across any environmental landscape in NSW.
Advitech completed biodiversity assessments at the northern extent of the rail corridor in NSW, near Narrabri and Moree, and delivered the resulting Biodiversity Development Assessment Reports.
Initial field assessments identified important biodiversity values at the proposed quarry sites. This included the presence of a semi-evergreen vine thicket forest, a dry rainforest listed as an Endangered Ecological Community, and habitat that could support threatened species.
Under the BAM, threatened species are listed under two streams: ecosystem credit and species credit (also called candidate species). These streams determine the survey requirements for the site.
Targeted surveys are not required for ecosystem credit species because the likelihood of occurrence of these species (or elements of their habitat) can be predicted by vegetation and landscape features. However, candidate species require targeted assessment according to published guidelines.
Targeted assessments require surveys during a specified season. Candidate species can be recorded as present or absent according to habitat suitability assessments.
Without a seasonal survey, candidate species are assumed present over the entire vegetation zone(s) where suitable habitat is available. This precautionary measure can significantly inflate the number of species credits generated, resulting in expensive offset credits.
Where feasible for a project, offset costs can be significantly reduced by undertaking seasonal surveys – which can reduce the area where the species is assumed present.
Advitech undertook seasonal surveys for the quarry developments, which included searches for raptors and large forest owls. These species are associated with microhabitat features such as stick nests or tree hollows which are generally found in large, mature trees.
Get in touch with Advitech Environmental today and talk to us about your biodiversity assessment requirements. We also offer an integrated service with other specialised assessments available, such as for Aboriginal heritage, noise and vibration, air quality, dust and odour.
Our ecology surveys include (but are not limited to):
- Quadrats to determine vegetation integrity
- Habitat assessments and targeted threatened flora searches
- Diurnal fauna surveys including bird and reptile searches
- Nocturnal fauna surveys including spotlight search, call playback and stag-watching targeting large forest owls, small mammals and reptiles
- Deployment of camera traps for cryptic fauna and song meters to record microbat calls
For more information please contact:
Rod Bennison | Lead Environmental Scientist – Advitech
+61 2 4924 5400