Finley Solar Farm
Working with ESCO Pacific and Accent Environmental, Ecolink completed biodiversity assessments for the proposed Finley Solar Farm in southern NSW. Ecolink contributed these assessments to an Environmental Impact Assessment for the project, having undertaken threatened species surveys and BioBanking investigations within the footprint of the Solar Farm. Advice provided by Ecolink allowed ESCO to refine its development plan to avoid ecological sensitivities within the site, while still achieving the required megawatt capacity of the Solar Farm.
Frankston City Council ESO review
Ecolink recently completed stage one of a comprehensive review of the status of the Environmental Significance Overlay 1 within the Frankston City Council municiplity. This review investigated all of the native vegetation within the municipality to determine its current status and level of protection. The review saw us investigate the leafy Langwarrin Woodlands, the majestic River Red-gums of the former Carrum Carrum Swamp and the Banksia Woodlands of the foreshore strip (Client: Frankston City Council; May-October 2017).
Melton West Precinct Structure Plan Biodiversity Assessments
Ecolink undertook a comprehensive Biodiversity Assessment to identify areas of ecological importance within the area for the proposed Melton West Precinct, on behalf of the Melton City Council. This was an important project that included large-scale, precinct wide mapping of vegetation, identification of significant species and targeted threatened species surveys for the following nationally threatened species:
- Spiny Rice-flower;
- Golden Sun Moth;
- Growling Grass Frog;
- Swift Parrot; and
- Striped Legless Lizard.
The project also included strategic planning of the Precinct to minimise impacts to the ecological values of the region (Client: Melton City Council; December 2014–December 2015).
Environmental Water FLOWS studies
Ecolink has been practice leader in ornithology on a number of FLOWS assessments. In this role, Ecolink worked with a range of specialists to determine optimal environmental watering regimes within a number of river and wetland systems across northern Victoria. As practice leader in ornithology Ecolink provided expert advice in relation to restoring water regimes that would maximise bird abundance and species diversity and restore bird breeding to these systems. These projects include work at Dock Lake (April 2015), the Meran Lakes complex (June 2016) and the Pyramid and Serpentine Creeks, including an emphasis on returning water flows to the Red Gum Swamp at Durham Ox (Client: Jacobs and NCCMA; June 2014).
Jackson’s Creek, Sunbury Masterplan
In 2013 Ecolink collaborated with Fitzgerald, Frisby Landscape Architects to undertake a landmark project to determine the future of the Jackson’s Creek Corridor. For this assessment, Ecolink identified key ecological assets of the corridor, prioritised them and worked with the landscape architects to determine management actions to preserve and enhance them. This involved detailed literature reviews, community and other stakeholder consultation and habitat assessments (Client: Hume City Council; April 2013–October 2013).
Northern Connector Project, Adelaide
Ecolink was initially engaged by the Department of Planning, Transport and Industry to prepare an Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth) referral for this major road infrastructure project. A condition of this being a non-controlled action was ongoing monitoring and surveys of waterbirds potentially impacted by the construction of the Freeway. This includes pre-, during- and post-construction surveys at fixed locations in and around the construction area, which Ecolink undertake three times a year (Client: Department of Planning, Transport and Industry and LendLease; September 2015–2020).
Puckapunyal Military Base Avifauna Surveys
Ecolink has provided expertise as a sub-consultant to AECOM to undertake bird surveys for threatened woodland birds and nocturnal birds at the Puckapunyal Military Base. Identification of species by appearance and call was critical in this project that was a continuation of work begun by a now deceased ornithologist (Client: AECOM and Department of Defence; April 2015, April 2016).
Growling Grass Frog Habitat Mapping
Ecolink was engaged to undertake habitat mapping for Growling Grass Frogs throughout Melbourne’s north-western growth corridor for the Victorian Planning Authority (VPA). The purpose of this project was to help the VPA determine land use priorities within new Precinct Structure Plan areas that potentially supported the nationally Vulnerable Growling Grass Frog (Client: VPA; July 2015–April 2016).
Gas Pipeline Ecological Audits
Ecolink collaborated with ERIAS Group to provide a ‘Line List’ of ecological values along 100’s of kilometres of gas pipeline across Victoria. The purpose of the assessment was to create an inventory of ecological features to allow the owners of the pipeline to manage their assets in a safe and ecologically friendly manner (Client: APA Group; June–September 2016).
Warburton Gas Pipeline
Prior to the installation of a reticulated gas service to the township of Warburton, Victoria, Ecolink undertook a detailed biodiversity assessment of the proposed pipeline route. This helped inform the construction methods to be used to install the pipeline, to minimise impacts to ecological values in this environmentally sensitive area (adjacent to the Yarra River). Ecolink also engaged aquatic ecology specialists to undertake targeted surveys for Burrowing Crayfish Engaeus spp. to determine if threatened species occurred, or were likely to be impacted, within the works zone (Client: Comdain Infrastructure; November 2014–current).
VicRoads Northern Region Road Improvement Works
Ecolink has developed a close relationship with VicRoads Northern Region, providing a number of Biodiversity Assessments across northern Victoria. The projects focus on the impacts to native vegetation of road safety upgrades and accounting for vegetation offsets that VicRoads provides for impacts to native vegetation as a result of these works. A key goal and outcome of these assessments is the reduction of impacts to native vegetation. Ecolink also provides advice in relation to threatened flora and fauna species and have prepared Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth) referrals for environmentally sensitive projects. Recent projects include works on the Pyrenees Highway at Newstead (November 2015–December 2016); the Gisborne-Kilmore Road (September 2015–January 2016); at an intersection in Bolinda Creek (July–November 2015); the Jock Comini Rest Area Biodiversity Assessment (March–May 2015); the Gisborne-Melton Road (November 2013–February 2014); the Bendigo-Pyramid Road (August–September 2014); in Lockwood and Shelbourne (December 2013–February 2014); and on the Pyrenees Highway, Castlemaine (October–November 2013).
Ecolink has undertaken hundreds of Biodiversity Assessments for a variety of clients in the past four years. These assessments range from large to small, from straightforward to complicated. For these projects, we work with the proponent to determine the ecological values of the subject site and explain the process for achieving planning permit permission by providing advice in relation to relevant state and national legislation and policies.
Kangaroo Management Plans
Ecolink has prepared more than 20 separate Eastern Grey Kangaroo Management Plans for developers within Melbourne’s Growth Areas. These Eastern Grey Kangaroo Management Plans have been endorsed by the Melbourne Strategic Assessment team at the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning to meet conditions of planning permits issued for the developments. During these project, Ecolink has collected an extensive data-set of kangaroo observations and movements, which ensures that the information presented to the regulators is complete and accurate and facilitates the quick and smooth compliance with this condition of a planning permit.
This is just a sample of the works that we have undertaken recently. If you would like more information on these projects or any others, or would like to enquire to see if we can help you protect or manage your ecological values, please don’t hesitate to contact us.