ACT Ecology Forum
Posted on March 29, 2019
Our very own Dr Travis How, Director of EBS Group, gave a presentation at the Ecology Forum in Canberra on 13 March 2019. He used the monitoring of the Pygmy Blue-tongue Lizard (PBTL) (Tiliqua adelaidensis) at Hornsdale Wind Farm in South Australia, as a case study to demonstrate the benefits of a development for a nationally threatened species.
The Pygmy Blue-tongue Lizard is listed as nationally endangered under the EPBC Act. It was rediscovered in South Australia in 1992 and occurs only in the mid north of SA. The population is estimated at 10,000 across the 31 known locations. This species is only recorded in grasslands and lives in spider holes.
At the Hornsdale Wind Farm, multiple targeted surveys were undertaken, with a new population recorded which resulted in a range extension for the species. The habitat assessment, undertaken as part of multiple targeted surveys, was used to inform the design of the wind farm.
The approval conditions established by The Department of Environment and Energy (DotEE) relating to the PBTL included:
- All areas of potential habitat to be surveyed prior to construction;
- Avoid all areas of likely habitat;
- Establish an offset area of 3.1 ha; and
- Implement a research program.
As a result of the work undertaken by EBS Ecology and the approval conditions applied to the project, the following occurred at Hornsdale Wind Farm:
- No direct impact on PBTL’s;
- A new population and range extension for the species;
- Establishment of a large offset area, only the second conservation area to contain PBTL’s;
- Implementation of a long-term vegetation and PBTL monitoring program; and
- Completion of a two year research program.