Ecology

Total Earth Care comprises a team of experienced ecologists who are practiced in ecological survey, assessment and monitoring.

Our team has expertise in the design and implementation of ecological services across various stages of a project from early planning through to construction and operation.

What Do We Offer?

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Flora and Fauna Impact Assessments (FFIAs) are commonly undertaken assessments to consider the likely impacts a development will have on biodiversity. FFIAs can be large or small depending on the scale of the development and are often a requirement from local council in the preparation of a Development Application (DA) where biodiversity is at risk. A FFIA will identify any threatened species, populations or communities likely to be present and where relevant will include a 'Test of Significance (5-part Test)' which will identify if the proposal would likely have a 'significant impact' on threatened biodiversity.

Tests of Significance (5-part Tests) are undertaken to assess if a development would have a 'significant impact' on a particular threatened species, population or community. 5-part Tests are commonly undertaken as part of a Flora and Fauna Impact Assessments (FFIA) and Review of Environmental Factors (REFs). 5-part Tests work through a standardised set of questions outlined in the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 (BC Act).

A Biodiversity Assessment Report (BAR) is a term that is sometimes used to generally describe Biodiversity Development Assessment Reports (BDARs), Biodiversity Certification Assessment Reports (BCARs) and Biodiversity Stewardship Site Assessment Reports (BSSARs). The term is also used interchangeably for some larger Flora and Fauna Impact Assessments (FFIAs) for projects that do not trigger a BDAR. A BAR can be prepared for a private or public client who are pursuing development approval under Part 4 or Part 5 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (EP&A Act) under certain conditions.

On 25 August 2017 the NSW Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 (BC Act) and Biodiversity Conservation Regulation 2017 commenced operation. The legislation introduced new frameworks for private land conservation, assessment of development proposals and biodiversity offsets. Under this legislation, a standardised method was prepared to allow for consistency within the industry. This method is called the Biodiversity Assessment Method (BAM) and in order to prepare reports under the BC Act, ecologists must be BAM Accredited.

A Biodiversity Development Assessment Report (BDAR) is a standardised document that is required for developments that meet one of the following triggers:

  • The amount of vegetation being removed relative to the size of the lot.
  • Whether or not there is likely to be a 'significant impact' on threatened biodiversity.
  • If the site is within the mapped 'Biodiversity Values Map'.

The BDAR itself describes the biodiversity assessment undertaken to identify the potential impact the proposal would have on biodiversity values on the site. The assessment must be undertaken by a BAM Accredited Assessor. The BDAR provides mitigation measures to avoid and minimise impacts and calculates the offsets required before the development can proceed.

This process can be complex. Our team can assist in advising if a BDAR is likely required for a specific development. When required our BAM Accredited Assessors can provide these reports for a competitive price.

A Biodiversity Stewardship Agreement documents the permanent agreement between a landholder and the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE) to protect a piece of land. This agreement was previously known as a 'BioBanking Agreement'. Biodiversity Stewardship Agreements typically generate 'biodiversity credits' required for the offsetting of the impacts of development elsewhere.

A Biodiversity Stewardship Site Assessment Report (BSSAR) itself describes the biodiversity assessment undertaken to identify the biodiversity values at the site. The assessment must be undertaken by a BAM Accredited Assessor.

When a development being proposed under Part 5 Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (EP&A Act), has potential for a significant impact on a threatened species, the proponent can choose to prepare a Species Impact Statements (SIS) instead of a Biodiversity Development Assessment Report (BDAR). The requirements of an SIS are standardised and set out in the Biodiversity Conservation Regulation 2017.

Flora and fauna monitoring programs are undertaken to observe a species or population over a period of time. Monitoring programs are often a consent condition of a development to monitor a species that has potential be impacted by construction or operation of the development. Grant projects and restoration projects may also require monitoring to assess the progress of a restoration project or the positive impacts a restoration project may have on protecting a species or enhancing their habitat. Monitoring programs can progress for many years and can provide exceptional scientific information to understand the ecology of a species.

Total Earth Care can provide advice on various ecological topics that relate to planning developments, specific species ecology or the biodiversity values of a specific property. Technical advice is often requested from our clients to understand the complexities of environmental legislation and policy relating to their proposal. Our team can provide technical advice for numerous applications including the independent review of ecological reporting, consultation with determining bodies (ie. local council, State Government), as well as creating localised fauna habitat.

Total Earth Care can provide project ecologist services for all projects from large infrastructure to housing developments. Our ecologists have extensive experience in fauna handling, as volunteer members of wildlife rescue groups, and can assist with pre-clearance surveys, clearing supervision and dam de-watering. Our team can also provide Nest Box Management Plans (NBMPs), installation and monitoring, and targeted flora and fauna surveys, translocation and monitoring.

A pre-clearance survey is undertaken prior to construction activities which would impact fauna or their habitat. It involves on ground work to identify hollow bearing trees, bush rock, threatened species and priority weeds. Pre-clearance surveys minimise the direct impact to fauna and flora by implementing methods and protocols to safely clear vegetation and species habitat.

The provision of nest boxes is often a consent condition for development that is removing species habitat including hollow bearing trees. Our team is experienced in the design and installation of nest boxes and their monitoring specific to the species which would utilise them. Our services are often utilised by private landholders and community groups who wish to enhance species habitat on their properties.

The role of an Environmental Management Representative (EMR) is to provide ongoing independent environmental advice during detailed design, construction and operation of a project. The EMR can often approve minor modifications to the project as it progresses and undertake community consultation regarding environmental issues. The EMR can monitor the compliance of environmental conditions of approval and safeguards and identify additional issues that may arise later in the project.

Translocation of species can be required when an activity would likely displace or disturb the entity. Translocation is also used in conservation activities to reintroduce viable populations in areas where the species is at a high risk of extinction. Our team is experienced in the translocation of a number of different species types (ie. snails, amphibians and mammals) which require specific methods due to their ecology. 

Ecology

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For further information about our Environmental Consulting services please contact William Thurston on 02 9913 1432 or send us an email by clicking below:

William Thurston

Divisional Head of Environmental Consulting