Our ecologists have extensive experience in all aspects of ecological assessment and flora and fauna habitat management. Our ecological consulting expertise includes:
- conducting flora and fauna surveys
- flora and fauna monitoring
- vegetation and fauna habitat mapping
- ecological impact assessments
- threatened species assessments & appraisals
- biodiversity management plans
- vegetation management plans
- roadside vegetation management plans
- Biodiversity Development Assessment Reports (BDAR)
- expert testimony
Biodiversity Development Assessment Reports
The Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016, together with the Biodiversity Conservation Regulation 2017, outlines the framework for addressing impacts on biodiversity from development and clearing. It establishes a framework to avoid, minimise and offset impacts on biodiversity from development through the Biodiversity Offsets Scheme.
The Biodiversity Assessment Method (BAM) is a scientific method that assesses biodiversity values – it calculates likely biodiversity losses from impacts at development sites and gains from conserving land at stewardship sites. Only accredited assessors can carry out a BAM assessment.
Our accredited Assessor Ecologist can undertake an assessment using the Biodiversity Assessment Method (BAM), where required, i.e. if a project exceeds the Biodiversity Offsets Scheme Threshold and write up the required report.
Some examples of recent projects include:
Normanhurst - Biodiversity Compliance Review
Molino Stewart was engaged by Hornsby Shire Council to review the ecological components of a development application for a group home to be located at Normanhurst. The development application included the removal of vegetation was part of a Blue Gum High Forest Critically Endangered Ecological Community (CEEC). Council requested advice as to whether the proposal has merit with regards to its biodiversity controls and legislation asked Molino Stewart for an Independent Biodiversity Assessment. This assessment recommended a biodiversity impact assessment was prepared by the proponent to support the development application and Molino Stewart also review this against relevant biodiversity controls and legislation to provide an independent opinion to Council.
Southern Heights Biodiversity Compliance
Molino Stewart was commissioned by Redbank Communities to work with the construction contractor to ensure compliance with the biodiversity related conditions of its development consent. This involved ecological pre-clearance surveys, supervision of the clearing of trees and inspecting the dewatering of the farm dams in the Dam 7 and 8 as the Southern Heights. Documentation was provided to outline how the environmental controls for the Southern Heights Precinct project were implemented during the construction works in accordance with the requirements of the approved development application.
Grose River Bridge Biodiversity Assessments
A condition of the Voluntary Planning Agreement between Hawkesbury City Council and the developers of the Redbank residential development at North Richmond is the construction of an alternative bridge crossing over the Grose River as part of the developer contributions. The proposed works include the construction of a new approximately 230m-long bridge, construction of a new intersection and upgrades to an existing intersection. Molino Stewart was engaged to undertake the aquatic and terrestrial biodiversity assessments in support of the Review of Environmental Factors prepared by Arup.
Ploughmans Vegetation Management Plan
Molino Stewart was engaged to prepare a Vegetation Management Plan for the Ploughmans precinct with particular attention paid to retaining and revegetating good quality habitat in the riparian corridor on-site. The VMP outlined several management zones requiring River flat eucalypt forest (RFEF) or Sydney Turpentine Ironbark forest (STIF) EEC vegetation community compositions. The vegetation areas also included areas where species were to be suitable for stormwater basins, overhead wire restrictions and for an area covered by an Aboriginal Heritage Impact Permit which restricted the use of machinery within the area. The plan also outlined weed removal and rehabilitation targets and monitoring points.
Ploughmans Nest Box Plan
Molino Stewart was engaged to prepare a Nest Box Management Plan for the Ploughman’s precinct to satisfy the conditions of approval associated with the subdivision. We provided a nest box management plan outlining the proposed location of 50 microbat boxes and 20 bird boxes and a monitoring and maintenance schedule. We also oversaw the clearing of several large E.Teritcornis trees to facilitate lot development.
Bathurst Regional Council Potential Stewardship Sites
Bathurst Regional Council is aiming to establish Stewardship Sites in order to gain monetary support for managing their natural areas in perpetuity. They own a large portfolio of land and would like nine (9) of these land parcels to be assessed for their suitability to be a Stewardship Site under the NSW Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016. Molino Stewart was engaged to assess these plots of land and provide recommendations. Key relevant tasks performed include undertaking ecological surveys using the BAM quadrat methodology.
Wollondilly Biodiversity Strategy and Offset Policy
Molino Stewart recently undertook a thorough update of Wollondilly’s draft Biodiversity Strategy and wrote an Offset Policy which would enable the Council to require offsets for vegetation clearance below the BOS threshold value. The Biodiversity Strategy included a review of the current legislation, plans and policies which impact the LGA, as well as a review of the native flora and fauna of the area, both threatened and non-threatened.
Lachlan Valley Way Cowra Shoulder Widening and Hazard Removal Biodiversity Assessment Report (Roads & Maritime Services)
Molino Stewart was engaged to prepare a Biodiversity Assessment Report for a proposal to widen the road shoulders, remove or protect roadside hazards and upgrade one intersection along a section of Lachlan Valley Way, south of Cowra. The proposal required the removal of mature native trees and rows of planted trees, as well as one creek crossing.
Minto Retirement Village Ecological Assessment
This 6ha site in the Campbelltown Local Government area is proposed to be developed for a retirement village. It has substantial areas of remnant bushland and a detailed ecological assessment was undertaken to inform the design and development application. Targeted surveys were undertaken for threatened species including Cumberland Land Snail and Koalas. Biodiversity offset costs were estimated by our accredited assessor. Molino Stewart has continued to provide a supporting role throughout the start of construction, with one of our ecologists attending to supervise the installation of nest boxes and removal of trees.
Dido St Kiama Ecological Assessment
Molino Stewart was engaged to prepare a flora and fauna assessment report to accompany a planning proposal for a re-zoning of a site in Kiama. The assessment focused mainly on the removal of a patch of Illawarra Sub-tropical rainforest EEC as raised by council and DPE as an area of concern warranting the preparation of the fauna and flora assessment report.
Green and Golden Bell Frog Management Plans
Facilitated nine stakeholder workshops in Sydney, Wollongong and the Hunter Valley to develop local management plans for key Green and Golden Bell Frog (GGBF) populations in line with the NSW and national GGBF recovery plan. Wrote nine Local GGBF Management Plans and developed a guide for the creation of GGBF friendly gardens and habitat for urban areas. Client Feedback: “A pleasure to work with. did a great job meeting and addressing the challenges of a complex project”
Halley Crescent Ecological Assessment
Molino Stewart was engaged to undertake a survey of a site for a proposed footpath to determine whether suitable habitat existed for threatened species such as the Green and Golden Bell Frog which may utilise the stormwater channel. The initial survey revealed that the site didn't contain habitat suitable for Green and Golden Bell Frogs. The findings of the targeted survey were detailed in a report to Council which formed part of the REF for the works and provided recommendations for suitable mitigation measures to reduce impact on threatened species. The report also included a Test of Significance for the Green and Golden Bell Frog.
Tudar Road Wetland and Vegetation Management Plan
Molino Stewart prepared a plan of management for an urban wetland which provides an important ecological attribute of permanent water contributing to the fauna values and conservation significance of Burnum Burnum Reserve, a core habitat in Sutherland’s Green Web. The plan of management took ecological values, water quality function and human use of the reserve into account. The local community was involved in the planning process through a workshop. Hydrologic, hydraulic and water quality modelling was undertaken to inform the technical assessment. The plan of management provided management options to remediate the wetland and improve its integration into the ecosystem, improving and protecting water quality and riparian habitat values.
Ecological Assessment on Pacific Highway Upgrade – Woolgoolga to Ballina
Molino Stewart was engaged by Coffey to undertake ecological survey and assessments and supervise clearing for geotechnical and surveying works. This was part of the final design requirements for the upgrade of this section of the Pacific Highway. The Environmental Management Plan submitted for this work lists the requirement that in ecologically sensitive areas, all access routes for the drilling equipment shall be assessed and authorised by a qualified ecologist. This assessment must be undertaken prior to clearing of any vegetation. Ecologically sensitive areas included areas of known threatened flora or endangered ecological communities, koala habitat, riparian vegetation and habitat for the Oxylan Pygmy Perch (OPP) and threatened frog species.
Wedderburn Roadside Vegetation Plan
Molino Stewart was engaged to produce a Roadside Vegetation Operational Plan for the suburb of Wedderburn to guide Campbelltown City Council in the management of works associated with roads and roadsides. The conservation value of roadside vegetation was assessed and best practice guidelines for roadside vegetation management developed. The plan provided practical measures tailored to the roadside vegetation environments to ensure the roadside managers can undertake routine maintenance in a way that protects threatened species and endangered ecological communities and complies with all relevant legislation.
Ecological Constraints Analysis
Molino Stewart prepared an Ecological Constraints Analysis to support the Georges River Council’s Planning Proposal to rezone vacant land at River Road, Oatley for the purposes of aged care accommodation and ancillary services. The sensitivity of being adjacent to Myles Dunphy reserve, in proximity to the Georges River and bushfire prone land were issues considered in the assessment.
Bathurst Regional Council Potential Stewardship Sites
Bathurst Regional Council (BRC) is aiming to establish Stewardship Sites in order to gain monetary support for managing their natural areas in perpetuity. It owns a large portfolio of land and would like nine of these land parcels to be assessed for their suitability to be a Stewardship Site under the NSW Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016. Molino Stewart was engaged to assess these plots of land and provide recommendations. Key tasks performed included undertaking ecological surveys using the BAM quadrat methodology.