Project Update: Pacific Highway fauna monitoring
Niche Environment and Heritage, in association with Bowditch Group and Hills Environmental, is currently engaged by Roads and Maritime Services in an 8 year contract for environmental services for the upgrade of the Pacific Highway between the Oxley Highway at Port Macquarie and Eungai. The Pacific Highway upgrade is one of the largest road infrastructure projects in NSW.
As lead environmental consultants for the project, the Niche coordinates a team of 12 specialist environmental and engineering consultancies to deliver components covering water quality, air quality, soils, noise and vibration, acoustic treatment, traffic management, agriculture, an archaeological excavation and ecological monitoring of threatened species and mitigation measures such as fauna crossings, nest boxes, breeding ponds and a widened median.
Camera trap monitoring results
Our Port Macquarie ecology team has been undertaking monitoring of the fauna crossings installed on the now operational Frederickton to Eungai section of the upgrade.
“Camera trap monitoring has shown a number of the underpasses are being used by a range of native fauna, including reptiles, echidna, wallabies, bandicoots, and even the threatened Brush-tailed Phascogale,” explains senior ecologist Dr Radika Michniewicz.
“The monitoring also shows positive results from the camera traps on the glider poles in this section of the upgrade, with images of Sugar and Feathertail Gliders as well as a surprise visit by a curious Brush-tailed Phascogale.”
Upcoming surveys for the Port Macquarie team include the monitoring of nest boxes installed across a number of sites as compensatory habitat for a range of fauna.
“We hope to see high rates of use of nest boxes by targeted fauna, and it would be great to encounter some threatened species known from the area,” says Radika.
Working with Roads and Maritime, Niche will shortly be installing the next series of solar-powered cameras on the aerial crossings for the Kundabung to Kempsey project, which will mark the commencement of fauna crossing monitoring for this section of the upgrade.
The results of this monitoring are compiled into a report which will be available on the Roads and Maritime website.
Expert environmental services for road projects
Niche’s team has significant experience and expertise in the delivery of high quality multidisciplinary environmental services to road projects, coupled with detailed knowledge of the relevant federal and NSW legislation.