Niche was commissioned by MidCoast Council to prepare an ecological assessment for the proposed subdivision known as Blueys Estate.
The properties represent a significant holding of approximately 351.5 hectares, located to the east of The Lakes Way, between the villages of Pacific Palms and Smith Lakes, NSW.
The land was under consideration for rezoning for a variety of uses, including residential development and environmental conservation.
The purpose of the assessment was to aid in the planning of development and conservation options for the land, by identifying ecological constraints and opportunities.
Niche’s team of highly experienced ecologists conducted targeted threatened flora and fauna surveys including Biometric plots, fauna trapping, ultrasonic bat recording, bird counts, Koala scat searches, habitat tree searches and the deployment of autonomous game cameras and nest boxes.
Ecological constraints identified within the area included two threatened ecological communities (Subtropical Coastal Floodplain Forest, and Swamp Sclerophyll Forest), hollow bearing trees and Koala habitat as well as the identification of threatened species such as Stephens Banded Snake and nine threatened bird species.
Niche was able to provide a comprehensive fauna list for the site which included 149 bird species, 19 bat species, 15 other mammals, but a limited diversity of frogs, reptiles and fish. Extensive targeted searches for threatened plants confirmed the presence or absence of those species.
Niche provided MidCoast Council with a preliminary BioBanking Assessment, determining the quality of the different threatened ecological communities present and presenting Council with options to offset different extents of land clearing. Niche also identified which areas would be best avoided in order to maximise the biodiversity protection.
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