Managing flora and fauna

We understand and share the value placed on local flora and fauna. With all major projects, we work hard to balance our impact on the environment with the need to improve road safety and journey reliability.

Flora and fauna investigations

We have assessed all aspects of the environment to inform our design and control measures. However, we understand that two of the most important environmental features of the local area are vegetation and wildlife, and special consideration has been given to these.

We have engaged a team of ecologists and arborists who are qualified in biodiversity and environmental science to carry out the flora and fauna assessment for the project.

As part of the site assessment, our team walked the entire project, examining the area using binoculars, cameras and GPS enabled Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) tablets. This process allows us to record and map scattered trees, vegetation and the location of significant flora and fauna species.

We undertake a flora and fauna investigation assessment to:

  • identify sensitive and protected flora and fauna, including potential fauna habitats
  • ensure we are complying with federal and state environmental legislation requirements
  • understand potential impacts that the project may have on identified sensitive species
  • develop measures to reduce potential impacts, such as adjusting the design, installing controls and identifying construction 'no-go zones'.

Trees and vegetation

We’ve designed the Craigieburn Road Upgrade to preserve the local environment as much as possible. Our team of experts are exploring all possibilities to retain as many trees as we can, while developing opportunities to reuse any timber from trees that we need to remove.

Plant species

We’ve identified various species of vegetation throughout the project area. This includes native and introduced trees. Throughout the life of the project we’ll work closely with arborists to minimise our impact on all vegetation.

We’ll also develop a landscape plan in consultation with landscape architects and key stakeholders including Hume City Council and the Department of Transport to determine the types of new vegetation to plant. Tree planting and landscaping are usually the final activities to take place once major works are completed.

Fauna protection

Many species of fauna are found within the area, including:

  • mammals
  • birds
  • reptiles
  • amphibians.

Before removing vegetation, an ecologist will conduct surveys to identify any hollow-bearing trees and help determine suitable locations for relocated habitat. Our project ecologist will be on site during vegetation removal to ensure no animals are harmed during construction.

We’ll also place fauna fencing to protect animals from vehicles and machinery. Our team is also equipped with qualified ecologists to relocate any animal we find to a safe habitat. Added protection measures will be used in places that may be frequented by the Latham’s Snipe and Golden Sun Moths.

Managing environmental impacts

To manage environmental impacts during the project, we have:

  • developed an Environmental Management Plan, to help control and minimise any ecological and environmental impacts during construction
  • developed an offset strategy to address requirements under the Planning and Environmental Act 1987 for the removal of any native vegetation
  • developed, and will implement protections plans for the Latham’s Snipe and Golden Sun Moths
  • sought appropriate approvals as required, made necessary design adjustments and implemented an action plan to reduce potential environmental impacts
  • organised a Timber Reuse Plan, Tree Impact Assessment and Fauna Management Plan.

Minimising our impact on the environment

Balancing environmental needs with building a safer road network to meet the demands of a growing community is challenging, but we’re doing all we can to find solutions that meet both these priorities.

We'll keep the community informed about our progress and share plans for the road upgrade, including when works will start and how we’re minimising our impact on the environment.

Assessment, protection and removal of trees

All road projects of this scale can have an impact on vegetation. While every effort will be made to protect existing trees and vegetation, some areas of the road reserve are narrow and tree removal will be necessary.

These upgrades require space to build new lanes and shared cycling and walking paths.

There is currently limited space along the roads and this makes it difficult to design the upgrades without impacts to trees or private properties. In these instances, to minimise impact on private land, some trees will need to be removed.

As with all major projects, we must balance the need to remove vegetation and the impact to the environment with the need to improve road safety and traffic flow.

An arborist and ecologist report was prepared to assess the species, size and number of trees to be impacted across the project. The report informed the degree of impact on each tree and guided decisions around which trees are to be retained or removed.

The reports has also been used to determine

  • trees that will be retained
  • trees that have fauna hollows.
  • trees that require protection during construction
  • offset requirements.

Once a tree has been confirmed for removal, it will be marked on a worksite plan. The project team will consult with numerous internal and external stakeholders to make sure that relevant approvals are in place and impacts have been fully considered before removing vegetation. This includes consultation with the project team, local council and the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP).

Where trees will remain, Tree Protection Zones (TPZ) will be established. TPZs provide a setback to protect the above and below ground parts of a tree during construction. No Go Zones will also be established to safeguard vegetation, cultural heritage sites and habitat areas during construction.

Timber from felled trees

The reuse of mulch and timber is in line with the Project’s Sustainability Management Plan and Infrastructure Sustainability Council of Australia (ISCA) Project Sustainability Rating.

We’ll work with the community and Hume City Council to identify the best ways the wood can be reused. Some timber will be mulched on site for safe removal from the road. Selected logs will be cut by the contractor and retained for use in landscaping.

We’ll also work with Hume City Council to offer logs and mulch for council purposes.

We’ll reach out to local community groups including the Craigieburn Men’s Shed, schools and kindergartens.

Under no circumstance will any timber, mulch or by-products as a result of tree clearing activities be sent to landfill. The Project will endeavour to reuse and repurpose all by-products of tree removal activities as outlined in our Timber Reuse Strategy.

Protection of local wildlife

Prior to removal, trees are inspected for the presence of wildlife, and qualified handlers are on call to safely move wildlife as necessary.

Some wildlife may be found within the area, including mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians. We’re working alongside specialists to ensure the protection and safe relocation of wildlife. To minimise impacts to wildlife we’ll:

  • ensure a qualified ecologist undertakes assessments to determine if wildlife is present or likely to be present before removing any vegetation
  • have a qualified and licensed wildlife handler on site during vegetation removal to safely relocate any fauna that may be affected.

Other key environmental factors to keep in mind includes the presence of two important animal species: the Golden Sun Moth and Latham’s Snipe.

The Golden Sun Moth is critically endangered, with 57 moths identified around Mickleham Road. We have implemented no go zones to protect the moths’ habitat where possible and will minimise disturbance in and around its habitat during the breeding season between mid-October and early January.

Some Latham’s Snipe, a migratory bird from Japan, migrate to Craigieburn each year around August, and live on Aitken Creek. Our works are not expected to impact the birds, however we will implement precautionary measures such as additional surveys, audits and managing light spill near Aitken Creek.

Landscaping plans

We are currently finalising landscaping plans.

New shrubs will create attractive boulevards that enhance road spaces within residential and business activity areas.