Throughout our project areas there are a number of important animal, bird and plant species, as well as areas with cultural heritage value. We're working hard to understand the existing conditions and minimise impacts as much as possible.
We've conducted a variety of studies as part of the planning process and will continue to monitor conditions.
Jim's Plain project area
Tasmanian masked owl
- What we found: A survey for Tasmanian masked owls, including habitat tree surveys and a call-back survey, showed no indications of this species on Jim's Plain.
- Project response: As a precautionary measure, we excluded older trees with large hollows from the wind farm development zone to keep potential nesting habitats safe.
- What we found: Site surveys showed Tasmanian devils are present on Jim’s Plain. We found scats and tracks that tell us they are using existing tracks for commuting. However, no critical Tasmanian devil habitat was found. The species most likely commutes through Jim’s Plain and potentially uses the area to forage.
- Project response: Only a small proportion of the site provides potential denning habitat. More den surveys will happen before the installation of the turbine footings.
Tasmanian Wedge-tailed eagle
- What we found: Tasmanian Wedge-tailed eagles have been recorded flying around Jim’s Plain. Searches of nesting habitat in the area showed that no nests were located on the project site, with the closest nest about 1 kilometre away. Surveys of eagle flight paths have been taken over the past 2 years and show the site has relatively low use by eagles compared to other wind farm sites in Tasmania.
- Project response: We're looking at potential use of technologies that can detect eagles and if a collision risk is identified a specific turbine can be temporarily shut down.
- What we found: Existing native vegetation on Jim’s Plain supports no plant species or vegetation communities listed as threatened under State or Federal legislation. The site is dominated by heathland which is well-represented in existing conservation reserves.
- Project response: We'll continue to monitor the project area throughout development.
Robbins Island project area
- What we found: Surveys have shown Aboriginal artefacts located along a wide sand dune on the island.
- Project response: We've excluded this area from the development zone to ensure these artefacts aren't impacted by the project. The location of this exclusion zone isn't shown on our map below due to the sensitivity of the artefacts.
White-bellied sea eagle and Tasmanian Wedge-tailed eagle
- What we found: Both the white-bellied sea eagle and the Tasmanian Wedge-tailed eagle are found on Robbins Island. Recent helicopter and ground surveys confirmed nests for both species in the area. White-bellied sea eagles tend to favour the coastal areas, while Wedge-tailed eagles tend to use inland areas. Flight surveys have been occurring seasonally for the past 2 years with a survey completed in August 2019. Experienced scientists conduct these surveys using binoculars and telescopes to find and record eagles at set sites around Robbins Island and at Jim’s Plain. For each observation, the date, species, age, flight path, flight direction and flight behaviour are collected, interpreted and documented.
- Project response: A 1 kilometre exclusion zone will be created around each nest. We're looking at potential use of technologies that can detect eagles and if a collision risk is identified a specific turbine can be temporarily shut down.
- What we found: Much of the island’s native forest has been cleared in the past for agricultural use.
- Project response: We'll avoid clearing native forest around Remarkable Banks and the eastern part of the island to maintain habitat for native animals. Components will be delivered to each site as they are needed for construction to reduce the space required around each turbine. This helps keep native vegetation clearance to a minimum.
- What we found: There are diverse shorebird species that frequent the Boullanger Bay to Robbins Passage area. A significant number of the shorebirds feed and roost on the west coast of Robbins Island, which has been the subject of 20 years of bi-annual surveys by BirdLife Tasmania. The tidal flats in this area are an important summer feeding site for the migratory shorebirds, where they build up sufficient energy to fly back to the Northern Hemisphere. Surveys along the coastline and over the island show that shorebirds fly the coastline and between the foraging areas of low tide and key roost sites at high tide.
- Project response: The project includes a coastal buffer around the entire island to set back turbines 500 metres from roosting areas. Turbines have been excluded from the northern-most end of Robbins Island near Walker Island because some shorebirds have been detected flying over this area.
- What we found: Robbins Island contains a relatively large population of Tasmanian devils. A trapping program showed the population is healthy and there is no evidence of the devil facial tumour disease. Genetic testing showed the Robbins Island population keeps contact with Tasmanian mainland devil populations.
- Project response: Areas of potential devil denning habitat near Mosquito Inlet has been excluded from the development zone.