Moreton Bay Rail Link environment
The Moreton Bay Rail Link will be built in close proximity to a number of sensitive environmental areas such as Hays Inlet, Yebri Creek, Freshwater Creek and the Chelsea Street Environmental Reserve. Koala populations are also present along the corridor. Managing impacts on these important areas is a major focus of the project.
The project team is committed to caring for the environment and to maintaining the highest standards of environmental practice during planning, design and construction phases of the project.
The project team is engaging with local environment groups and will continue to do so throughout the life of the project. The local knowledge from these groups will help shape the environmental management plans currently being developed by the project team.
Environmental Management Plan
The project’s Environmental Management Plan will provide the framework to identify and address environmental issues throughout the project footprint. In conjunction with environment specialists, the project team is drafting an Environment Management Plan, which is expected to be completed shortly.
The plan includes a number of sub-plans for significant issues such as cultural heritage, vegetation, and wildlife management (including a Koala Action Plan, Species Management Plan, Breeding Places Management Plan, Fauna Management and Tree Clearing Strategy, Cultural Heritage Plan and more). These plans are currently being reviewed by our funding partners and key stakeholders, and will soon be available for viewing on the Publications page.
The regulatory framework for the project’s environment management is defined by the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (DEHP).
The Moreton Bay region is known for its ecological diversity, with around 200 different wildlife species identified in the project footprint during the 2003 Final Impact Assessment Study.
The project team will work to ensure that construction activities will minimise effects on local wildlife. A Fauna Management and Tree Clearing Plan Strategy has been developed (as part of the Environmental Management Plan) with input from environment experts and stakeholders, to ensure the clearing of vegetation for the corridor is completed as safely as possible for existing wildlife. Professional spotter-catchers will be employed before work commences and fauna exclusion fences will be put in place during clearing.
The project is also investigating options, such as fauna underpasses, to ensure that animals will be able to safely cross from one side of the completed rail line to the other.
The Moreton Bay Rail Link corridor includes the home range of a population of koalas. Safeguarding the welfare of these nationally-significant animals is one of the project’s highest priorities.
Koala Action Plan
The project team has prepared a Koala Action Plan to manage the project’s impacts on the local koala population, with input from experts in koala ecology, conservation and environmental management.
The Koala Action Plan is the project’s blueprint to:
understand the current koala populations and their habitats (read more about some of these strategies on our Koala Tagging and Monitoring
identify the likely impacts of project
propose ways of minimising those impacts, through fauna sensitive design, providing a suite of offsets and
developing Fauna Management and Tree Clearing Strategies to safeguard koalas during construction.
In consultation with the Department of Transport and Main Roads, Moreton Bay Regional Council officers and the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection, the project team is working to secure local land for planting of koala habitat trees as part of the projects offset strategy.
The Koala Action Plan page will provide the full document, as well as the Fauna Management and Tree Clearing Strategy for the construction works at Kinsellas Road East (an early works component of the project which began in July). A report of our ‘Managing Koalas’ community workshop held on 26 May 2012 is also available on this page.
The Moreton Bay region has seen a great deal of development in recent years to accommodate significant growth in the area, including large housing estates, shopping centres, childcare centres and schools being built. Just as this development has impacted on the natural environment, it is inevitable that provision of much-needed public transport in the area will also have an effect on the environment, including the need for clearing and removal of vegetation in the corridor.
Most of the vegetation to be cleared for the rail line is within the existing state-owned corridor, which has been earmarked as a public transport corridor since the 1970s. As this rail corridor has remained undeveloped for many years, there are sections of established vegetation to be cleared and removed before construction of the rail line can begin.
The design teams are working to preserve as much vegetation as possible. Tenderers will be evaluated against the requirement to minimise the clearing footprint for the project.
Water quality monitoring
The Moreton Bay Rail Link will be built in close proximity to a number of local waterways.
The project team has been monitoring water quality at 5 points along the corridor since late 2010. Gathering this data now provides valuable information about the existing quality of water in the area, which will be used as a reference point for verifying the effectiveness of control measures put in place during construction.
Starting this process more than a year in advance of work starting also provides a clear picture of the health of the corridor’s waterways in all weather conditions.
In 1993 an area of around 113,000 hectares in the Moreton Bay region – including Hays Inlet – was included in the Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance.
The Ramsar Convention is a global environmental treaty concerned with the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources.
The area captured under the declaration included a section of land that had been earmarked for a rail corridor in the late 1970s.
Construction of the Moreton Bay Rail Link will affect only a very small section of the wetlands.
The rail line has been planned proposing a bridge structure over the wetland to allow for as much of the wetlands to remain untouched as possible. The use of a bridge over the waterway will ensure the continued passage of fauna in the area.
Further mitigation measures will be developed as the project progresses.