Action item 8.1
Consultation undertaken on draft policy, guideline, framework, Bill development.
- strategic regional terrestrial biodiversity assessments be conducted as part of a SREBA prior to the granting of any further production approvals;
- any onshore shale gas development be excluded from areas considered to be of high conservation value; and
- the results of the SREBA must inform any decision to release land for exploration permits as specified in Recommendation 14.2 and, upon completion, must be considered by the decision-maker in the granting of any future exploration approvals.
To be completed by end December 2022.
Action item update
The Strategic Regional and Environmental Baseline Assessment (SREBA) Framework was released in July 2020.
Government has determined a SREBA is required for the Beetaloo sub-Basin. The region-specific Scopes of Work for various baseline studies will be approved by the Minister for the Environment.
Work in the Beetaloo Sub-basin will be undertaken in cooperation with the Commonwealth Government's GBA program, which has also funded additional ecological studies.
Preliminary mapping of regional ecosystems has been completed, along with targeted surveys for some threatened species.
The data collected during these ecological studies will be used to define areas of high conservation value in the Beetaloo Sub-basin. Field work has commenced. Field work is in its final stages for 2022 and outputs to date include:
- A draft fine-scale regional ecosystem map for the SREBA region was developed and used to select representative fauna and flora sites. This is an important base map for all future environmental assessment in this region;
- Approximately 18,600 rapid observation sites, 210 structural/dominant sites, and 240 full floristic sites were sampled during 2020 and 2021 to ground-truth vegetation mapping and describe the distribution of plant species in the study area. Around 1700 plant taxa have been recorded from the region to date;
- Sampling of terrestrial vertebrate and invertebrate fauna has been undertaken at 43 representative sample sites during 2020-2021. Fauna sampling is underway for 2022. Combined with historical data, 494 terrestrial vertebrate species have been recorded from the region to date;
- In addition, a preliminary investigation of the ant fauna was undertaken (by CDU) at 20 representative sites during 2020-21. 232 ant species were detected;
- Targeted surveys for priority threatened species - Gouldian Finch, Crested Shrike-tit and Greater Bilby – were undertaken during 2020. Additional threatened species surveys, including for Ghost Bat, were undertaken in 2021 and 2022; and
- A desktop analysis of historical data provided 7325 records of 81 waterbird species using wetlands in the SREBA study area. Additional aerial surveys for waterbirds have been completed for 2022.