Biotropica Australia worked with Ergon Energy to review and complete Environmental Management Plans (EMPs) for protected and sensitive natural areas. EMPs are specific span by span plans for powerline corridors within sensitive areas such as the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area (WTWHA).
There are over 200 kilometres of electricity corridors present in the WTWHA.
These lines often traverse difficult, rugged and very wet terrain and habitat which supports rare and threatened plant and animal species like the Southern Cassowary.
EMPs are designed to:
- guide all vegetation maintenance activities within Sensitive Areas such as World Heritage Areas, National Parks, Declared Marine Habitats and State Forests
- provide detailed information on significant environmental features present along a corridor
- preserve and protect environmental and cultural values to the greatest possible extent
- ensure compliance through an audit process
The overall aim of maintenance works are to use vegetation manipulation techniques which reduce the area of bare earth, retain and encourage ground and shrub cover, and promote vegetation scalloping in forested environments enhancing habitat connectivity.
The layout is designed to standardise EMPs for all electricity providers in Queensland to make interpretation easier for staff and contractors. EMPs provide explanatory notes with information ranging from Regional Ecosystems, rare and threatened species to the presence of habitat features, cultural heritage sites and declared plants. These notes are accompanied by scaled GIS maps using the latest government and non-government GIS data layer mapping, information spreadsheets and a photographic library.
Priority powerline corridors have been identified with a primary focus on those lines which traverse the WTWHA.