Marys Medicine

Epa.wa.gov.au

Orebody 32 East AWT
Vertebrate Fauna Environmental Impact Assessment
BHP Billiton Iron Ore 129 Royal Street East Perth WA 6004 Phone: (08) 9421 9600 Report Reference: 2451-15-BISR-1Rev0_150505
Fax: (08) 9421 9699 Orebody 32 East AWT
Vertebrate Fauna Environmental Impact Assessment
Prepared for BHP Billiton Iron Ore Job Number: 2451-15 Revision Status
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Author(s)
Reviewer
Draft Issued for Client Review Issued for Client Review Issued for Information Approval
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Copyright 2015 Astron. Al rights reserved. This document and information contained in it has been prepared by Astron Environmental Services under the terms and conditions of its contract with its client. The report is for the clients use only and may not be used, exploited, copied, duplicated or reproduced in any form or medium whatsoever without the prior written permission of Astron Environmental Services or its client. BHP Bil iton Iron Ore Orebody 32 East AWT – Vertebrate Fauna Environmental Impact Assessment, February 2015
Abbreviations
Definition
Above water table BHP Bil iton Iron Ore BHP Bil iton Iron Ore Pty Ltd
BoM
Bureau of Meteorology Department of the Environment (Commonwealth) Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities Environmental impact assessment Environmental Protection Authority (State) Environmental Protection Act 1986 (State) Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Commonwealth) Parks and Wildlife
Department of Parks and Wildlife (State) The Project area
Orebody 32 East AWT, north of Newman in the Pilbara region of Western Australia, as shown in Figure 1. Wildlife Conservation Act 1950 (State) BHP Bil iton Iron Ore Orebody 32 East AWT – Vertebrate Fauna Environmental Impact Assessment, February 2015
Executive Summary
BHP Billiton Iron Ore Pty is preparing referrals to the Environmental Protection Authority under Section 38 of the Environmental Protection Act 1986. The proposal to be referred is to develop new mining areas at Orebody 32 East for above water table mining (‘the Project'). Astron has been engaged to undertake an environmental impact assessment of potential impacts to fauna and fauna habitats within the Project area. The purpose of the assessment was to review the survey information and to provide a project-specific assessment of the potential impacts of the proposed development on the fauna and fauna habitats in a local and regional context. To date, two Level 2 terrestrial fauna surveys, three Level 1 terrestrial fauna surveys and one targeted fauna survey have been conducted over the entirety, or parts, of the Project area. These surveys provide detailed information on the fauna assemblages in the region. Astron considers that more than adequate information is available from the previous surveys conducted over the Project area to assess the risk of development on terrestrial vertebrate fauna. Fauna habitats were remapped by Astron using previous fauna habitat and vegetation mapping, elevation data and aerial photography. Four broad fauna habitat types were subsequently mapped across the Project area; Low Hills, Stony Plain, Mulga and Minor Drainage Line. The Stony Plain (295.1 hectares) habitat was considered of low importance to fauna as it is extremely widespread and common throughout the Pilbara region. The areas of Low Hills (91.6 hectares), Mulga (11.5 hectares) and Minor Drainage Line (15.3 hectares) habitats within the Project area were considered to be of moderate importance to fauna due to their potential to support some conservation significant species, including the Western Pebble-mound Mouse, which has been recorded and is largely restricted to the Low Hills habitat of the Project area. However, these fauna habitat types are also widely represented and common throughout the Pilbara region. A review of fauna databases and previous fauna surveys conducted within the Project area suggest that there are unlikely to be any characteristics of the amphibian, reptile, bird and mammal assemblages that are of particular significance in the region. A total of 320 terrestrial vertebrate fauna species, comprising eight amphibian species, 90 reptile species, 174 bird species and 48 mammal species (including 12 introduced) have been previously recorded within the vicinity of the Project area. This included 32 conservation significant species, of which two have been recorded within the Project area; the Western Pebble-mound Mouse and Rainbow Bee-eater. It is considered that the impact of clearing in the Project area would not be significant within a regional context. The fauna habitats represented within the Project area are typical of the Pilbara region and therefore do not have high ecosystem functional value. Clearing of the Project area is unlikely to significantly affect connectivity of habitats given that the Project area is bounded by a rail spur to Orebodies 23/24/25 to the east, Mt Whaleback to the south and ranges to the north. In addition, no fauna habitats within the Project area act as major fauna corridors. Instead, the most likely corridor would be Homestead Creek, situated outside, but adjacent to the Project area. The clearing of vegetation within the Project area will result in the loss of some terrestrial vertebrate species that are not highly mobile or have the ability to move away from disturbance, which may include some nesting species. The majority of fauna species present within the Project area will also be abundant in adjacent areas and have extended home ranges, and impacts on these species are considered to likely be negligible. Given habitat types for the Western Pebble-mound Mouse are well represented within the Pilbara, similar habitats exist adjacent to the Project area and pebble mounds were not recorded in abundance; disturbance to the Project area is not expected to have significant impact on this species. The Rainbow Bee-eater is also unlikely to be impacted as it is a highly mobile species and not restricted to any of the fauna habitats within the Project area. BHP Bil iton Iron Ore Orebody 32 East AWT – Vertebrate Fauna Environmental Impact Assessment, February 2015
Table of Contents
BHP Bil iton Iron Ore Orebody 32 East AWT – Vertebrate Fauna Environmental Impact Assessment, February 2015 List of Figures
Figure 1: Orebody 32 East AWT Project area location. 2 Figure 2: Location of previous fauna surveys within and in the vicinity of the Project area. 7 Figure 3: Climate data for Newman Aero Station (Station 7176). Average annual rainfall data has been calculated from 1971 to 2015 and average maximum temperature has been calculated from 1996 to 2014 (BoM 2015). 10 Figure 4: Fauna habitat mapping and conservation significant fauna species records within the Project area. 17 List of Tables
Table 1 Fauna survey reports relevant to the Project area. 5 Table 2: Geological units present within the Project area (Stewart et al. 2008). 11 Table 3: Land systems present within the Project area (van Vreeswyk et al. 2004). 11 Table 4: Broad vegetation units present within the Project area (Beard 1975). 12 Table 5: Vegetation associations recorded within the Project area. 13 Table 6: Fauna habitats previously mapped in or within the vicinity of the Orebody32 East Project area. 14 Table 7: Consolidated fauna habitats within the Project area. 16 Table 8: Survey effort and results of surveys where part or all of the survey area occurs within the Orebody 32 East Project area. 20 Table 9: Likelihood of conservation significant species occurring within the Project area. 23 Table 10: Assessment of characteristics in defining the scale and nature of impacts on biodiversity (EPA 2004) for the proposed Project and level of survey required. 34 List of Appendices
Appendix A: Terrestrial Vertebrate Fauna List Appendix B: Fauna Conservation Codes and Likelihood/Importance Criteria BHP Bil iton Iron Ore Orebody 32 East AWT – Vertebrate Fauna Environmental Impact Assessment, February 2015 This page has been left blank intentional y.
BHP Bil iton Iron Ore Orebody 32 East AWT – Vertebrate Fauna Environmental Impact Assessment, February 2015
1 Introduction
1.1 Project Overview
BHP Billiton Iron Ore Pty Ltd (BHP Billiton Iron Ore) is preparing referrals to the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) under Section 38 of the Environmental Protection Act 1986 (EP Act). The proposal to be referred is to develop new mining areas at Orebody 32 East for above water table (AWT) mining for a project known as Orebody 32 East AWT (‘the Project'). The Project area is located approximately five kilometres (km) east of Newman Township in the Pilbara region of Western Australia, as shown in Figure 1. Orebody 32 East AWT is situated immediately to the west of BHP Bil iton Iron Ore's existing Orebody 24 mining operations. The proposal is to mine a new deposit of approximately 40 mega tonnes AWT. Ground disturbance (including clearing of native vegetation) is for mining, stockpiles and ancillary infrastructure. The proposal will utilise existing Orebody 24/25 processing infrastructure with transport of ore via haul 1.2 Scope of Works
Astron has been engaged to undertake an environmental impact assessment (EIA) of potential impacts to fauna and fauna habitats within the Project area. A suite of baseline surveys have previously been conducted. The purpose of the EIA was to review the survey information and to provide a project-specific assessment of the potential impacts of the proposed development on the fauna and fauna habitats in a local and regional context. The following technical components require review and assessment of their adequacy and comprehensiveness to support a Part IV referral under the EP Act: 1. fauna habitat types (including specific fauna habitat features) 2. threatened or priority fauna 3. fauna of interest (including species which are not listed as threatened or priority) 4. indirect impacts on fauna (such as, but not limited to noise and light) 5. introduced fauna. BHP Bil iton Iron Ore Orebody 32 East AWT – Vertebrate Fauna Environmental Impact Assessment, February 2015 This page has been left blank intentional y. KULKINBAH C FORTESCUE RIVER LBEE CREEK DAMPIER ROEBOURNE ROY HILL - NOREENA DOW ONSLOW PANNAWONICA MOUNT LEWIN
TELFER MINING CENTRE ILL ANA CRE YA NDI H AUL RD (P) ETHEL CREEK
WEELI WOLLI CRE EK COONDINER CREEK Project Area
KIRENIA CREEK SPEARHOLE CR WESTE RN CREEK ANDA CREEK JIMBLEBAR CREEK COO BINA CREEK RiverProject Area PERRY CREEK Coastlin D
e EADMAN HILL
MUNDIWINDI JIGALONG COM
BHP Bil iton Iron Ore Orebody 32 East AWT - Vertebrate Fauna Environmental Impact Assessment Figure 1: Orebody 32 East Project area location.
Author: J. Oates
Datum: GDA 1994 - Projection: MGA Zone 50 Figure Ref: 2451-15-BIDR-1Rev0_150505_Fig01_Locn BHP Bil iton Iron Ore Orebody 32 East AWT – Vertebrate Fauna Environmental Impact Assessment, February 2015 This page has been left blank intentional y.
BHP Bil iton Iron Ore Orebody 32 East AWT – Vertebrate Fauna Environmental Impact Assessment, February 2015
1.3 Previous Technical Studies
BHP Billiton Iron Ore has commissioned a number of terrestrial fauna surveys over both the Project area and surrounding tenements. Survey reports over, and within proximity to the Project area, are summarised inand shown in Figure 2. Table 1 Fauna survey reports relevant to the Project area.
Report title
Surveys over Project area
Eastern Ridge (Orebody
A Level 1 fauna assessment of the Eastern Ridge study area, located 8 km northeast of Newman and covers 88.31 km2 Level 1 fauna assessment at the VCP_36 study area; Biological Survey Myopic and targeted significant fauna habitat search along Exploration Leases proposed exploration corridors (access tracks, dril lines and dril pads) within the VCP_Myopic study area (State Agreement Lease 70/270) Report for Myopic Project Area, Newman Flora and Level 1 fauna survey over the Myopic Project Area; Fauna Assessment covers approximately 3,600 ha A systematic trapping program at five major representative habitats; opportunistic area searches of all major habitats in the project area. Orebody 24 Flora And Fauna surveys for priority species encompassed five Fauna Assessment Phase II ENV trapping grids located within the main area of proposed impact (covering the length of the OB 24 range) and opportunistic survey throughout the entire project area Orebody 24 Expansion Biological Survey Systematic fauna surveys were conducted at six sites, representing five fauna habitat types Baseline Biological & Soil Baseline survey of the vegetation, flora, fauna and Surveys and Mapping for soils of the remainder of the western section of ML244SA West of the Environmental 2001 ML244SA west of the Fortescue River. It includes the Mt. Whaleback mine and a number of satellite Orebodies (23 to 26, 28 to 30, 32, 33, 35, 37 & 38) Surveys within the vicinity of the Project area
Orebody 24 Targeted
Vertebrate Fauna Survey Level 1 fauna and targeted assessment Orebody 25 Targeted Vertebrate Fauna Survey Level 1 fauna and targeted assessment Mt Whaleback AML 7/244 Flora & Vegetation And Review and summary of previous terrestrial fauna Vertebrate Fauna Review survey reports for Mt Whaleback project area Ninga Level 1 Vertebrate Fauna Assessment Level 1 fauna and targeted assessment Orebody 37 Level 1 Vertebrate Fauna Level 1 fauna survey BHP Bil iton Iron Ore Orebody 32 East AWT – Vertebrate Fauna Environmental Impact Assessment, February 2015 Report title
Surveys within the vicinity of the Project area
Orebody 35 and Western
Ridge Vertebrate Fauna Level 2 two-season survey Survey Orebody 42/43 Flora, Vegetation and Fauna Assessment Summary Level 1 fauna survey Recommendations Jimblebar Linear Development Terrestrial Vertebrate Fauna Level 2 fauna survey Assessment Jimblebar Rail Spur Biological Assessment Level 2 fauna survey Development Envelope Surveys within the vicinity of the Project area
Surveys over the Project area
Biologic (2014) Ore Body 24 Targeted Vertebrate Fauna Survey ENV (2011) Eastern Ridge (OB23/24/25) Fauna Assessment Onshore (2013) Mt Whaleback AML 7/244 Flora & Vegetation And Vertebrate Fauna Review Biologic (2014) Orebody 25 Targeted Fauna Survey Eco Logical (2013) Ninga Level 1 Vertebrate Fauna Assessment Onshore and Biologic (2009) Biological Survey Myopic Exploration Leases Eco Logical (2012) Orebody 37 Level 1 Vertebrate Fauna Assessment GHD (2008) Report for Myopic Project Area, Newman Flora and Fauna Assessment Biologic (2011) Orebody 25 and Western Ridge Vertebrate Fauna Survey ENV (2006) OB24 Flora And Fauna Assessment Phase 2 ENV (2011) Orebody 42/43 Flora, Vegetation and Fauna Assessment Summary Letter and Recommendations ecologia (2004) OB 24 Expansion Biological SurveyENV2006 Outback Ecology (2009) Jimblebar Linear Development Terrestrial Vertebrate Fauna Assessment Biota (2001) Baseline Biological & Soil Surveys and Mapping for ML244SA West of the Fortescue River ecologia (1996) Jimblebar Rail Spur Biological Assessment Survey BHP Bil iton Iron Ore Datum: GDA 1994 - Projection: MGA Zone 50 - Scale: 1:80,000 (A3) Orebody 32 East AWT - Vertebrate Fauna Environmental Impact Assessment Figure 2: Location of previous fauna surveys within and in the vicinity of the Project area.
BHP Bil iton Iron Ore Orebody 32 East AWT – Vertebrate Fauna Environmental Impact Assessment, February 2015 This page has been left blank intentional y.
BHP Bil iton Iron Ore Orebody 32 East AWT – Vertebrate Fauna Environmental Impact Assessment, February 2015
2 Legislative Context
2.1 Environmental Impact Assessment for Fauna
The EP Act provides for the referral and EIA of proposals and schemes likely, if implemented, to have a significant effect on the environment. The Act requires the EPA to provide, in its report to the Minister for Environment, what it considers to be the key environmental factors identified in the course of an assessment. The EPA uses environmental factors and associated objectives as the basis for assessing whether a proposal or scheme's impact on the environment is acceptable. 2.1.1 EPA Objective for Fauna
The EPA's objective for terrestrial fauna according to the Environmental Assessment Guideline for Environmental factors and objectives is "to maintain representation, diversity, viability and ecological function at the species, population and assemblage level" (EPA 2013). 2.1.2 Relevant State and Federal Legislation
A suite of legislation is relevant to biodiversity conservation in Western Australia. This includes the EP Act, the Conservation and Land Management Act 1984, and, in particular, the Wildlife Conservation Act 1950 (WC Act). Under the provisions of the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act), proposed actions which have the potential to have a significant impact on a matter of national environmental significance must be referred to the Commonwealth Minister for the Environment for a decision as to whether assessment is required under the provisions of that Assessments must adequately address the potential impacts on matters of national environmental significance in order to comply with the provisions of the EP Act and be accredited under the EPBC The following guidance and policy documents were considered during this environmental impact • EPA (2013) Environmental Assessment Guideline for Environmental factors and objectives, Environmental Assessment Guidelines No. 8 • EPA (2004) Terrestrial Fauna Surveys for Environmental Impact Assessment in Western Australia, Guidance Statements No. 56 • EPA (2002) Terrestrial Biological Surveys as an Element of Biodiversity Protection, Position Statements No. 3 • EPA and Department of Conservation and Environment (DEC) (2010) Technical Guide – Terrestrial Vertebrate Fauna Surveys for Environmental Impact Assessment. BHP Bil iton Iron Ore Orebody 32 East AWT – Vertebrate Fauna Environmental Impact Assessment, February 2015
3 Environmental Context
3.1 Physical Environment
3.1.1 Climate
The Project area is located in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. The Pilbara has an arid-tropical climate with two distinct seasons, a hot summer from October to April and a mild winter from May to September. The nearest accessible climate data is available from the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) Newman Aero weather station located approximately 9 km south-east of the Project area. The area experiences a wide temperature range, with an average annual maximum daytime temperature of 32°C (1996 to 2014; BoM 2015). The hottest month is January, with average maximum temperatures of 39.1°C and the coolest month is June with average maximum temperatures of 22.9°C (Figure 3; BoM 2015). The Newman area has an average annual rainfall of 317.1 millimetres (mm) (1971 to 2015) (BoM 2015) with the majority of rainfall occurring during the summer months. February typically has the highest average monthly rainfall of 74.9 mm (Figure 3; BoM 2015). Summer rainfall is typically associated with tropical storms in the north, or tropical cyclones that cross the coast and move inland. Winter rainfall is commonly the result of cold fronts. Figure 3: Climate data for Newman Aero Station (Station 7176). Average annual rainfal data has been calculated from
1971 to 2015 and average maximum temperature has been calculated from 1996 to 2014 (BoM 2015).
BHP Bil iton Iron Ore Orebody 32 East AWT – Vertebrate Fauna Environmental Impact Assessment, February 2015
3.1.2 Geology, Landforms and Soils
Three geological units occur in the Project area , based largely on mapping at a scale of 1:250,000 and augmented by more recent 1:1,000,000 scale and regional compilation maps (Stewart Table 2: Geological units present within the Project area (Stewart et al. 2008).
Description
Area (ha)
Marra Mamba Iron Formation: Chert, ferruginous chert, jaspilite, banded iron-formation, minor shale, siltstone, mudstone. Hamersley Group: Undivided chert, banded iron-formation, jaspilite, dolomite, mudstone, siltstone. Alluvium 38485: Channel and flood plain al uvium; gravel, sand, silt, clay, local y calcreted. The soils within the Project area have been mapped by Northcote et al. (1968) as: • Fa13: Ranges of banded jaspilite and chert along with shales, dolomites, and iron ore
formations; some areas of ferruginous duricrust as well as occasional narrow winding valley plains and steeply dissected pediments. This unit is largely associated with the Hamersley and Ophthalmia Ranges. The soils are frequently stony and shallow and there are extensive areas without soil cover: chief soils are shallow stony earthy loams (Um5.51) along with some (Uc5.11) soils on the steeper slopes. Associated are gravel-strewn loamy red duplex soils (Dr2.33 and Dr2.32) on the limited areas of dissected pediments, while deep uniform loams (Um5.52) and earthy clay soils (Uf6.71) occur on the valley plains. Land systems of the Western Australian rangelands were mapped by the Department of Agriculture outlining the distributions, and providing comprehensive descriptions of, biophysical resources including soil and vegetation condition (van Vreeswyk et al. 2004). Three land systems occur in the Table 3: Land systems present within the Project area (van Vreeswyk et al. 2004).
Extent in
Total area
Proportion
Land system Description
Project area
within Pilbara within Project
bioregion (ha) area (%)
Rugged jaspilite plateaux, ridges and mountains supporting hard spinifex grasslands Stony lower slopes and plains below hil systems supporting hard and soft spinifex grasslands or mulga shrublands Narrow, seasonal y active flood plains and major river channels supporting moderately close, tal shrublands or woodlands of acacias and fringing communities of eucalypts sometimes with tussock grasses or spinifex BHP Bil iton Iron Ore Orebody 32 East AWT – Vertebrate Fauna Environmental Impact Assessment, February 2015
3.1.3 Surface Water and Hydrology
The major rivers of the region are the De Grey, Ashburton, Fortescue, Yule, Sherlock, Cane, Robe, Harding, Maitland, and Turner. Stream flows in the Pilbara region are mostly a direct response to rainfall; as such they are highly seasonal and variable. There are no permanent watercourses, wetlands nor major creek lines within the Project area. There is one minor drainage line (Homestead Creek) that runs adjacent to the western edge of the Project 3.2 Biological Environment
3.2.1 Vegetation
Pre-European vegetation was mapped across the Pilbara region at a scale of 1: 1,000,000 (Beard 1975). The Project area is located in the Hamersley Plateau physiographic unit of the Fortescue Botanical District. Two broad vegetation units are found within the Project area . Table 4: Broad vegetation units present within the Project area (Beard 1975).
Vegetation
Current extent in
Proportion within
association
Description
Extent in Project
area (ha)
Pilbara bioregion
Project area (%)
Hummock grassland; low tree steppe; Snappy Gum over Triodia wiseana Low woodland; Mulga (Acacia A number of flora and vegetation surveys have been conducted within the Project area (Biota 2001; ecologia 2004a; ENV 2006; Onshore 2009). Consolidated vegetation associations within the Project area provided by BHP Billiton Iron Ore are presented i BHP Bil iton Iron Ore Orebody 32 East AWT – Vertebrate Fauna Environmental Impact Assessment, February 2015 Table 5: Vegetation associations recorded within the Project area.
Vegetation code
Vegetation description
SA Tb ChEg SpBeKp Hummock Grassland of Triodia basedowi with Low Open Woodland of Corymbia hamersleyana and Eucalyptus gamophyl a over Low Open Shrubland of Scaevola parvifolia, Bonamia erecta and Kennedia prorepens on red loamy sand on sand plains Hillcrests and hillslopes
Hummock Grassland of Triodia pungens and Triodia sp. Shovelanna Hil (S. van Leeuwen 3835) with Scattered Low Trees of Eucalyptus HC TpTs El AaAkAsi leucophloia subsp. leucophloia over Scattered Tal Shrubs of Acacia aptaneura, Acacia kempeana and Acacia sibirica on red brown loam on hil crests, hil slopes and breakaway slopes Hummock Grassland of Triodia wiseana with Low Open Woodland of Eucalyptus leucophloia subsp. leucophloia, Corymbia hamersleyana HS Tw ElChHc AanAbAa and Hakea chordophyl a and Open Shrubland of Acacia ancistrocarpa, Acacia bivenosa and Acacia aptaneura on red sandy loam on hil slopes Hummock Grassland of Triodia sp. Shovelanna Hil (S. van Leeuwen 3835), Triodia wiseana and Triodia pungens with Low Open HS TsTwTp ElCh AhiAad Woodland of Eucalyptus leucophloia subsp. leucophloia and Corymbia hamersleyana over Low Open Shrubland of Acacia hil iana and Acacia adoxa var. adoxa on red brown sandy loam on hil slopes Hummock Grassland of Triodia wiseana, Triodia brizoides and Triodia pungens with Low Open Woodland of Eucalyptus leucophloia HC TwTbrTp ElCh AmaGwAb subsp. leucophloia and Corymbia hamersleyana over High Open Shrubland of Acacia maitlandii, Grevil lea wickhami subsp. hispidula and Acacia bivenosa on red brown sandy loam on hil crests and upper hil slopes Drainage lines and associated floodplains
Tussock Grassland of Themeda triandra, Eulalia aurea and Eriachne tenuiculmis with High Shrubland of Acacia pyrifolia var. pyrifolia, ME TtEaEte ApyAtpPl EvCh Acacia tumida var. pilbarensis and Petalostylis labicheoides and Open Woodland of Eucalyptus victrix and Corymbia hamersleyana on red brown silty loam on medium drainage lines and flood plains Shrubland of Acacia monticola, Acacia ancistrocarpa and Petalostylis labicheoides with Scattered Low Trees of Corymbia hamerselyana MI AmoAanPl ChEl TtAin and Eucalyptus leucophloia subsp. leucophloia over Open Tussock Grassland of Themeda triandra and Aristida inaequilatera on red loamy sand on minor drainage lines BHP Bil iton Iron Ore Orebody 32 East AWT – Vertebrate Fauna Environmental Impact Assessment, February 2015
3.2.2 Fauna Habitat
1 Fauna Habitat Mapping and Extents
Previous surveys have mapped the fauna habitats over parts, or the entirety of the Project area Table 6: Fauna habitats previously mapped in or within the vicinity of the Orebody32 East Project area.
Previous survey
Fauna habitats
• Low hil
ENV (2011a) Eastern Ridge • Minor drainage line • Alluvial plain • Ridges and scree slopes GHD (2008) Myopic* • Mixed woodlands and shrublands • Drainage lines • Range crests • Range slopes ENV (2006) Orebody 24* • Gorges and gul ies • Minor drainage lines • Val ey plains • Ridge top ecologia (2004) Orebody 24 Expansion* • Hummock grassland • Grassy plain • Minor drainage line *These surveys covered an area larger than the Project area and due to no fauna habitat mapping in these reports, not all fauna habitats listed are expected to occur within the Project area.
2015 Mapping of Fauna Habitats across the Project Area
Fauna habitats were re-mapped by Astron using previous fauna survey site data and habitat mapping, vegetation mapping, elevation data and aerial photography. The classification of the mapped units were aligned with current BHP Billiton Iron Ore fauna habitat type classifications (BHP Billiton Iron Ore 2014). Four broad fauna habitat types were subsequently mapped across the Project areand Figure 4). Importance to fauna rating criteria for fauna habitats is detailed Low Hills habitat is considered to generally have low habitat value as a result of its decreased vegetation complexity, low diversity of microhabitats and the few conservation significant fauna that most likely utilise it. However, the Western Pebble-mound Mouse is somewhat restricted to this habitat type, it is considered to be of moderate value for fauna according to the criteria in Appendix Stony Plain habitat is widespread and common throughout the Pilbara region and there are few species of conservation significance that may utilise this habitat type, resulting in low value to fauna. Mulga habitat is considered to have moderate value for fauna, as it supports a relatively unique and diverse faunal assemblage, with some species largely restricted to this habitat type. A number of conservation significant species are likely to occur within Mulga habitat but are not restricted to this BHP Bil iton Iron Ore Orebody 32 East AWT – Vertebrate Fauna Environmental Impact Assessment, February 2015 Minor Drainage Line habitat is considered to be of moderate value due to the micro niche diversity and therefore the ability to support a wide suite of species, including species of conservation significance, although most of these species are not restricted to this habitat type. 2 Fauna Movement and Corridors
The minor drainage line habitat is likely to act as a wildlife corridor, as the denser vegetation structure and potential pools of surface water following a significant rainfall event, allow species to increased dispersal opportunities. A number of bird and bat species are also likely to forage within and along the length of the drainage line, however, they are also likely to forage in the larger Homestead Creek which is adjacent to the Project area. BHP Bil iton Iron Ore Orebody 32 East AWT – Vertebrate Fauna Environmental Impact Assessment, February 2015 Table 7: Consolidated fauna habitats within the Project area.
Fauna habitat
Description
Importance rating
Extent within the
Project area (ha)
Stony Plain habitat typical y occurs in the low lying parts of the Project area at the base of the low hil s. General y consists of low open woodlands or shrublands over Low - Few species of conservation significance that may hummock grassland. There are localised depositions of sand utilise this habitat type. within this habitat. Moderate- there was a low diversity of microhabitats, with little woody debris (few logs and hol ow trees) Low Hil s habitat is characterised by low undulating hil s, provided by the vegetation and the soil was hard and typical y consisting of hummock grassland over scattered unsuitable for burrowing fauna. However, the Western Pebble-mound Mouse typical y inhabits (and recorded in) this habitat type as it contains the rocky scree with which it builds its mounds. The species is somewhat restricted to this habitat type with the Project area Moderate - minor drainage lines have the potential to Minor Drainage Line habitat is linear, occurring from the hil provide habitat for a number of conservation significant Minor Drainage Line slopes extending to the surrounding plains, or smal fauna, such as the Australian Bustard and Rainbow Bee- tributaries that flow into more major drainage lines. eater, but these species are not restricted to this habitat type. Minor drainage line habitat is likely to act as a wildlife corridor for dispersal and movement of fauna. Moderate - Mulga habitat potential y supports species Mulga habitat typical y occurs in the lower lying parts of the such as the blindsnake Ramphotyphlops ganei and Project area and includes Mulga groves on stony soils with Australian Bustard. Mulga also supports a relatively unique and diverse faunal assemblage, with some species largely restricted to this habitat type. Legend
Conservation Significant Fauna Species

Rainbow Bee-eater Western Pebble-mound Mouse LH: Low Hil s
M: Mulga
MiDL: Minor Drainage Line
StP: Stony Plain
Development Envelope
BHP Bil iton Iron Ore Datum: GDA 1994 - Projection: MGA Zone 50 - Scale: 1:10,000 (A3) Orebody 32 East AWT - Vertebrate Fauna Environmental Impact Assessment Figure 4: Fauna habitat mapping and conservation significant fauna species records within the Project area
BHP Bil iton Iron Ore Orebody 32 East AWT – Vertebrate Fauna Environmental Impact Assessment, February 2015 This page has been left blank intentional y.
BHP Bil iton Iron Ore Orebody 32 East AWT – Vertebrate Fauna Environmental Impact Assessment, February 2015
3.2.3 Fauna Species
1 Fauna Assemblages
Fauna assemblages in the Project area have been compiled from surveys conducted within and surrounding the Project area and records from NatureMap (Department of Parks and Wildlife (Parks and Wildlife) 2015), and EPBC Act Protected Matters Search Tool (Department of the Environment (DoE) 2015and Appendix A). A total of 320 terrestrial vertebrate fauna species have been previously recorded within the vicinity of the Project area. This includes eight amphibian species, 90 reptile species, 174 bird species and 48 mammal species (including 12 introduced mammal species). Many of these species are unlikely to occur in the Project area on a regular basis since these records are from a large area encompassing a wide range of habitats, particularly the waterbird species. Of those species previously recorded, 32 are species of conservation significance, including three reptiles, 21 birds and eight mammals have the potential to occur within the Project are and Appendix A). The conservation significant fauna previously recorded in the Project area and those that are likely to occur are discussed in Sectionand The criteria for determining the likelihood of conservation significant species occurring within the Project area is detailed in BHP Bil iton Iron Ore Orebody 32 East AWT – Vertebrate Fauna Environmental Impact Assessment, February 2015 Table 8: Survey effort and results of surveys where part or al of the survey area occurs within the Orebody 32 East Project area.
Eastern Ridge
Biological Survey
Report for Myopic
Orebody 24 Flora And Orebody 24
Baseline Biological
(Orebody 23/24/25)
Myopic Exploration
Project Area,
Fauna Assessment
Expansion Biological
& Soil Surveys and
Fauna Assessment
Newman Flora and
Mapping for
Fauna Assessment
ML244SA West of
the Fortescue River
Onshore/ Biologic Survey type
Level 1 fauna survey Level 1 fauna and Level 1 fauna survey One season Level 2 One season Level 2 Desktop review and ground-truthing of Type of sampling
Habitat assessments Habitat assessments Habitat assessments Habitat assessments Habitat assessments Habitat assessments Amphibians
Reptiles
BHP Bil iton Iron Ore Orebody 32 East AWT – Vertebrate Fauna Environmental Impact Assessment, February 2015 Eastern Ridge
Biological Survey
Report for Myopic
Orebody 24 Flora And Orebody 24
Baseline Biological
(Orebody 23/24/25)
Myopic Exploration
Project Area,
Fauna Assessment
Expansion Biological
& Soil Surveys and
Fauna Assessment
Newman Flora and
Mapping for
Fauna Assessment
ML244SA West of
the Fortescue River
Conservation • Western Pebble-
• Western Pebble- • Western Pebble- • Rainbow Bee-eater • Pilbara Leaf- significant
• Western Pebble- • Australian Bustard • Australian Bustard • Peregrine Falcon • Rainbow Bee-eater • Western Star Finch • Western Pebble- • Pilbara Olive • Pilbara Olive • Peregrine Falcon • Pilbara Olive BHP Bil iton Iron Ore Orebody 32 East AWT – Vertebrate Fauna Environmental Impact Assessment, February 2015 2 Conservation Significant Species Recorded
Two species of conservation significance have been recorded within the Project are and the locations of these records are presented i Western Pebble-mound Mouse (Pseudomys chapmani)
The Western Pebble-mound Mouse is listed as Priority 4 by Parks and Wildlife. Although suitable habitat is patchy, extant populations are widespread in the extensive ranges of the central and southern Pilbara region (Van Dyck and Strahan 2008). The persistence of abandoned mounds in the Gascoyne and Murchison regions and small, isolated, coastal ranges in the Pilbara, indicates considerable recent decline (Van Dyck and Strahan 2008). Colonies occur on the gentler slopes of rocky ranges where the ground is covered by stony mulch and vegetated by hard spinifex, often with a sparse overstorey of eucalypts and scattered shrubs, typically Senna, Acacia and Ptilotus (Van Dyck and Strahan 2008). Mounds, however, are also sited close to narrow ribbons of Acacia dominated scrub that grow along incised drainage lines (Van Dyck and Strahan 2008). There are 11 records of Western Pebble-mound Mouse mounds; one active, five inactive and five of status unknown, within the Project area from four previous surveys (ENV 2011a, Onshore & Biologic 2009, GHD 2008, ecologia 2004a). Records were from low hills (ENV 2011a) or spinifex covered scree slopes and ridge tops (GHD 2008). Rainbow Bee-eater (Merops ornatus)
The Rainbow Bee-eater is listed as Migratory under the EPBC Act and Schedule 3 under the WC Act. The Rainbow Bee-eater is one of the most common and widespread birds in Australia and was a commonly recorded species during bioregional surveys in the Pilbara (Burbidge et al. 2010). The species winters from the Gascoyne north to Indonesia, moving south mainly in late September and early October and north from February to April (Johnstone and Storr 1998). Rainbow Bee-eaters tend to prefer lightly wooded, preferably sandy country near water (Johnstone and Storr 1998). Two Rainbow Bee-eaters were recorded by ecologia (2004a) at one of their trapping sites for the Orebody 24 Expansion biological survey. The individuals were recorded within grassy plain habitat of scattered Eucalyptus leucophloia subsp. leucophloia and Acacia aneura over Themeda triandra, Ptilotus helipteroides and Goodenia species (ecologia 2004a). BHP Bil iton Iron Ore Orebody 32 East AWT – Vertebrate Fauna Environmental Impact Assessment, February 2015 Table 9: Likelihood of conservation significant species occurring within the Project area.
Preferred habitat
Extent of the habitat Records
Likelihood
in the Project area
of occurring
Project area
Mammals
Northern Quol
Northern Quol s favour rocky areas such as Preferred habitat for Closest record is from Dasyurus hallucatus Endangered ranges, escarpments, mesas, gorges, this species is not the main access bridge breakaways, boulder fields, major drainage present within the lines and treed creek lines, as wel as structural y diverse woodland or forest areas containing large diameter trees, termite mounds or hol ow logs (DSEWPaC Long-tailed Dunnart Its habitat includes Acacia, rocky screes with The Low Hil habitats Previous records in Sminthopsis longicaudata hummock grass and shrubs, and tall open of the Project area shrubland and woodlands (Van Dyck and contain the rocky south-west of the substrate preferred Project area (ecologia Vegetation types associated with the The Low Hil , Stony No confirmed records Macrotis lagotis Greater Bilby including: open tussock in the Project area or grassland on uplands and hil s, Mulga woodland/scrubland on ridges and rises and habitats are hummock grassland in plains and al uvial considered suitable areas (Southgate 1990). Other habitats used habitat within the by the species include stony downs, cracking Project area clays, desert sand plains and dune fields, spinifex grassland and Acacia spp. scrublands on red earths (Johnson 2008) Black-footed Rock-wal aby Habitat varies between colonies but always Preferred habitat for No confirmed records Petrogale lateralis lateralis includes grassland for feeding in close this species is not in the Project area or proximity to cliff, rock-pile, talus or present within the escarpment refuge habitat BHP Bil iton Iron Ore Orebody 32 East AWT – Vertebrate Fauna Environmental Impact Assessment, February 2015 Preferred habitat
Extent of the habitat Records
Likelihood
in the Project area
of occurring
Project area
Northern Marsupial Mole Lives underground in sand dunes, inter- No suitable habitat is No confirmed records Notoryctes caurinus dunal flats and sandy soils along river flats present within the in the Project area or Roosts in deep complex caves beneath There is no habitat No confirmed records Macroderma gigas bluffs of low rounded hil s, granite rock piles within the Project within the Project area. and abandoned mines (Armstrong and area that supports Ghost bats have been the caves preferred recorded at three caves in the southern Orebody 24 area (ENV 2006), 2 km north east of the Project Area. Recent and old scats (200 to 500 in number) were found in a cave to the north of the Project area (Biologic 2014a) Pilbara Leaf- nosed Bat Hot, humid roost caves. Forages in gorge/ There is no habitat No confirmed records Rhinonicteris aurantia gully habitat and along watercourses, within the Project within the Project area. particularly where water is present area that supports Cal s of this species the caves preferred have been recorded from gorge/ gul y and minor drainage line habitats 2 km north of the Project area (Biologic 2014a) BHP Bil iton Iron Ore Orebody 32 East AWT – Vertebrate Fauna Environmental Impact Assessment, February 2015 Preferred habitat
Extent of the habitat Records
Likelihood
in the Project area
of occurring
Project area
Western Pebble Mound Mouse Gentler slopes of rocky ranges where Suitable Low Hil Five inactive mounds Pseudomys chapmani ground is covered with a stony mantle and habitat exists within (ENV 2011a), five vegetated by spinifex, often with sparse the Project area overstorey of eucalypts and scattered unknown) (Onshore & shrubs (Van Dyck and Strahan 2008) Biologic 2009, GHD 2008) and one active 2004a) recorded within the Project area Birds
Fork-tailed Swift
Entirely aerial within the Pilbara region Entirely aerial so wil Recorded from Eastern Likely Apus pacificus not utilise habitats Ophthalmia Range within the Project (ecologia 2004b) and Eastern Great Egret Favoured breeding habitat includes wooded Preferred habitats do Nearest record is from Unlikely Ardea modesta swamps and river pools with Eucalyptus camaldulensis and Melaleuca argentea occur in the Project (Parks and Wildlife (Johnstone and Storr 1998) Utilises a variety of natural and Preferred habitats do Nearest record is from Unlikely Ardea ibis anthropogenic habitats and occurs in tropical and temperate grasslands, inland occur in the Project (Parks and Wildlife wetlands, wooded lands and farm land Preferred habitat for foraging and breeding Preferred habitats do Nearest record is from Unlikely Plegadis falcinellus are fresh water marshes at the edges of lakes and rivers, lagoons, flood plains, wet occur in the Project (Parks and Wildlife meadows, swamps, reservoirs, sewage ponds, rice fields and cultivated areas under BHP Bil iton Iron Ore Orebody 32 East AWT – Vertebrate Fauna Environmental Impact Assessment, February 2015 Preferred habitat
Extent of the habitat Records
Likelihood
in the Project area
of occurring
Project area
White-bellied Sea Eagle Moderately common in Pilbara islands as Preferred habitats do Nearest record is from Unlikely Haliaeetus leucogaster wel as in large inland water bodies. This not occur in the species also visits near-coastal wetlands and Project area (Parks and Wildlife other lotic waters in the region Peregrine Falcon Cosmopolitan, wil hunt in any habitat, All habitats of the A single individual was Falco peregrinus soaring at height or from a perch; often near Project area are observed in crest/ cliffs (Armstrong and Anstee 2000). Nests on suitable for hunting, slope habitat 4 km to rocky ledges in tal , vertical cliff faces and the north east of the tal trees associated with drainage lines suitable for nesting Project area (Biologic Australian Bustard Open or lightly wooded grasslands Suitable habitat ENV (2011) recorded Ardeotis australis (Johnstone and Storr 1998) common within the an individual from the Project area and al uvial plain (sand surrounding region plain) habitat 5 km to the north-east of the Australian Painted Snipe Inhabits shal ow terrestrial freshwater No suitable habitat is No confirmed records Rostratula australis (occasional y brackish) wetlands, including present within the in the Project area or temporary and permanent lakes, swamps BHP Bil iton Iron Ore Orebody 32 East AWT – Vertebrate Fauna Environmental Impact Assessment, February 2015 Preferred habitat
Extent of the habitat Records
Likelihood
in the Project area
of occurring
Project area
Migratory waders Water edges including coastal, saline and No large water bodies Records of these (Oriental Plover Charadrius veredus, fresh water bodies. Also inland water bodies are found within the species are from Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos, WC Act including bore overflows (Johnstone and outside the Project Sharp-tailed Sandpiper Calidris area at Ophthalmia acuminata, Curlew Sandpiper Calidris Dam, Fortescue River ferruginea, Pectoral Sandpiper Calidris and the tailings dam at melanotus, Red-necked Stint Charadrius ruficol is, Long-toed Stint (ecologia 1998, ENV Calidris subminuta, Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola, Common Greenshank Tringa nebularia, Common Redshank Tringa totanus) Princess Parrot Occurs in open savanna woodlands and Suitable habitat is Nearest record is 45 Polytelis alexandrae shrublands that usual y consist of scattered present within the km to the north of the stands of Eucalyptus, Casuarina or Project area from 2012 Al ocasuarina trees, an understorey of (Parks and Wildlife shrubs such as Acacia (especial y A. aneura), Cassia, Eremophila, Grevil ea, Hakea and Senna; and a ground cover dominated by Triodia species (Johnstone and Storr 1998) Rainbow Bee- eater Lightly wooded, preferably sandy country Suitable habitat Merops ornatus near water (Johnstone and Storr 1998) common within the recorded from grassy Project area and plain habitat within the surrounding region Project area (ecologia Star Finch (Western) Prefers areas of dense vegetation, such as No suitable habitat is Recorded from Neochmia ruficauda subclarescens reed beds (Johnstone and Storr 2004) and present within the woodlands near water (Armstrong and 2006) within 5 km of the Project area BHP Bil iton Iron Ore Orebody 32 East AWT – Vertebrate Fauna Environmental Impact Assessment, February 2015 Preferred habitat
Extent of the habitat Records
Likelihood
in the Project area
of occurring
Project area
Reptiles
Spotted Ctenotus
Chenopod, hummock grass, and snakewood Suitable habitat Nearest record is 20 Ctenotus uber johnstonei habitats scattered across Pilbara region common within the km to the east of the Project area and Project area from 2009 surrounding region (Parks and Wildlife Unpatterned Robust Slider (Central Loose soil under leaf litter at base of shrubs Suitable habitat Nearest records are in woodlands (Wilson and Swan 2010) common within the 15 km to the south- Lerista macropisthopus remota Project area and west of the Project surrounding region area from 2010 (Parks and Wildlife 2015) Pilbara Olive Python Associated with drainage systems, including Preferred habitat for Records within 1.5 km Liasis olivaceus barroni areas with localised drainage and semi- this species does not of Project area from permanent watercourses (Bush and Maryan occur within the rock pool at Orebody Project area. May 35 (Biologic 2014b) utilise the Minor and within the ranges Drainage Line habitat 3 km to the north within the Project (Orebody 24) of the area for dispersal Project area (Biologic 2014a, ENV 2006) 1 This species is listed as P2 and known from the Kimberley but the taxonomy of this subspecies and its occurrence in the Pilbara is not confirmed. However, taking the precautionary approach, it wil be treated as a P2 species. BHP Bil iton Iron Ore Orebody 32 East AWT – Vertebrate Fauna Environmental Impact Assessment, February 2015 3 Conservation Significant Species Considered Likely to Occur
Fork-tailed Swift (Apus pacificus)
The Fork-tailed Swift is listed as Migratory under the EPBC Act and Schedule 3 under the WC Act, as it breeds in north-east and East Asia, wintering in Australia and southern New Guinea (Johnstone and Storr 1998). This species is entirely aerial within the Pilbara region and is attracted to any thunderstorms and cyclonic systems (Johnstone and Storr 1998). This species has previously been recorded at Eastern Ophthalmia Range (ecologia 2004b) and Orebody 31 (ENV 2011c) approximately 15-20 km to the east of the Project area. It is expected to utilise the skies above the Project area sporadically in the summer months. Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus)
The Peregrine Falcon is listed as Schedule 4 under the WC Act, and is considered rare or scarce over much of its range, including the Pilbara (Johnstone and Storr 1998). Inland it is most often encountered along cliffs above rivers, ranges and wooded watercourses and lakes, where it hunts (Johnstone and Storr 1998). It nests on rocky ledges in tall, vertical cliff faces and tall trees associated with drainage lines. A single individual has been recorded at Orebody 24 (Biologic 2014a) approximately 4 km to the north east of the Project area. It is likely that this species utilises all habitats within the Project area periodically for foraging. However, no suitable nesting habitat is available within the Project area. Australian Bustard (Ardeotis australis)
The Australian Bustard is listed as Priority 4 by Parks and Wildlife. It occurs across most of mainland Australia, but is listed in Western Australia (WA) primarily due to a decline in its range in the south of WA. It is a nomadic species occurring in a wide variety of habitats including gravel plains, riverine habitats and open or lightly wooded grasslands (Johnstone and Storr 1998). Although it has not been recorded within the Project area, large areas of suitable habitat exists and is one of the more widespread and commonly recorded conservation significant species within the Pilbara region. ENV (2011) recorded an individual from the alluvial plain habitat in the Eastern Ridge study area, approximately 5 km to the north east of the Project area. Other numerous records of this species are within the vicinity of the Project area (Parks and Wildlife 2015). Therefore, this species is considered likely to occur within the Project area, particularly within the Stony Plain and Minor Drainage Line habitats. Spotted Ctenotus (Ctenotus uber johnstonei)
This species is listed as Priority 2 by Parks and Wildlife and generally inhabits chenopod, hummock grass, and snakewood habitats scattered across the Pilbara region. Little is known of its habitat requirements with few specimens having been col ected. There is uncertainty with the taxonomy of this subspecies, which is known to occur in the Kimberley region but its occurrence in the Pilbara is not confirmed. The Pilbara records of this species may be an undescribed subspecies. However, taking the precautionary approach, it has been included in this report. The nearest record is located 20 km to the east of the Project area in 2009 (Parks and Wildlife 2015). Suitable habitats within the Project area include Stony Plains, Low Hills and Minor Drainage Line habitats and it is likely to be resident within the Project area. BHP Bil iton Iron Ore Orebody 32 East AWT – Vertebrate Fauna Environmental Impact Assessment, February 2015 Unpatterned Robust Slider (central interior) (Lerista macropisthopus remota)
This species is listed as Priority 2 by Parks and Wildlife and is found in shrublands in loose soil under leaf litter at the base of shrubs (Wilson and Swan 2010). Little is known of its habitat requirements with few specimens having been col ected. The nearest record is located approximately 15 km to the south-west of the Project area in 2010 (Parks and Wildlife 2015). All habitats within the Project area are considered suitable for this species and therefore it is likely to be resident within the Project area. Pilbara Olive Python (Liasis olivaceus barroni)
The Pilbara Olive Python is listed as Vulnerable under the EPBC Act and Schedule 1 under the WC Act. The Pilbara Olive Python is known from a number of sites throughout the Pilbara and is associated with drainage systems, including areas with localised drainage and semi-permanent watercourses (Pearson 1993). In the Hamersley subregion, the Pilbara Olive Python is most often encountered in the vicinity of permanent waterholes in rocky ranges or among riverine vegetation (Pearson 2003). Microhabitat preferences are under rock piles, on top of rocks or under spinifex (Tutt et al. 2004). This species has been recorded from a rock pool at Orebody 35 (Biologic 2014b), 1.5 km to the south of the Project area, as well as gorge habitat approximately 3 km to the north (Orebody 24) of the Project area (Biologic 2014a, ENV 2006). Although preferred habitat for this species does not occur within the Project area, it may utilise the Minor Drainage Line habitat within the Project area intermittently for dispersal. BHP Bil iton Iron Ore Orebody 32 East AWT – Vertebrate Fauna Environmental Impact Assessment, February 2015
4 Impact Assessment
4.1 Fauna Habitat
4.1.1 Local Context
The clearing of native vegetation required within the Project area will result in a loss of fauna habitat. The majority of the Project area is Stony Plain habitat (295.1 hectares (ha)), followed by Low Hills habitat (91.6 ha), Minor Drainage Line habitat (15.3 ha) and Mulga habitat (11.5 ha). The Stony Plain and Low Hills habitat are common habitats within the vicinity of the Project area and throughout the Pilbara region. Minor Drainage Line habitats, although not large in area as they are a linear habitat, are a common habitat found in the Hamersley Ranges adjacent to the Project area. The Mulga habitat occurs as only smal isolated pockets within the north and east of the Project area and more extensive groves of Mulga occur outside the Project area. Fragmentation of habitat is another potential impact resulting from the clearing of vegetation within the Project area. However, clearing of the Project area is unlikely to restrict fauna movements given that the Project area is already bounded by a rail spur to Orebodies 23/24/25 to the east and ranges to the north. In addition, there are no fauna habitats within the Project area that would act as major movement corridors. Instead, the most likely dispersal/movement corridor is Homestead Creek, situated just to the west of the Project area. Homestead Creek wil not be affected by the proposed Project and wil continue to function as a movement corridor for fauna. 4.1.2 Regional Context
The fauna habitats within the Project area were considered of low to moderate importance for fauna. The Stony Plain habitat was considered to be of low importance for fauna as it is extremely widespread and common throughout the Pilbara region. The small areas of Mulga, Low Hills and Minor Drainage Line habitats within the Project area were considered to be of moderate importance, due to their potential to support some conservation significant species, and the ability of the Minor Drainage Line habitat to act as a wildlife corridor. However, these fauna habitat types are also widely represented and common throughout the Pilbara region. Given that the four fauna habitat types recorded within the Project area are well represented in the region and the small size of the Project area, it is considered that the impact of clearing the Project area within a regional context would not be significant. The fauna habitats represented within the Project area are typical of the Pilbara region and therefore do not have high ecosystem functional 4.2 Fauna Species
4.2.1 Local Context
The clearing of vegetation within the Project area will result in the loss of some terrestrial vertebrate species in specific locations. Birds are generally highly mobile and only a few sedentary species (e.g. fairy-wrens) and nocturnal roosting species will be impacted during initial clearing. Less mobile species such as some of the mammals, reptiles and amphibians will be lost in areas of direct impact. The majority of fauna species present within the Project area will also be abundant in adjacent areas and have extended home ranges, and impacts on these species are considered likely to be negligible. BHP Bil iton Iron Ore Orebody 32 East AWT – Vertebrate Fauna Environmental Impact Assessment, February 2015
4.2.2 Regional Context
The small area required to be cleared for the proposed Project is not likely to impact on conservation significant fauna species or required habitat. It is considered that vegetation clearing within the Project area is unlikely to significantly impact on any terrestrial species listed as conservation significant under the EPBC Act or the WC Act. The Western Pebble-mound Mouse and Rainbow Bee-eater have previously been recorded in the Project area. The Western Pebble-mound Mouse has been found in the Low Hills and Stony Plain habitats of the Project area. Given that these habitat types are well represented within the Pilbara region, similar habitats exist adjacent to the Project area, and pebble mounds were not recorded in abundance, the proposed Project is unlikely to significantly impact this species. The Rainbow Bee- eater is unlikely to be impacted as it is a highly mobile species and not restricted to any of the fauna habitats within the Project area. 4.3 Indirect Impacts
Indirect impacts from clearing include displacement of fauna into adjacent habitat, habitat fragmentation and/or further habitat degradation associated with the construction processes (e.g. dust and weeds) or the increased level of human activity (e.g. feral animals and rubbish). All mobile fauna within future development areas that are able to avoid direct impact will be displaced into adjacent habitat. A characteristic of many arid zone species is their ability to move long distances, for example, some native rodents can move long distances, up to 14 km (Dickman et al. 1995). The displacement of fauna into adjacent areas can result in the local area exceeding its carrying capacity, with a subsequent reduction of available resources, and potential mortality or displacement of individuals. The outcome will be that either the same species assemblage will establish a new equilibrium, based on the original carrying capacity of the area, or the excess pressure of local clearing will disrupt the interactions of all species, resulting in the displacement of less robust species. Habitat degradation may also occur through factors associated with construction activity or increased human activity but can be managed to occur within the disturbance footprint only. The transmission of weeds into remaining habitat within the Project area or habitat adjacent to the Project area may occur if weed hygiene measures are not implemented. The spread of weeds is most likely to occur along gullies or drainage lines. It is likely to have an adverse impact on the diversity of flora but there is little quantitative data on the effects of weeds on native fauna species. Limited studies indicate that fauna communities are affected by invasive plant species, but these responses may differ according to the taxonomic group in that some species may increase in numbers while others decrease (Grice 2006). Dust has generally been considered a potential indirect impact on fauna due to the potential to affect vegetation health and ultimately fauna habitat condition. However, recent studies show that dust accumulation from mining projects in semi-arid Australia did not have any impacts on the mortality and recruitment of a threatened flora species or community composition (Matsuki et al. in prep) and therefore unlikely to impact fauna. An increase in human activity is often associated with an increase in the abundance of introduced species such as the house mouse and feral cat, which in turn, increases the competition or predation pressure on native fauna species. This increase in human activity may be due to a decline in habitat health, increased road kills and poor waste disposal practices. BHP Bil iton Iron Ore Orebody 32 East AWT – Vertebrate Fauna Environmental Impact Assessment, February 2015 Little is known about competitive interactions between feral and native species (Dickman 1996) and it is difficult to predict what the impact to native species might be over the life of the proposed Project. It is unclear whether the relative numbers of predator and prey will establish a stable equilibrium over the life of the project, or whether the increase in feral predators will result in local extinction of small native species. An increase in road fauna deaths may also occur with increased vehicle traffic; in particular impacting on species such as kangaroos, reptiles and nocturnal birds. These indirect impacts have the potential to affect individual species and local species assemblages; however, they are unlikely to have a significant impact on terrestrial fauna assemblages in a regional context, conservation significant fauna species and ecosystems of high functional value or that are regionally important. These indirect impacts will continue to be managed as per existing adjacent 4.4 Cumulative Impacts
Cumulatively, direct and indirect impacts on native vegetation from mining projects will result in an increased overall loss or modification of remnant vegetation and habitat for species of conservation significance. In addition to further reduction in the extent of fauna habitat, mining and linear infrastructure projects can also block connectivity between major areas of habitat. A reduction in habitat connectivity may restrict opportunities for fauna to successfully seek food and water, breed and colonise new territories. No fauna habitats occurring within the Project area are restricted to the three land systems that are mapped over the Project area. Clearing of the entire Project area represents no more than 0.03% of the total area within the Pilbara bioregion for any of the three land systems recorded within the Project area. Similarly, clearing of the Project area will only represent 0.02% and <0.01% of the total area within the Pilbara region for the two vegetation units (as per Beard 1975) recorded within the There are a number of existing BHP Bil iton Iron Ore projects in proximity to the current Project area; namely Orebodies 23/24/25 to the east and Mt Whaleback to the south west. Clearing of the Project area is unlikely to significantly affect connectivity of habitats given that the Project area is already bounded by a rail spur to Orebodies 23/24/25 to the east, Mt Whaleback further to the south and ranges to the north. In addition, there are no fauna habitats within the Project area that would act as major movement corridors. Instead, the most likely dispersal/movement corridor would be Homestead Creek, situated outside of the Project area to the west. 4.5 Residual Impacts
There will be minimal residual impacts on fauna as BHP Billiton Iron Ore have advised there is no permanent infrastructure and all ground disturbance associated with the Project will be BHP Bil iton Iron Ore Orebody 32 East AWT – Vertebrate Fauna Environmental Impact Assessment, February 2015
5 Discussion
5.1 Adequacy of Surveys
The EPA has indicated that the level of terrestrial fauna survey (i.e. Level 1 or Level 2) required for a development area is assessed on a consideration of ten characteristics (EPA 2004). Astron considers that the proposed Project would be considered to have an overall low impact, as seven characteristics had a low impact, two had a moderate impact and one had a high impact (Table 10). Table 10: Assessment of characteristics in defining the scale and nature of impacts on biodiversity (EPA 2004) for the
proposed Project and level of survey required.
Area characteristic
Scale and nature of impact from the proposed Project
LOW
- In either the local area or region:
Degree of habitat degradation i) in fragmented ecosystems with more than 50% native vegetation or and clearing within region natural areas remaining; or i ) in more extensive ecosystems with more than 50% of vegetation in better condition
HIGH
>10 ha - Bioregion Group 1
Size/scale of proposal/impact >50 ha – Bioregion Groups 2-3 >75 ha - Bioregion Group 4 Rarity of vegetation and LOW - Vegetation and landforms that are natural y more Widespread
than 10% of local area (15 km radius) and the bioregion. Significant habitats LOW - Significant habitats are not known from the area or found by
reconnaissance survey. LOW - Refugia are not known from the area or are not found by
reconnaissance survey.
MODERATE
i) Priority Fauna species are found in the area or in similar habitats in its
Fauna protected under immediate vicinity during reconnaissance survey; and/or international agreements or treaties, Special y Protected i ) the habitat and area characteristics indicate that Priority Fauna species or Priority fauna may occur. Cumulative impact on the total number of populations should be Other significant fauna or LOW - Significant species or taxa are not found or likely to be found in the
fauna assemblages area or in similar habitat in its immediate vicinity. Size of remnant and condition/intactness of LOW - Area is not in a fragmented environment or an environment with
habitat and faunal extensive areas of otherwise degraded habitats or faunal assemblages, such as some rangeland environments. Ecological linkage MODERATE - The area is not directly connected to adjoining areas but is
part of a minor ecological linkage. Heterogeneity or complexity of the habitat and faunal LOW - The area and its immediate surrounds are less complex relative to
the characteristics of the local and regional scale. To date, two Level 2 terrestrial fauna surveys, three Level 1 terrestrial fauna surveys and one targeted fauna survey have been conducted over the entirety, or parts, of the Project area. These surveys provide detailed information on the fauna assemblages in the region. EPA (2004) suggests a Level 1 terrestrial fauna survey should be conducted if the majority of characteristics are low BHP Bil iton Iron Ore Orebody 32 East AWT – Vertebrate Fauna Environmental Impact Assessment, February 2015 potential impact. Therefore, Astron considers that more than adequate information is available from the previous surveys conducted over the Project area to assess the risk of development on terrestrial vertebrate fauna. 5.2 Biodiversity Values
The EPA Position Statement No. 3 indicates an ecological assessment of a site must consider its biodiversity value at the genetic, species and ecosystem levels, and its ecological functional value at the ecosystem level (EPA 2002). Due to lack of data it is not possible to comment on the biodiversity value at the genetic level, however, it is unlikely to be of relevance to the suite of vertebrate fauna within the Project area. Terrestrial vertebrate fauna species present or likely to be present in the Project area are generally present elsewhere in the region. A review of fauna databases and previous fauna surveys conducted within the vicinity of the Project area showed that there are unlikely to be any characteristics of the reptile, bird and mammal assemblages that are of particular significance in the region. The fauna assemblages that have been recorded and that are predicted to occur within the Project area are unlikely to be unique for the available habitat types. Al vertebrate species likely to occur within the Project area are distributed widely throughout the region and have been recorded in various other surveys in the bioregion (Appendix A) and are unlikely to be impacted at a regional level should the Project proceed. Only two of the 32 species of conservation significance have been recorded in the Project area; the Western Pebble-mound Mouse and Rainbow Bee-eater. The Western Pebble-mound Mouse prefers gentle rocky slopes, hil s and spurs, which is found in the Low Hills and Stony Plain habitats of the Project area. Given habitat types are well represented within the Pilbara, similar habitats exist adjacent to the Project area and pebble mounds were not recorded in abundance, disturbance to the Project area is not expected to have significant impact on this species. The Rainbow Bee-eater is unlikely to be impacted as it is a highly mobile species and not restricted to any of the fauna habitats within the Project area. An additional six conservation significant species were considered likely to occur within the Project area. Three are bird species that are highly mobile and generally less reliant on specific habitats within the Project area. The Pilbara Olive Python may utilise the Minor Drainage Line habitat intermittently for dispersal but is unlikely to be resident in the Project area. The other two species are priority listed reptile species that may be resident within the Project area. Little is known of their habitat requirements with few specimens recorded. However, the habitats that they have been recorded in are common and widespread throughout the region and if these species do utilise the Project area, they are not likely to be dependent on any specific habitat contained within it. The fauna habitats represented within the Project area are typical to the Pilbara region and therefore do not have high ecosystem functional value. Clearing associated with the proposed Project is unlikely to have any impact on an ecosystem of high functional value or that is regionally Therefore, vegetation clearing with the Project area is unlikely to have a significant impact on the biodiversity value at the genetic, species and ecosystem levels. 5.3 Conclusions
Astron considers that more than adequate information is available from the previous surveys conducted over the Project area to assess the risk of development on terrestrial vertebrate fauna. BHP Bil iton Iron Ore Orebody 32 East AWT – Vertebrate Fauna Environmental Impact Assessment, February 2015 Given that the four fauna habitat types recorded within the Project area are typical and wel represented in the region, the impact of clearing the Project area is unlikely to have any impact on an ecosystem of high functional value or that is regionally significant. A review of fauna databases and previous fauna surveys conducted within the vicinity of the Project area indicate that the faunal assemblages expected within the Project area are typical of the Pilbara region and are unlikely to be unique for the available habitat types. Al vertebrate species likely to occur within the Project area are distributed widely throughout the region and are unlikely to be impacted at a regional level should the Project proceed. Only two conservation significant species have been recorded in the Project area; the Western Pebble-mound Mouse and Rainbow Bee-eater. Given habitat types for the Western Pebble-mound Mouse are well represented within the Pilbara, similar habitats exist adjacent to the Project area and pebble mounds were not recorded in abundance; disturbance to the Project area is not expected to have significant impact on this species. The Rainbow Bee-eater is also unlikely to be impacted as it is a highly mobile species and not restricted to any of the fauna habitats within the Project area. BHP Bil iton Iron Ore Orebody 32 East AWT – Vertebrate Fauna Environmental Impact Assessment, February 2015
6 References
Armstrong, K and Anstee , S 2000, ‘The ghost bat in the Pilbara: 100 years on', Australian Mammalogy, vol. 22, pp. 93-101. Beard, JS 1975, Pilbara - The Vegetation of the Pilbara Area 1:100 000 Vegetation Series, University of Western Australia Press, Perth. BHP Billiton Iron Ore 2014, Biodiversity Survey Spatial Data and Digital Photography Requirements Procedure, Version 5.0, SPR-IEN-EMS-015. Biologic 2011, ‘Orebody 35 and Western Ridge Vertebrate Fauna Survey', unpublished report to BHP Billiton Iron Ore Pty Ltd, Perth. Biologic 2014a, ‘Orebody 24 Targeted Vertebrate Fauna Survey', unpublished report to BHP Billiton Biologic 2014b, ‘Orebody 25 Targeted Vertebrate Fauna Survey', unpublished report to BHP Billiton Biota Environmental Sciences 2001, ‘Baseline Biological and Soil Surveys and Mapping for ML244SA West of the Fortescue River', unpublished report to BHP Iron Ore Pty Ltd, Perth. Burbidge, AH, Johnstone, RE and Pearson, DJ 2010, ‘Birds in a vast arid upland: avian biogeographical patterns in the Pilbara region of Western Australia', Records of the Western Australian Museum Supplement, vol. 78, pp. 247-270. Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) 2015, Climate Averages for Newman Aero, viewed February 2015, Bush, B and Maryan, B 2011, Field Guide to Snakes of the Pilbara, Western Australian Museum, Perth: Western Australian Museum Department of Parks and Wildlife 2015, NatureMap, viewed Department of the Environment (DoE) 2015, EPBC Act Protected Matters Search Tool, viewed Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (DSEWPaC) 2011, Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 referral guidelines for the endangered northern quol , Dasyurus hallucatus, EPBC Act policy statement 3.25, Commonwealth of Australia, Canberra. Dickman, CR 1996, Overview of the Impact of Feral Cats on Australian Native Fauna, Australian Nature Conservation Agency, Canberra. Dickman, CR, Predavec, M and Downey, FJ 1995, ‘Long range movements of small mammals in arid Australia: implications for land management', .Journal of Arid Environments, vol. 31, pp. ecologia 1996, ‘Jimblebar Rail Spur Biological Assessment Survey', unpublished report to BHP Iron Ore Pty Ltd, Perth. BHP Bil iton Iron Ore Orebody 32 East AWT – Vertebrate Fauna Environmental Impact Assessment, February 2015 ecologia 1998, ‘Orebody 23 Extension Biological Assessment Survey', unpublished report to BHP Billiton Iron Ore Pty Ltd, Perth. ecologia 2004a, ‘OB24 Expansion Biological Survey', unpublished report to Mine and Port Development Joint Venture, Perth. ecologia 2004b, ‘Eastern Ophthalmia Range Expansion Biological Survey', unpublished report to BHP Billiton Pty Ltd Perth. Eco Logical Australia 2012, ‘Orebody 37 Level 1 Vertebrate Fauna Assessment', unpublished report to BHP Billiton Iron Ore, Perth. Eco Logical Australia 2013, ‘Ninga Level 1 Vertebrate Fauna Assessment', unpublished report to BHP Billiton Iron Ore, Perth. ENV Australia 2006, ‘OB24 Flora and Fauna Assessment Phase II', unpublished report to Mine and Ports Development Joint Venture Asset Development Projects, Perth. ENV Australia 2011a, ‘Eastern Ridge (OB23/24/25) Fauna Assessment', unpublished report to BHP Billiton Iron Ore, Perth. ENV Australia 2011b, Orebody 42/43 Flora, Vegetation and Fauna Assessment Summary Letter and Recommendations', unpublished report to BHP Billiton Iron Ore, Perth. ENV Australia 2011c, ‘OB31 Fauna Assessment', unpublished report to BHP Billiton Iron Ore, Perth. ENV Australia 2012, ‘Mount Whaleback Fauna Review and Fauna Assessment', unpublished report to BHP Billiton Iron Ore Pty Ltd, Perth. Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) 2002, Terrestrial Biological Surveys as an Element of Biodiversity Protection, Position Statement 3, EPA, Perth. EPA 2004, Terrestrial Fauna Surveys for Environmental Impact Assessment in Western Australia, Guidance Statement 56, EPA, Perth. EPA 2013, Environmental Assessment Guideline for Environmental factors and objectives, Environmental Assessment Guidelines No. 8, EPA, Perth. EPA and Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC) 2010, Technical Guide – Terrestrial Vertebrate Fauna Surveys for Environmental Impact Assessment (eds. BM Hyder, J Del , and MA Cowan), Perth. GHD 2008, ‘Report for Myopic Project Area, Newman Flora and Fauna Assessment', unpublished report to BHP Billiton Iron Ore, Perth. Grice, AC 2006, ‘The impacts of invasive plant species on the biodiversity of Australian rangelands', The Rangeland Journal, vol. 28, pp. 2735. Johnson, K.A 2008, ‘Bilby Macrotis lagotis (Reid, 1837)', in S Van Dyck and R Strahan (eds.), The Mammals of Australia 3rd Edition, New Reed Holland, Sydney, pp. 191-193. Johnstone, R and Storr, GM 1998, Handbook of Western Australian Birds Volume 1 - Non-passerines (Emu to Dol arbird), Western Australian Museum, Perth. BHP Bil iton Iron Ore Orebody 32 East AWT – Vertebrate Fauna Environmental Impact Assessment, February 2015 Johnstone, R and Storr, GM 2004, Handbook of Western Australian Birds. Volume II - Passerines (Blue-winged Pitta to Goldfinch), Western Australian Museum, Perth. Matsuki, M, Gardener, MR, Smith, A, Howard RK and Gove, A in prep, ‘Impacts of dust on plant health, survivorship and plant communities in semi-arid environments'. Northcote, KH, Beckmann, GG, Bettenay, E, Churchward, HM, Van Dijk, DC, Dimmock, GM, Hubble, GD, Isbell, RF, McArthur, WM, Murtha, GG, Nicolls, KD, Paton, TR, Thompson, CH, Webb, AA and Wright, MJ 1968, Atlas of Australian Soils, Sheets 1 to 10 with explanatory data, CSIRO Australia and Melbourne University Press, Melbourne. Onshore 2013, ‘Mt Whaleback AML 7/244 Flora and Vegetation and Vertebrate Fauna Review', unpublished report to BHP Billiton Iron Ore, Perth. Onshore and Biologic 2009, ‘Biological Survey Myopic Exploration Leases', unpublished report for BHP Billiton Iron Ore, Perth. Outback Ecology 2009, ‘Jimblebar Linear Development Terrestrial Vertebrate Fauna Assessment', unpublished report to BHP Billiton Iron Ore, Perth. Pearson, D 1993, ‘Distribution, status and conservation of pythons in Western Australia', in: D Lunney and D Ayers (eds.), Herpetology in Australia: A Diverse Discipline, Royal Zoological Society of NSW, Sydney, pp. 383-395. Pearson, D 2003, ‘Giant pythons of the Pilbara', Landscope, vol. 19(1). Southgate, R 1990, ‘Habitat and diet of the greater bilby Macrotis lagotis Reid (Marsupialia: Peramelidae)', in JH Seeback, PR Brown, RL Wallis and CM Kemper (eds.), Bandicoots and Bilbies, Surrey Beatty & Sons, Sydney, pp. 303-309. Stewart, AJ, Sweet, IP, Needham, RS, Raymond, OL, Whitaker, AJ, Liu, SF, Phil ips, D, Retter, AJ, Connolly, DP, Stewart, G 2008, Surface Geology of Australia 1:1,000,000 Scale, Western Australia [Digital Dataset], The Commonwealth of Australia, Geoscience Australia, Tutt, M, Fekete, S, Mitchel , S, Brace, P and Pearson, D 2004, ‘Unravelling the mysteries of Pilbara Olive Python ecology', Threatened Species Network Community Grants Final Report – Project WA11/101, Nickol Bay Naturalists Club and WA CALM, Karratha. Van Dyck, S and Strahan, R (eds.) 2008, Mammals of Australia 3rd Edition, Reed New Hol and, Van Vreeswyk, AME, Payne, AL, Leighon, KA, and Hennig, P 2004, An Inventory and Condition Survey of the Pilbara Region, Western Australia, Technical Bulletin 92, Department of Agriculture, Wilson, S and Swan, G 2010, A complete Guide to Reptiles of Australia, New Holland Publishers, BHP Bil iton Iron Ore Orebody 32 East AWT – Vertebrate Fauna Environmental Impact Assessment, February 2015 This page has been left blank intentional y. BHP Billiton Iron Ore Orebody 32 East AWT – Vertebrate Fauna Environmental Impact Assessment, February 2015 Appendix A: Terrestrial Vertebrate Fauna List
BHP Billiton Iron Ore Orebody 32 East AWT – Vertebrate Fauna Environmental Impact Assessment, February 2015 This page has been left blank intentionally.
BHP Billiton Iron Ore Orebody 32 East AWT – Vertebrate Fauna Environmental Impact Assessment, February 2015 Table A.1: List of amphibian species recorded from database searches or previous surveys in the vicinity of the Project area.
Conservation status
Database results
Previous surveys
Species name
Common name
EPBC Act WC Act DPaW NatureMap EPBC Protected Matters Biota (2001) ecologia (2004) ENV (2006) GHD (2008) Onshore/ Biologic (2009) ENV (2011)
Cyclorana maini Cyclorana platycephala Water-Holding Frog Litoria rubella Desert Tree Frog Pseudophryne douglasi Douglas' Toadlet Uperoleia russelli Russell's Toadlet Uperoleia saxatilis Neobatrachus kunapalari Kunapalari Frog BUFONIDAE
Platyplectrum spenceri Centralian Burrowing Frog BHP Billiton Iron Ore Orebody 32 East AWT – Vertebrate Fauna Environmental Impact Assessment, February 2015 Table A.2: List of reptile species recorded from database searches or previous surveys in the vicinity of the Project area.
Conservation status
Database results
Previous surveys
Species name
Common name
EPBC Act WC Act DPaW NatureMap EPBC Protected Matters Biota (2001) ecologia (2004) ENV (2006) GHD (2008) Onshore/ Biologic (2009) ENV (2011)
CHELUIDAE
Chelodina steindachneri Flat-shelled Turtle AGAMIDAE
Ctenophorus caudicinctus Ring-tailed Dragon Ctenophorus isolepis Ctenophorus maculatus Ctenophorus nuchalis Central Netted Dragon Ctenophorus reticulatus Western Netted Dragon Lophognathus longirostris Pogona minor Tympanocryptis cephalus Diplodactylus conspicillatus Fat-tailed Gecko Diplodactylus mitchelli Diplodactylus savagei Yellow-spotted Pilbara Gecko Lucasium stenodactylum Pale-snouted Ground Gecko Lucasium wombeyi Oedura marmorata Marbled Velvet Gecko Rhynchoedura ornata Strophurus elderi Strophurus wellingtonae Nephrurus wheeleri Banded Knob-tailed Gecko GEKKONIDAE
Gehyra pilbara Gehyra punctata Spotted Rock Dtella Gehyra variegata Heteronotia binoei Heteronotia planiceps Heteronotia spelea Desert Cave Gecko PYGOPODIDAE
Delma butleri Delma elegans Delma haroldi Delma nasuta Delma pax Lialis burtonis Burton's legless lizard Pygopus nigriceps Hooded Scaly foot BHP Billiton Iron Ore Orebody 32 East AWT – Vertebrate Fauna Environmental Impact Assessment, February 2015 Conservation status
Database results
Previous surveys
Species name
Common name
EPBC Act WC Act DPaW NatureMap EPBC Protected Matters Biota (2001) ecologia (2004) ENV (2006) GHD (2008) Onshore/ Biologic (2009) ENV (2011)
SCINCIDAE
Carlia munda Carlia triacantha Desert Rainbow Skink Cryptoblepharus buchananii Cryptoblepharus ustulatus Ctenotus ariadnae Ctenotus duricola Ctenotus grandis Ctenotus helenae Ctenotus leonhardii Ctenotus pantherinus Leopard Ctenotus Ctenotus rubicundus Ctenotus rutilans Pilbara Rusty Ctenotus Ctenotus saxatilis Ctenotus schomburgkii Barred Wedge-tailed Ctenotus Ctenotus uber Ctenotus uber johnstonei Spotted Ctenotus Cyclodomorphus melanops Slender Blue-tongue Egernia cygnitos Pygmy Spiny-tailed Skink (western) Egernia depressa Pygmy Spiny-tailed Skink Egernia formosa Eremiascincus richardsonii Broad-banded Sand Swimmer Lerista bipes Lerista macropisthopus remota Unpatterned Robust Slider (central interior) Lerista muelleri Lerista neander Lerista zietzi Menetia greyii Menetia surda Morethia ruficauda Fire-tailed Skink Proablepharus reginae Tiliqua occipitalis Western Blue-tongue Tiliqua multifasciata Central Blue-tongue VARANIDAE
Varanus acanthurus Spiny-tailed Monitor Varanus brevicauda Short-tailed Pygmy Monitor Varanus bushi Pilbara Mulga Monitor Varanus caudolineatus Stripe-tailed Monitor Varanus giganteus Varanus gouldii Bungarra or Sand Monitor BHP Billiton Iron Ore Orebody 32 East AWT – Vertebrate Fauna Environmental Impact Assessment, February 2015 Conservation status
Database results
Previous surveys
Species name
Common name
EPBC Act WC Act DPaW NatureMap EPBC Protected Matters Biota (2001) ecologia (2004) ENV (2006) GHD (2008) Onshore/ Biologic (2009) ENV (2011)
Varanus panoptes Yellow-spotted Monitor Varanus pilbarensis Pilbara Rock Monitor Varanus tristis Black-headed Monitor TYPHLOPIDAE
Ramphotyphlops grypus Antaresia perthensis Antaresia stimsoni Stimson's Python Aspidites melanocephalus Black-headed Python Liasis olivaceus barroni Pilbara Olive Python ELAPIDAE
Acanthophis wellsi Pilbara Death Adder Brachyurophis approximans Shovel-nosed Snake Demansia psammophis Yellow-faced Whipsnake Demansia rufescens Rufous Whipsnake Furina ornata Parasuta monachus Inland Hooded Snake Pseudechis australis Pseudonaja mengdeni Western Brown Snake Pseudonaja modesta Ringed Brown Snake Suta fasciata Suta punctata Vermicella snelli BHP Billiton Iron Ore Orebody 32 East AWT – Vertebrate Fauna Environmental Impact Assessment, February 2015 Table A.3: List of bird species recorded from database searches or previous surveys in the vicinity of the Project area.
Conservation status
Database results
Previous surveys
Species name
Common name
EPBC Act WC Act DPaW NatureMap EPBC Protected Matters Biota (2001) ecologia (2004) ENV (2006) GHD (2008) Onshore/ Biologic (2009) ENV (2011)
CASUARIIDAE
Dromaius novaehollandiae PHASIANIDAE
Coturnix pectoralis Coturnix ypsilophora Anseranas semipalmata ANATIDAE
Anas gracilis Anas rhynchotis Australasian Shoveler Anas superciliosa Pacific Black Duck Aythya australis Chenonetta jubata Australian Wood Duck Cygnus atratus Dendrocygna arcuata Wandering Whistling Duck Dendrocygna eytoni Plumed Whistling-duck Malacorhynchus membranaceus Stictonetta naevosa Tadorna tadornoides Australian Shelduck RALLIDAE
Fulica atra Gallirallus philippensis Buff-banded Rail Porphyrio porphyrio Porzana pusilla Porzana tabuensis Podiceps cristatus Great Crested Grebe Poliocephalus poliocephalus Hoary-headed Grebe Tachybaptus novaehollandiae Australasian Grebe COLUMBIDAE
Geophaps plumifera Geopelia cuneata Geopelia humeralis Bar-shouldered Dove Geopelia striata Ocyphaps lophotes Phaps chalcoptera Common Bronzewing PODARGIDAE
BHP Billiton Iron Ore Orebody 32 East AWT – Vertebrate Fauna Environmental Impact Assessment, February 2015 Conservation status
Database results
Previous surveys
Species name
Common name
EPBC Act WC Act DPaW NatureMap EPBC Protected Matters Biota (2001) ecologia (2004) ENV (2006) GHD (2008) Onshore/ Biologic (2009) ENV (2011)
Podargus strigoides Eurostopodus argus Spotted Nightjar Aegotheles cristatus Australian Owlet-nightjar APODIDAE
Apus pacificus Fork-tailed Swift Phalacrocorax carbo Phalacrocorax melanoleucos Little Pied Cormorant Phalacrocorax sulcirostris Little Black Cormorant Phalacrocorax varius hypoleucos PELECANIDAE
Pelecanus conspicillatus Australian Pelican CICONIIDAE
Ephippiorhynchus asiaticus Black-necked Stork Ardea ibis Ardea intermedia Intermediate Egret Ardea modesta Eastern Great Egret Ardea pacifica White-necked Heron Egretta novaehollandiae White-faced Heron Nycticorax caledonicus Rufous Night-Heron Platalea flavipes Yellow-billed Spoonbill Platalea regia Plegadis falcinellus Threskiornis molucca Australian White Ibis Threskiornis spinicollis Straw-necked Ibis Aquila audax Wedge-tailed Eagle Haliaeetus leucogaster White-bellied Sea-eagle Accipiter cirrocephalus Collared Sparrowhawk Accipiter fasciatus Circus approximans Circus assimilis BHP Billiton Iron Ore Orebody 32 East AWT – Vertebrate Fauna Environmental Impact Assessment, February 2015 Conservation status
Database results
Previous surveys
Species name
Common name
EPBC Act WC Act DPaW NatureMap EPBC Protected Matters Biota (2001) ecologia (2004) ENV (2006) GHD (2008) Onshore/ Biologic (2009) ENV (2011)
Elanus axillaris Black-shouldered Kite Haliastur sphenurus Milvus migrans Hamirostra melanosternon Black-breasted Buzzard Hieraaetus morphnoides FALCONIDAE
Falco berigora Falco cenchroides Australian Kestrel Falco longipennis Australian Hobby Falco peregrinus Peregrine Falcon BURHINIDAE
Burhinus grallarius Bush Stone-curlew OTIDIDAE
Ardeotis australis Australian Bustard Cladorhynchus leucocephalus Himantopus himantopus Black-winged Stilt Recurvirostra novaehollandiae Red-necked Avocet Charadrius ruficapillus Red-capped Plover Charadrius veredus Elseyornis melanops Black-fronted Dotterel Rostratula australis Australian Painted Snipe Actitis hypoleucos Common Sandpiper Calidris acuminata Sharp-tailed Sandpiper Calidris ferruginea Curlew Sandpiper Calidris melanotos Pectoral Sandpiper Calidris ruficollis Red-necked Stint Calidris subminuta Tringa glareola Tringa nebularia Common Greenshank Tringa totanus Larus novaehollandiae TURNICIDAE
Turnix velox Little Button-quail BHP Billiton Iron Ore Orebody 32 East AWT – Vertebrate Fauna Environmental Impact Assessment, February 2015 Conservation status
Database results
Previous surveys
Species name
Common name
EPBC Act WC Act DPaW NatureMap EPBC Protected Matters Biota (2001) ecologia (2004) ENV (2006) GHD (2008) Onshore/ Biologic (2009) ENV (2011)
GLAROLIDAE
Stiltia isabella Australian Pratincole CACATUIDAE
Eolophus roseicapillus Cacatua sanguinea Nymphicus hollandicus PSITTACIDAE
Barnardius zonarius Australian Ringneck Psephotus varius Polytelis alexandrae Melopsittacus undulatus Neopsephotus bourkii CUCULIDAE
Centropus phasianinus Chalcites basalis Horsfield's Bronze Cuckoo Chalcites osculans Black-eared Cuckoo Cacomantis pallidus STRIGIDAE
Ninox connivens Ninox novaeseelandiae Southern Boobook TYTONIDAE
Tyto javanica Eastern Barn Owl HALCYONIDAE
Dacelo leachii Blue-winged Kookaburra Todiramphus pyrrhopygius Red-backed Kingfisher Todiramphus sanctus Sacred Kingfisher MEROPIDAE
Merops ornatus Rainbow Bee-eater Climacteris melanura Black-tailed Treecreeper Ptilonorhynchus guttatus Western Bowerbird MALURIDAE
Amytornis striatus whitei Striated Grasswren Malurus lamberti Variegated Fairy-wren Malurus leucopterus White-winged Fairy-wren Malurus splendens Splendid Fairy-wren BHP Billiton Iron Ore Orebody 32 East AWT – Vertebrate Fauna Environmental Impact Assessment, February 2015 Conservation status
Database results
Previous surveys
Species name
Common name
EPBC Act WC Act DPaW NatureMap EPBC Protected Matters Biota (2001) ecologia (2004) ENV (2006) GHD (2008) Onshore/ Biologic (2009) ENV (2011)
Pyrrholaemus brunneus Smicrornis brevirostris Gerygone fusca Western Gerygone Gerygone mungi Acanthiza apicalis Inland Thornbill Acanthiza chrysorrhoa Yellow-rumped Thornbill Acanthiza robustirostris Slaty-backed Thornbill Acanthiza uropygialis Chestnut-rumped Thornbill Pardalotus rubricatus Red-browed Pardalote Pardalotus striatus Striated Pardalote Acanthagenys rufogularis Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater Conopophila whitei Lichenostomus keartlandi Grey-headed Honeyeater Lichenostomus penicillatus White-plumed Honeyeater Lichenostomus plumulus Grey-fronted Honeyeater Lichenostomus virescens Singing Honeyeater Lichmera indistincta Brown Honeyeater Melithreptus gularis Black-chinned Honeyeater Purnella albifrons White-fronted Honeyeater Sugomel niger Black Honeyeater Manorina flavigula Yellow-throated Miner Epthianura tricolor Epthianura aurifrons Pomatostomus superciliosus White-browed Babbler Pomatostomus temporalis Grey-crowned Babbler PSOPHODIDAE
Psophodes occidentalis Western Wedgebill Coracina maxima Ground Cuckoo-shrike Coracina novaehollandiae Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike Lalage tricolor White-winged Triller Pachycephala rufiventris Colluricincla harmonica Grey Shrike-thrush Oreoica gutturalis Crested Bellbird BHP Billiton Iron Ore Orebody 32 East AWT – Vertebrate Fauna Environmental Impact Assessment, February 2015 Conservation status
Database results
Previous surveys
Species name
Common name
EPBC Act WC Act DPaW NatureMap EPBC Protected Matters Biota (2001) ecologia (2004) ENV (2006) GHD (2008) Onshore/ Biologic (2009) ENV (2011)
ARTAMIDAE
Artamus cinereus Black-faced Woodswallow Artamus cyanopterus Dusky Woodswallow Artamus minor Little Woodswallow Artamus personatus Masked Woodswallow Artamus superciliosus White-browed Woodswallow Cracticus nigrogularis Pied Butcherbird Cracticus tibicen Australian Magpie Cracticus torquatus Grey Butcherbird Rhipidura albicauda White-tailed Fantail Rhipidura fuliginosa Rhipidura leucophrys CORVIDAE
Corvus bennetti Corvus orru MONARCHIDAE
Grallina cyanoleuca PETROICIDAE
Petroica goodenovii Red-capped Robin Melanodryas cucullata ALAUDIDAE
Mirafra javanica Horsfield's Bushlark Acrocephalus australis Australian Reed-Warbler MEGALURIDAE
Cincloramphus cruralis Cincloramphus mathewsi Eremiornis carteri Megalurus gramineus Little Grassbird Cheramoeca leucosterna White-backed Swallow Hirundo neoxena Petrochelidon ariel Petrochelidon nigricans Dicaeum hirundinaceum ESTRILDIDAE
BHP Billiton Iron Ore Orebody 32 East AWT – Vertebrate Fauna Environmental Impact Assessment, February 2015 Conservation status
Database results
Previous surveys
Species name
Common name
EPBC Act WC Act DPaW NatureMap EPBC Protected Matters Biota (2001) ecologia (2004) ENV (2006) GHD (2008) Onshore/ Biologic (2009) ENV (2011)
Emblema pictum Neochmia ruficauda subclarescens Star Finch (western) Taeniopygia guttata Anthus australis Australasian Pipit BHP Billiton Iron Ore Orebody 32 East AWT – Vertebrate Fauna Environmental Impact Assessment, February 2015 Table A.4: List of mammal species recorded from database searches or previous surveys in the vicinity of the Project area.
Conservation status
Database results
Previous surveys
Species name
Common name
EPBC Act WC Act DPaW NatureMap EPBC Protected Matters Biota (2001) ecologia (2004) ENV (2006) GHD (2008) Onshore/ Biologic (2009) ENV (2011)
Tachyglossus aculeatus DASYURIDAE
Dasykaluta rosamondae Little Red Kaluta Dasyurus hallucatus Ningaui timealeyi Planigale maculata Common Planigale Pseudantechinus roryi Rory's Antechinus Pseudantechinus woolleyae Woolley's Pseudantechinus Sminthopsis crassicaudata Fat-tailed Dunnart Sminthopsis longicaudata Long-tailed Dunnart Sminthopsis macroura Stripe-faced Dunnart Sminthopsis ooldea Sminthopsis youngsoni Lesser Hairy-footed Dunnart Macrotis lagotis Macropus robustus Macropus rufus Red Kangaroo, Marlu Petrogale lateralis lateralis Black-footed Rock Wallaby Petrogale rothschildi Rothschild's Rock-wallaby Notoryctes caurinus Northern Marsupial Mole Macroderma gigas Rhinonicteris aurantia Pilbara Leaf-nosed Bat Saccolaimus flaviventris Yellow-bellied Sheathtail-bat Taphozous georgianus Common Sheathtail-bat Taphozous hilli Hill's Sheathtail-bat MOLOSSIDAE
Chaerephon jobensis Northern Freetail-bat Mormopterus beccarii Beccari's Freetail-bat Tadarida australis White-striped Freetail-bat Chalinolobus gouldii Gould's Wattled Bat Nyctophilus geoffroyi Lesser Long-eared Bat Scotorepens balstoni Inland Broad-nosed Bat BHP Billiton Iron Ore Orebody 32 East AWT – Vertebrate Fauna Environmental Impact Assessment, February 2015 Conservation status
Database results
Previous surveys
Species name
Common name
EPBC Act WC Act DPaW NatureMap EPBC Protected Matters Biota (2001) ecologia (2004) ENV (2006) GHD (2008) Onshore/ Biologic (2009) ENV (2011)
Scotorepens greyii Little Broad-nosed Bat Vespadelus finlaysoni Finlayson's Cave Bat *Mus musculus Notomys alexis Spinifex Hopping-mouse Pseudomys chapmani Western Pebble-mound Mouse Pseudomys desertor Pseudomys hermannsburgensis Sandy Inland Mouse *Rattus sp. Zyzomys argurus *Bos taurus *Capra hircus CAMELIDAE
*Camelus dromedarius
*Canis lupus familiaris *Canis lupus dingo *Vulpes vulpes *Equus caballus *Equus asinus *Felis catus LEPORIDAE
*Oryctolagus cuniculus BHP Billiton Iron Ore Orebody 32 East AWT – Vertebrate Fauna Environmental Impact Assessment, February 2015 This page has been left blank intentionally. BHP Billiton Iron Ore Orebody 32 East AWT – Vertebrate Fauna Environmental Impact Assessment, February 2015 Appendix B: Fauna Conservation Codes and Likelihood/Importance
BHP Billiton Iron Ore Orebody 32 East AWT – Vertebrate Fauna Environmental Impact Assessment, February 2015 This page has been left blank intentionally.
BHP Billiton Iron Ore Orebody 32 East AWT – Vertebrate Fauna Environmental Impact Assessment, February 2015 Table B.1: Categories and definitions for EPBC Act listed flora and fauna species.
Conservation category
Definition
Taxa not definitely located in the wild during the past 50 years. Extinct in the wild Taxa known to survive only in captivity. Taxa facing an extremely high risk of extinction in the wild in the Critically endangered (CR) immediate future. Taxa facing a very high risk of extinction in the wild in the near Taxa facing a high risk of extinction in the wild in the medium term. Near threatened (NT) Taxa that risk becoming Vulnerable in the wild. Taxa whose survival depends upon ongoing conservation measures. Conservation dependent (CD) Without these measures, a conservation dependent taxon would be classified as Vulnerable or more severely threatened. Taxa suspected of being Rare, Vulnerable or Endangered, but Data deficient (insufficiently known) whose true status cannot be determined without more Least concern (LC) Taxa that are not considered threatened. BHP Billiton Iron Ore Orebody 32 East AWT – Vertebrate Fauna Environmental Impact Assessment, February 2015 Table B.2: Conservation codes for Western Australian flora and fauna.
Conservation category
Definition
Schedule 2 of the Wildlife Conservation (Specially Taxa which have been adequately Protected Fauna) Notice under the Wildlife Conservation searched for and there is no reasonable Act 1950. doubt that the last individual has died, Presumed Extinct Fauna and have been gazetted as such. Schedule 1 of the Wildlife Conservation (Specially that have been adequately searched Protected Fauna) Notice under the Wildlife Conservation for and are deemed to be in the wild Act 1950. either rare, in danger of extinction, or Threatened Fauna (Fauna that is rare or is likely to otherwise in need of special protection, and have been gazetted as such. Birds that are subject to an agreement Schedule 3 of the Wildlife Conservation (Specially between governments of Australia and Protected Fauna) Notice under the Wildlife Conservation Japan relating to the protection of Act 1950. migratory birds and birds in danger of Birds protected under an international agreement Schedule 4 of the Wildlife Conservation (Specially Fauna that is in need of special Protected Fauna) Notice under the Wildlife Conservation protection, otherwise than for the Act 1950. reasons mentioned in the above Other specially protected fauna *Threatened fauna (Schedule 1) are further ranked by the Department according to their level of threat using IUCN Red List criteria: CR: Critically Endangered - considered to be facing an extremely high risk of extinction in the wild. EN: Endangered - considered to be facing a very high risk of extinction in the wild. VU: Vulnerable - considered to be facing a high risk of extinction in the wild. BHP Billiton Iron Ore Orebody 32 East AWT – Vertebrate Fauna Environmental Impact Assessment, February 2015 Table B.3: Priority species under Western Australian Wildlife Conservation Act 1950.
Taxa that have not yet been adequately surveyed to be listed under Schedule 1 or 2 are added to the Priority Fauna List under Priorities 1, 2 or 3. These three categories are ranked in order of priority for survey and evaluation of conservation status so that consideration can be given to their declaration as threatened flora or fauna. Taxa that are adequately known, are rare but not threatened, or meet criteria for Near Threatened, or that have been recently removed from the threatened list for other than taxonomic reasons, are placed in Priority 4. These taxa require regular monitoring. Conservation Dependent species are placed in Priority 5. P1: Priority One – Poorly known taxa
Taxa that are known from one or a few collections or sight records (generally less than five), all on lands not managed for conservation, e.g. agricultural or pastoral lands, urban areas, Shire, Westrail and Main Roads WA road, gravel and soil reserves, and active mineral leases and under threat of habitat destruction or degradation. Taxa may be included if they are comparatively well known from one or more localities but do not meet adequacy of survey requirements and appear to be under immediate threat from known threatening processes. Taxa that are known from one or a few collections or sight records, some of which are on lands not under imminent threat of habitat destruction or degradation, e.g. national parks, conservation parks, nature reserves, State forest, vacant Crown land, water reserves, etc. Taxa may be included if they are comparatively well known from one or more localities but do not meet adequacy of survey requirements and appear to be under threat from known threatening processes. Taxa that are known from collections or sight records from several localities not under imminent threat, or from few but widespread localities with either large population size or significant remaining areas of apparently suitable habitat, much of it not under imminent threat. Taxa may be included if they are comparatively well known from several localities but do not meet adequacy of survey requirements and known threatening processes exist that could affect them. (a) Rare. Taxa that are considered to have been adequately surveyed, or for which sufficient knowledge is available, and that are considered not currently threatened or in need of special protection, but could be if present circumstances change. These taxa are usually represented on conservation lands. (b) Near Threatened. Taxa that are considered to have been adequately surveyed and that do not qualify for Conservation Dependent, but that are close to qualifying for Vulnerable. (c) Taxa that have been removed from the list of threatened species during the past five years for reasons other than taxonomy. Taxa that are not threatened but are subject to a specific conservation program, the cessation of which would result in the taxa becoming threatened within five years. BHP Billiton Iron Ore Orebody 32 East AWT – Vertebrate Fauna Environmental Impact Assessment, February 2015 Table B.4: Criteria used to define importance of fauna habitats.
Importance to fauna
Criteria
Habitat supports threatened fauna species. OR Habitat supports other conservation significant fauna species that are restricted to the habitat type within the Project area. OR Habitat that only occurs in small isolated areas and is not widespread in the region. Habitat supports conservation significant fauna species but that are not necessarily restricted to the habitat type within the Project area. OR Habitat supports a particularly diverse and uncommon faunal assemblage or that may act as a corridor for dispersal or movement of fauna. Habitat is widespread and common throughout the region and does not solely support any conservation significant fauna species. BHP Billiton Iron Ore Orebody 32 East AWT – Vertebrate Fauna Environmental Impact Assessment, February 2015 Table B.5: Criteria used to define likelihood occurrence of conservation significant fauna species.
Likelihood of occurrence
Criteria
Species has been recorded within the Project area. Species has been recorded within 20 km of the Project area and preferred habitat appears to be present. Species has not been recorded from within the Project area, however species has been recorded within 20 km of the Project area and suitable habitat appears to be present. Species recorded within 20 km of the Project area but suitable habitat does not appear to be present. BHP Billiton Iron Ore Orebody 32 East AWT – Vertebrate Fauna Environmental Impact Assessment, February 2015 This page has been left blank intentionally.

Source: http://www.epa.wa.gov.au/EIA/EPAReports/Documents/1557/Appendix%20E-OB32E%20Vertebrate%20Fauna%20EIA.pdf

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