Friends of Grasslands
supporting native grassy ecosystems
PO Box 440
Macquarie ACT 2614
Environment Assessment Branch
Department of the Environment
GPO Box 787
Canberra ACT 2601
Hard Rock Quarry, 278 Springs Road, Rock Flat, NSW
Referral no: 2018/8196
Friends of Grasslands (FOG) is a community group dedicated to the conservation of natural temperate grassy ecosystems in south-eastern Australia. FOG advocates, educates and advises on matters to do with the conservation of grassy ecosystems, and carries out surveys and other on-ground work. FOG is based in Canberra, with many members in surrounding New South Wales. Its members include professional scientists, landowners, land managers and interested members of the public.
FOG has a number of serious concerns about this project and recommends further work is required to determine the full impact on the threatened species and ecological communities that occur on the site before approval to proceed is given.
Our main concern is the presence and protection of the Grassland Earless Dragon (GED). According to the Environment Assessment, six were sighted during surveys. This is a surprisingly high number and suggests that this is an important population of this animal. Even though the road is being relocated this may not be enough to protect the animals that are present.
More information is needed about other threatened species and ecological communities. The report suggests that the area of activity will not impact on the presence of the Striped Legless Lizards (SLL) in the area - more work on surveying the population of GED may assist to confirm or refute this. While the Natural Temperate Grassland on the site may not be of a floristic high quality, the fact that it contains good rock cover and provides habitat for GED and SLL increases its conservation importance. Having been on a team of people that led to the listing of Snow Gum Woodland (NSW but not Commonwealth Threatened Ecological Community (TEC)), it seems the area present does form part of this TEC.
FOG is unable to determine from the material presented if two significant stakeholders, the South East Local Land Services (which is conducting surveys of GED) and the Commonwealth Recovery Team on GED, were consulted about this proposal. Similarly, FOG is known to be active in the area as an advocate for grasslands and for GED and SLL but was definitely not consulted. FOG recommends that SE Local Land Services and the National GED Recovery Team should be asked to assist in establishing the size and distribution of the GED population. The National GED Recovery Team may also have input about appropriate remedial and enhancements should be put in place.
24 May 2018