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
Highway - Lanyon Drive Upgrade Packages 1B and 1C, Hume, ACT
Referral numbers: 2020/8767 and 2020/8768
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 and its members include professional scientists, landowners, land managers and interested members of the public.
With respect to both of these referrals, we support the construction mitigation measures, in particular those to prevent the spread of African Lovegrass into Jerrabomberra Nature Reserve and the spread or introduction of phytophthora. Landscape plantings should be in accord with the conservation values of the nearby Nature Reserve.
With regard to package 1C (i.e. referral 2020/8768), we have some concerns about the potential impacts on the Striped Legless Lizard (SLL), Delmar impar. We note that the proposal would directly impact 3.2 hectares of exotic grassland that is contiguous habitat known to be occupied by the Jerrabomberra population, an important population for the species. While this habitat is considered to be low-quality and only used for foraging and refuge, the lack of targeted surveys for SLL means that the actual impact on this vulnerable species is unknown. We note that the intention is that, if possible, removal of suitable SLL habitat would be undertaken between September and May to coincide with the speciesí active period to allow individuals to disperse out of the construction without risk of injury or the direct handling of individuals; also that attempts will be made to relocate any other SLL individuals found during construction. However, FOG thinks that it would be best to undertake surveys to ascertain the presence or absence of the SLL in the construction zone prior to construction commencing. If the SLL does use the area for foraging then perhaps the loss of the area could be offset by improvements to SLL habitat closer to the native grassland areas in Jerrabomberra Nature Reserve.
14 September 2020