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The Environment is for ‘Everyday’

I’m wondering why we need the reminder?  Its trite to say ‘the environment is all around us’, so we must realise the state it’s in.  The reality is that all things are relative and if there’s just a bit more litter today than we noticed last week, we’ll that’s not too bad is it?  It’s human nature, and it’s a characteristic of human nature that allows us to not see what’s often bleeding obvious: that little-by-little humanity is degrading the very environment it depends on. Here at frc environmental we’re firm believers in the mantra that says ‘you can’t manage what you don’t measure’, so whilst monitoring alone won’t restore our environment, perhaps it’s necessary to clearly illustrate ‘the state

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Native Fish Management Workshop

Last week, frc environmental’s Dr Ben Cook lead a very productive native fish management workshop on behalf of Redland City Council.  Recognising the implications of the recently gazetted Biosecurity Act, Redlands City Council is keen to develop a clear framework that will support its response to its General Biosecurity Obligation, and allow that response to work synergistically with its existing initiatives focused on the sustainable management of wetlands and waterways. With attendees from a number of other local authorities, Griffith University’s Australian Rivers Institute, the Quandamooka Yoolooburrabee Aboriginal Corporation, Seqwater, Department of Environment and Science, Department of Agriculture and Fisheries and ANGFA, Ben lead discussions of the close relationship that exists between native fish populations, habitat quality and introduced fish

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Invasive and Noxious Aquatic Species and the Queensland Biosecurity Act 2014 – Has the bar to development been raised again?

Introduction The Biosecurity Act 2014 came into force on 1 July 2016, and is underpinned by the Biosecurity Regulation 2016. While the Act addresses a wide range of activities, this paper focuses on activities relevant to stakeholders involved in the management of aquatic ecosystems such as local government, property developers, infrastructure providers, and the mining and gas industries, and discusses their obligations under the Biosecurity Act.   While our focus is on aquatic ecosystems, the basis of this paper applies equally apply to terrestrial ecosystems. This paper explains key provisions of the Act, and provides simple examples of how its application may affect land-holders and proponents alike. The paper is presented in 3 parts, an introduction to the concept of

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Conserving Fish Passage – Managing Waterway Barriers

frc environmental’s specialist and suitably qualified freshwater ecologists provide innovative fish passage solutions for all types of waterway barrier works, ensuring cost-effective, practical solutions that are readily accepted by the regulator. What is a Waterway Barrier and what constitutes ‘Waterway Barrier Works’? A waterway barrier is any form of infrastructure built on a waterway[1] that impedes flow or connectivity. This includes permanent structures (e.g. dams, weirs, culverts and bed-level road crossings) and temporary installations (e.g. temporary workspaces, silt curtains, and litter booms). Under the Fisheries Act 1994 and Sustainable Planning Act 2009, ‘waterway barrier works’ include the construction, raising, and replacement of such structures, and also some maintenance works. Waterway barrier works may impede the movement of fish along waterways,

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Aquatic Ecology No Impediment to Quarry Development

Although the recent judgment by the Planning and Environment Court refused Boral’s appeal (and thus its immediate prospects of developing a new quarry on the Gold Coast), Judge Jones made clear that none of the issues relating to aquatic ecology raised by Council’s consultants were impediments to the development of a quarry. Through a combination of review work and fresh field survey, frc environmental’s Dr John Thorogood successfully demonstrated that the waterways to be lost to development were in essence typical of the region, that they were unlikely to support any species of conservation significance, that the proposed mitigation of impacts to environmental flows was adequate, that proposed setbacks were adequate to protect in-stream habitat, and that the development would

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Conserving Critical Environmental Flows – with Dr Ben Cook

Conserving Critical Environmental Flows Flow as the Dominant Influence on River Ecology Water flow has been described as the ‘master variable’ or ‘maestro variable that orchestrates pattern and process’ in stream and river ecology, as it has a dominant role in shaping and sustaining fundamental properties of riverine ecosystems [i].  The structure and complexity of physical habitat in streams (e.g. channel geometry, the arrangement of pool and riffle habitats, types and stability of substrate), water quality and energy sources are heavily shaped by water flow [i], [ii], [iii].  For example, flood flows help maintain channel geometry and groundwater inputs sustain base flows on watercourses during dry periods (Figure 1).  The distribution, abundance and diversity of aquatic biota is in turn strongly influenced by

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