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frc News

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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Mistake Mountain Crayfish (Euastacus jagara) and the endangered Fleay’s barred frog (Mixophyes fleayi)

frc environmental assisted in establishing a baseline for the critically endangered Mistake Mountain Crayfish (Euastacus jagara) and the endangered Fleay’s barred frog (Mixophyes fleayi). Under challenging conditions we used a combination of burrow counts, trapping and water quality measurements to gain a better understanding of the abundance and ecology of these rare crayfish. The survey is used to inform management of walking tracks in Main Range National Park and will ensure the habitat of these two species is not disturbed by

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Kirra Reef Biota Monitoring Program

frc environmental have a well established relationship with the Tweed River Entrance Sand Bypass Program, having designed the Kirra Reef monitoring program in the mid 1990s.  The program has evolved over the years, with the current program using a combination of scientific divers and ROV.   Located just offshore of the surf zone, Kirra Reef poses challenges both for the plants and animals that live there, and the scientists that monitor the reef’s health: wave action results in a near constant ‘rain’ of fine sediment and storms can have catastrophic effects.  None-the-less, the reef is healthy, supporting a fascinating combination of tropical and temperate flora and

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Kirra Reef Biota Monitoring Program – We’re back!

Serving as yet another example that whilst others might be cheaper, frc environmental delivers what they promise, frc environmental is delighted to again be working with the Tweed River Sand Bypassing Project, monitoring the effects of the sand bypass on Kirra Reef. Originally designed by frc environmental’s Senior Principal ecologist Dr John Thorogood in the 1990’s, the monitoring program has evolved alongside our understanding of the impacts of sand bypassing.  Today, the sand bypass closely mimics the natural northerly migration of sand and operates alongside a healthy and vibrant reefal community. The monitoring program combines the latest in ROV technology, together with an experienced scientific dive team to deliver robust insights that support confident decision making. Watch this space for

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