To manage and enhance the environment in which we operate Parklands has developed a range of policies, procedures and monitoring programs. These include:
Fauna and Flora Management Plan
The FFM Plan has been prepared by a suitably qualified ecologist to manage potential impacts arising from the carrying out of events. The FFMP was prepared in consultation with the Office of Environment and Heritage, Byron Shire Council and the RWG before being approved by the NSW Department of Planning and Environment.
Fauna and Flora Monitoring Program
The FFM Program has been developed to monitor and assess any impacts of the project on fauna and flora within and adjacent to the site. The Program includes details of locations at which monitoring will be undertaken, procedures and protocols for sampling and analysis methodology used.
The FFM program was prepared in consultation with the RWG before being approved by the Department of Planning and Environment.
Habitat Restoration Program
Parklands has developed a Habitat restoration program which is designed to increase native vegetation across the site, reduce fragmentation between existing forest blocks and improve fauna habitat.
To date, our bush regeneration team has planted thousands of local native trees and shrubs. In assist with this tree-planting program, Parklands have commissioned a large greenhouse, which is used to propagate a range of suitable tree stock for the site.
In addition to planting trees, Parklands also has a weed eradication program to remove local and exotic weeds. This work has been successfully conducted by our bush regeneration team as well as partnering with National Parks and Wildlife Services to manage lands adjoining the Billinudgel Nature Reserve.
Summary Environmental Scorecard February 2015
Parklands has been monitoring flora and fauna at the venue since 2007. With the commencement of events in July 2013 the flora and fauna monitoring program has taken place before, during and after each event at the venue.
The latest flora and fauna monitoring program concluded in February 2015 and our ecologist and botanist have provided a summary of environmental performance to date covering fauna and flora.
Ecological Monitoring at North Byron Parklands Summary: February 2015
Results of fauna surveys at North Byron Parklands in August 2007 and February 2009 indicated that greater than 75% of fauna species were recorded in native forests. Event Impact Monitoring (EIM) during the first two years of operation has therefore focussed on birds, small mammals and micro-bats within forested habitats in Parklands and in the Billinudgel Nature Reserve.
Combined results of EIM include 13,000 records of 106 bird species and 5,700 records of approximately 20 microchiropteran bat species. Fauna species recorded include four threatened birds and nine threatened bats (8 micro-bats and the Greyheaded Flying-fox). The Osprey and Rose-crowned Fruit-dove were recorded in Parklands and all of the 9 threatened bat species were also recorded in Parklands.
No evidence of significant adverse impacts from the conduct of events was evident for any of the fauna groups monitored or for native vegetation. Instead, clear patterns are evident of resource abundance influencing the number of birds, particularly large-scale blossom events, but also fruiting of Camphor Laurel. Greatest recorded abundance of micro-bats during the first Falls festival close to event activities suggest that event processes did not adversely affect this faunal group.
Predicted adverse effects from events include: Grey-headed Flying-foxes avoiding blossom in illuminated tree canopies, but attending this tree canopy after lights were switched off. Changes to areas of non-native grassland within the event areas resulted in changes to the bird species present, as predicted.
The information in this summary was accurate and reliable at the time of writing. 5/2/15
Dr. Mark Fitzgerald
Permanent Photo Point Assessment for Parklands: 2013 - 2015
Permanent photo point monitoring of (25) selected ‘event’ areas on the North Byron Parklands property commenced in 2013. The brief was to monitor those areas in relation to the potential impacts of events on the native forest and other vegetation.
Across the period of time monitored to date (2013-2015) there has been no discernible or measurable impacts on, or decline in, native forest habitats. The exclusion by fencing, and removal of cattle from remnant native vegetation areas has seen substantial easing of grazing pressure and damage to native vegetation, and the removal of the key source of trampling and soil compaction within forest areas.
Reforestation and restoration of native forest vegetation has seen significant improvement both in terms of area and quality of native forest in selected locations.
In preparing the site for events, fencing, extensive drainage, road construction, and expansion of hard surfaces was undertaken in close proximity to remnant forest vegetation. Despite those changes, no direct negative impacts of those actions or events on the existing forest vegetation have been observed or recorded during the monitoring period.
During the same period the large area of non-native pasture on the property has been released from grazing and subjected to more intensive tractor mowing and levelling. While some evidence of human-induced trampling of grassy areas following events has been observed, recovery to date has been rapid. Perhaps the biggest shifts in relation to grass cover are reduction in area by expansion of hardened surfaces, and the more intensive mowing. Together, those factors potentially simplify the structure of the grass sward across the property, and result in the loss of seasonal tall grass domination.
Overall, the permanent photo point record shows rapid recovery of grassed areas following events, no measurable disturbance of native forest vegetation to date, improvement of native vegetation in response to cattle removal and forest rehabilitation, and a reduction in area and shift in the grassed areas from rough pasture to lawn like open spaces.
Prepared by: Dr Robert M. Kooyman
Date: 30 January 2015