Snowy 2.0 exploratory works could impact threatened fauna

The Exploratory Works Environmental Impact Statement for the Snowy 2.0 project has been released for public comment, finding that planned exploratory works could have significant impact on some threatened fauna.

Snowy 2.0 involves linking Talbingo and Tantangara reservoirs within the existing Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric Scheme (Snowy Scheme), and building an underground power station between the two reservoirs. This will increase the current Snowy Scheme generation capacity by almost 50%.

The Exploratory Works will involve construction of an exploratory tunnel to enable exploratory drilling and provide a greater understanding of the underground conditions at the power station cavern.

The EIS found that Exploratory Works will impact the habitat of some threatened fauna including the Gang-gang Cockatoo, Eastern Pygmy-possum, Booroolong Frog (within and along Yarrangobilly River), Smoky Mouse and Masked Owl. Talbingo Reservoir and the Yarrangobilly River were identified as potential habitat for threatened aquatic species including Murray Crayfish (found during surveys), and Trout Cod and Macquarie Perch (not found during surveys).

Impacts to biodiversity are likely to arise in two ways; from direct impacts by clearing of vegetation or habitat during construction, and by indirect impacts to habitat such as erosion, sedimentation and changes to water quality, as well as noise and light affecting adjacent natural areas during construction.

The project is being designed to minimise impacts, but the report finds “there will still be some residual impacts and these will need to be offset in line with legislation and through agreement with NPWS and OEH.”

“This includes species and habitat offsets, land, weed and pathogen management, and rehabilitation works. Snowy Hydro has agreed an in-principle approach to offsets with NPWS and OEH, with a key principle of the offsets being of direct benefit to KNP – an approach local stakeholders are very supportive of.”

The EIS report is available here.

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