Consulting & Reporting
Acid Sulfate Soils
Flora & Fauna Surveys
Land contamination by human activity is a legacy which is not longer acceptable to a society seeking sustainable environmental values. The Contaminated Sites Act (2003) defines a contaminated site as any area that has a substance present above concentrations which presents or has the potential to present a risk of harm to human health or the environment. Contaminants typically include petroleum hydrocarbons, solvents, pesticides, heavy metals, excess nutrient loading or asbestos fibre, all of which have the potential to have significant impacts on health and the environment.
Bioscience provides contaminated site investigations using a tiered approach in accordance with the legislation and the subsequent Regulations and Contaminated Sites Management Series Guidelines (DER).
The critical requirement of a contaminated site investigation is the careful, systematic and detailed study of past land use, substances which might cause concern, and the nature of soil and groundwater in the context of the sensitivity of the surrounding environment. This leads to the creation of a conceptual site model (CSM) that describes the possible pathways by which exposure to potential contamination may occur. This in turn defines the analytical investigations required to confirm site status.
Frequently, DER guidelines require an independent contaminated sites auditor to work with Bioscience to produce a Mandatory Auditors Report.
Detailed investigations can lead to assurance that sites are acceptable, or to the development of management plans to contain or remediate the land.
In Australia there are legislative requirements for potential environmental impacts, both positive and negative, to be assessed prior to a project or development proposal being approved. Consequently, Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is a fundamental stage in any proposal, and warrants a systematic and orderly evaluation by experienced environmental professionals.
For over 10 years Bioscience has provided professional EIA in accordance with both WA state and federal legislation (i.e. Environmental Protection Act 1986Part IV and Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999,respectively). We offer EIA from preliminary desk-top investigations to a comprehensive investigation and report, involving environmental surveys, conceptual modelling and community consultation.
We endeavour to provide expert advice to ensure environmental impacts are identified early in the planning and design phase of a proposal so that measures can be been taken to avoid, and where this is not possible, to minimise impacts on the environment.
Wetlands are areas where the soil becomes inundated or waterlogged, either permanently or seasonally, with fresh or saline water and are generally inhabited by specifically adapted plant and animal communities. Wetlands vary widely because of regional and local differences in soils, topography, climate, hydrology, water chemistry, vegetation, and other factors, including human disturbance.
Driven by the recognition of the importance of wetlands in the Swan Coastal Plain ecosystem, and the fact that European settlement had caused a rapid loss of wetlands, studies were initiated in the late 1980’s to 1990’s to map wetlands in the Perth area, and to assign management categories in order for them to be protected from future decline.
The definition, location and management category of wetlands can change over the longer term, so new wetlands can form and old wetland can dry, thus losing their wetland characteristics. It was also recognised that some of the original wetland mapping was done on a broad scale, and may prove in time to have the boundaries imprecisely mapped or inappropriate management categories assigned.
Bioscience provides expert advice on current DEC wetland boundaries and management categories, and where appropriate, conducts the necessary investigations to justify a modification to the boundaries or management categories as per the DEC Guidelines.
Wetland investigations require hydrological, biological and chemical analysis. It is upon the results and data of this integrated approach that management plans can be formulated to preserve and protect worthwhile wetlands.
ACID SULFATE SOILS
Acid Sulfate Soils (ASS) can form where inundation of land by fresh or seawater causes oxygen depletion so that organic matter cannot break down in the usual way, but instead accumulates as peat and sulfides. This can become a significant issue in Western Australian, particularly within the Swan Coastal Plain for when such soils are disturbed by drainage, excavation or declining groundwater levels. The reaction of soils with oxygen from air can form sulphuric acid which can in turn release other substances, including heavy metals, from the soil and into the surrounding environment.
Understanding the nature and distribution of Acid Sulfate Soils is an essential feature of planning various land development in low lying areas.
Bioscience is experienced and equipped to facilitate all the steps of ASS assessments as required by planning, environmental and regulatory authorities:
Desktop Assessment and Site Inspection
Reporting Results and Management Recommendations
Acid Sulfate Management Plans
As well as undertaking all the field work, Bioscience analyses collected ASS samples within our well equipped laboratory at Forrestdale. Our research program has developed test methodology specific to our local conditions, and now accepted by DEC as an inexpensive screening test. This not only saves time and money, but also gives our staff a practical understanding of the analysis techniques and specialised methods required.
Finally, we provide expert advice, regulatory compliance and ASS Management Plans (if required) in relation to both the Acid Sulfate Soils Guidelines (DEC) and Bulletin 64 – Acid Sulfate Soils (WA Planning Commission) in a comprehensive report.
FAUNA & FLORA SURVEYS
Western Australia is blessed with a rich and diverse range of endemic flora and fauna, making it one of the world’s biodiversity “hot spots”. This biodiversity is a hallmark of environmental health, but requires special expertise to quantify and catalogue.
Bioscience has extensive skill and experience in undertaking both quantitative and qualitative flora and fauna assessments in accordance with EPA Guidance 51 Surveys (Terrestrial Flora and Vegetation Surveys for Environmental Impact Assessment in Western Australia), ranging from small remnant areas to much larger ecosystems.
With our ever expanding herbarium collection and our innovative Research and Development project (in collaboration with other leading botanists), in which we are developing methods for a DNA-based taxonomy of native flora, we are well versed to service all your Flora and Fauna surveying requirements. Our flora field work stretches across the vast extent of the state, from the Kimberley in the north to the south coast, from the central deserts to the temperate forests.