The project area supports a variety of natural settings and landscape features that provide habitat for native flora and fauna including escarpments, ravines, rivers, creeks and reservoirs. There has been significant effort to identify the biodiversity values within the Exploratory Works survey area, and design the works to avoid and minimise impacts to the identified values.
Kosciuszko National Park
Exploratory Works is predominantly within a small section of the northern region of KNP and the design and planning for Exploratory Works has acknowledged the need to minimise the impact on the values of KNP.
The nature of the Exploratory Works means that impacts on landform and soil characteristics are an important consideration. There are some isolated areas of existing contamination, mostly near Lobs Hole, but these are not health risks and are generally avoided by the planned Exploratory Works.
The Exploratory Works will include management systems to minimise disturbance to water resources by avoiding discharge to or extraction from the Yarrangobilly River, and by on-site controls for sediment and erosion, water re-use and for safe storage of chemical compounds. The works will have minimal influence on flood water behaviour and infrastructure will, as far as possible, be above the flood plain.
There has been a long history of Aboriginal presence in the Snowy Mountains and the Walgalu people continue to have a cultural association with the region. The high country also has a rich history from early exploration, pastoralism and settlement, as well as the construction of the Snowy Scheme.
Traffic surveys were conducted to evaluate current traffic and transport movement. The impact of the Exploratory Works on the road network, public and private transport, cycling and walking was considered.
Social and economic
The Exploratory Works have potential to impact service level providers, such as community services, facilities and infrastructure particularly in Cooma and Tumut, via the influx of workers to the local area. Recreational users will also be impacted as a result of temporary closure of parts of Kosciuszko National Park (KNP) at Lobs Hole and at Talbingo spillway.
The project area is generally remote from built up areas. Nonetheless, assessments of noise, air quality and public safety have been carried out as part of the EIS.
Snowy Hydro’s ability to protect the environment from harm starts with the way Exploratory Works is designed and built. There have been a number of design improvements made to avoid and minimise impacts in some areas. Where impacts can’t be avoided a suite of management measures and offsets are needed.