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BAAM’s ecological consultants assess mine rehab in north Queensland

BAAM ecological consultancy recently undertook three major rehabilitation surveys and an audit for a mine in far north Queensland. These surveys included an assessment of rehabilitation site success at various age classes, audit of rehabilitation monitoring data and methodologies and a factorial analysis testing variables that effect rehabilitation success.

BAAM’s ecological consultants provided an independent assessment of new and innovative ways to monitor large scale rehabilitation areas. The project trialled the efficiency and effectiveness of different field methodologies to adequately assess rehabilitation success in dry woodland and wetland rehabilitation sites of various ages. New applications such as BioCondition were tested in Best on Offer (BOO) rehabilitation and allowed quantitative comparison of rehabilitation sites against specifically derived benchmark scores. The results of the survey have been used to inform the client as to which combination of methodology components best suit the assessment of rehabilitation against key completion criteria.

BAAM’s ecological consultants audited past rehabilitation data and methods and also undertook rehabilitation monitoring in areas seeded the previous year to investigate the progress of rehabilitation at early stages of reinstatement. The qualitative assessment of all early rehabilitation sites enables early intervention into remediation works should it be deemed necessary.

BAAM identified and analysed a number of key factors affecting success of rehabilitation and vegetation growth. The experimental design incorporated soil handling techniques, seed mix, seed establishment methods and site type. Future works aim to incorporate the analysis of additional factors such as the timing of soil stripping, the length of stockpiling and timing of ploughing in the analysis and so forth, coupled with a more robust dataset.  Aspects of research into rehabilitation success and key influencing factors were utilised in the adjustment of the annual rehabilitation plan and may be used to inform revisions to completion criteria.