What Is It?
The presence of a fauna spotter-catcher on site during vegetation clearing activities (and sometimes dam drainage) is most often a mandatory requirement for development projects in Queensland. The requirement is often included in development approval conditions, the Fauna Management Plan and/or the approved Fauna Management Program (relating to animal breeding places).
It is the role of a fauna spotter-catcher to identify the locations of animals within a site and work with the site manager and clearing contractor to plan clearing activities to minimise harm to animals. The spotter-catcher will remove and translocate animals from the site to a safe, nearby, suitable habitat prior to clearing and will guide the machinery operator/s in methods that allow the spotter to retrieve dislodged or injured animals during the clearing process.
How We Do It
A plan for fauna management often starts with a pre-clear survey where one of our spotters or ecologists will traverse the site and note habitat features for particular attention during clearing (e.g. trees with hollows, fallen logs, thickets, scrap heaps). Some development conditions require the submission of a fauna pre-clear report and if a project is approved through a local government approval process a site meeting with a council officer prior to the clearing taking place is sometimes conditioned. If required, we will provide a pre-clear report setting out the identified habitats and suitable clearing methods and attend any necessary site meetings.
On the day/s of clearing the fauna spotter will attend the site. A toolbox talk with the site manager and clearing contractor is necessary each day to discuss the clearing activities to be undertaken for the day, habitats requiring specific management and the communication protocols between the spotter and the machinery operator. The spotter will then remove discoverable animals from the clearing area prior to commencement of works and will search for Koalas (Koala spotting) if they are known from the location. By law Koalas are not relocated and are to be left undisturbed until they move of their own volition.
BAAM has been providing fauna spotting services for over 15 years. Our staff are skilled in all aspects of the role including the identification of fauna habitat features, species identification and recognition of threatened species, wildlife handling, wildlife relocation, management of injured fauna and reporting.
Our in-house knowledge and on-ground experience are key resources for producing efficient and effective fauna spotting services. We strive to work practically, efficiently and safely with clearing contractors, conducting all activities in accordance with both internal and client health and safety procedures.