AERS has assisted proponents and principal contractors of wind energy developments to meet their environmental and Planning Permit requirements. AERS has undertaken ecological projects for the four wind farm sites of the Portland Wind Energy Project, Oaklands Hill Wind Farm and Macarthur Wind Farm. Most of these projects have involved flora and fauna surveys including seasonal monitoring of micro bat presence and activity, seasonal monitoring of bird utilisation of the wind farm sites, monitoring of bird and bat mortality, surveys of pest animal abundance, and Vegetation Quality Assessments for areas of native vegetation requiring removal. AERS has also prepared Environmental Management Plans for the Oaklands Hill Wind Farm consisting of a Bat and Avifauna Management Plan and a Pest Animal Management Plan.
Dr Wood was also contracted by Leighton Contractors Pty Ltd to undertake the position of Site Environmental Representative for the Macarthur Wind Farm Project. This role involved ensuring all requirements of the Environmental Management Plan (EMP) were implemented and that construction activities complied with the EMP and Planning Permit conditions. Liaison with government departments such as the Department of Planning and Community Development (DPCD), Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE) and Local Council was extensive, particularly in the preparation and submission of Planning Permit applications. Dr Wood was actively involved in modifications to the wind farm layout which provided opportunities to reduce the impact on the environment, particularly through avoiding areas of native vegetation and reducing the extent of vegetation loss.
AERS is currently implementing the Bat and Avifauna Management plan of the Macarthur Wind Farm, undertaking surveys of bird and bat utilisation of the site including specific Brolga surveys, and monitoring mortality of birds and bats resulting from blade strike. Pest animal surveys are also being undertaken to monitor changes in the abundance of foxes and rabbits to determine whether pest animal control is required.
AERS was commissioned by Padbury Amber Civil Contractors Pty Ltd to oversee environmental management during construction of the Hamilton-Grampians Pipeline Project. This involved ensuring compliance with the Environmental Management Plan, minimising the impact on areas of native vegetation and fauna habitat, undertaking surveys for and salvaging Striped Legless Lizards in close proximity to construction activities, and undertaking Vegetation Quality Assessments for sections of the pipeline.
AERS has similarly been involved with the replacement of water pipeline near Port Campbell, managing on-site environmental responsibilities and ensuring compliance with environmental management plans.
AERS has undertaken annual surveys of the Koala population within Mt Eccles National Park since 2003 and biannual assessments of Manna Gum condition since 2004. This is a long-term monitoring program to assess the effectiveness of population control of Koalas via fertility suppression and to assess any improvements in habitat condition following a decline in the Koala population. Research has also been undertaken to monitor the health and movements of Koalas via radio telemetry that have either been sterilised or translocated from the National Park.
Surveys of small mammals have been undertaken within the Grampians National Park as part of Victoria's Adaptive Fox Management Program. This project involved surveying small mammals via trapping before and after an extensive fox control program within the National Park to evaluate the effectiveness of fox control in reducing predation on wildlife.
Bird and bat surveys have been undertaken at a number of wind farm sites to monitor changes in activity and utilisation of the sites before and after construction of wind farms. Bat monitoring has involved the use of Anabat detectors to record echo locations calls from which the species is identified.
AERS has undertaken several projects to capture Kangaroos and Wallabies using a tranquilliser gun for various research, fertility control or translocation programs undertaken by DSE, Parks Victoria, Melbourne Water, Portland Aluminium and University Post Graduate students.
AERS was commissioned by Beach Energy Pty Ltd to undertake a Vegetation Quality Assessment (Habitat Hectare and Net Gain Assessment) in areas of native vegetation where a seismic exploration survey to identify potential hydrocarbon reserves was proposed. Targeted surveys for rare and threatened flora species were also conducted.
AERS has been involved in various Fox and Rabbit control programs including the Bushfire Recovery Program coordinated by the Department of Primary Industries within the Grampians National Park, surrounding State Forests and private land, the Glenelg Arc Project coordinated by the Department of Sustainability and Environment in south-west Victoria and Fox baiting programs coordinated by Parks Victoria to reduce predation on the threatened Hooded Plover near Yambuk, Western Victoria. All of these projects have involved 1080 baiting.