Monitoring rally a tough job
MURWILLUMBAH-based ecologist Dr Stephen Phillips says he tried to keep a low profile in monitoring the environmental impacts of last year’s world championship car rally and had been concerned the project was going to “blow up” in his face.
But after local people said they wanted him to take up the job and because he felt “responsibility to both the community and environment” he lived in, he agreed.
Dr Phillips said rally organisers had gone out of their way to accommodate his requirements and listen to his recommendations, including changing several proposed rally routes.
During the work he said his company Biolink surveyed 166km of road by foot and recorded information not previously held by authorities such as the National Parks and Wildlife Service.
His researchers covered hundreds of square kilometres of habitat to assess risks to 60 threatened species of animals and 24 threatened plant species, locating some plants that had not been known to grow in certain areas.
His recommendations for fencing of particular areas to stop animals like wallabies going onto roads, bird deterrent “hooters” and pollution barriers around creek crossings were put in place.
During the rally special koala watchers also stood near trees where they had located the animals.