The Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has concluded its assessment of a proposal by NRM South for two 'Reef Builder' artificial reefs at Dixons Beach and Helliwells Point, in the Derwent Estuary and D'Entrecasteaux Channel.
This proposal seeks to restore 2.25 hectares of native Ostrea angasi oyster reefs at the two sites. This will involve constructing patches of low-profile artificial reef, using around 1680 tonnes of quarried limestone. The reef patches will be seeded with hatchery-produced and wild-collected native flat oyster spat, settled on scallop shell cultch. Over time, it is expected that the reefs will become colonised by the native oysters, thereby enhancing the associated ecological communities and improving water quality.
Public consultation was open for a 28-day period from 2 July to 30 July 2022, and no representations were received in relation to the proposals.
The EPA Executive Director Environmental Assessments, Dr Martin Read, who made the determination under delegation from the EPA Board, concluded the proposed development could be managed in an environmentally sustainable and acceptable manner, with certain conditions. These conditions are included in two Environment Protection Notices served by the EPA to NRM South.
“Various environmental issues were considered by the Board in its assessment, particularly natural values, biosecurity issues, water quality and construction noise. These issues have been addressed via conditions to restrict construction times and stipulate the method by which the artificial reef installation should be carried out" Dr Read said. “Overall, the Reef Builder project seeks to address poor environmental practices of the past and the reefs are intended to have environmental benefits once installed. Given the restorative and non-commercial nature of the proposals, the EPA has offered an assessment fee waiver and regulatory fee exemptions to NRM South."
The proposal was considered by the Executive Director in the context of the sustainable development objectives of the Resource Management and Planning System of Tasmania (RMPS), and in the context of the objectives of the Environmental Management and Pollution Control System (EMPCS) established by the EMPC Act.
The functions of the EPA are to administer and enforce the provisions of the EMPC Act, to further the RMPS and EMPCS objectives and to use its best endeavours to protect the environment of Tasmania. The Executive Director undertook the assessment of the proposal in accordance with the Environmental Impact Assessment Principles defined in Section 74 of the Act.
The Environmental Assessment Report, including the environmental conditions, has been issued to the proponent for their information.
The decision in relation to NRM South, Reef Builder Southeast Tasmania, D'Entrecasteaux Channel can be viewed on this website.