Client: Yarra Ranges Council
Location: Warburton, Victoria
Date: May 2020, ongoing
· Detailed ecological surveys across 186km mountain bike trail network
· Aboriginal and Historic Heritage Assessments
· Preparation of the Biodiversity Technical Report for the project Environment Effects Statement
· Preparation of the Heritage Technical Report for the project Environment Effects Statement and Cultural Heritage Management Plan
· Expert Witness testimony at the Environment Effects Statement Independent Advisory Committee Panel hearing
The Yarra Ranges Council is planning to develop a world-class biking destination in the heart of the Yarra Ranges in national park and state forest. When complete, the network will feature 44 trails spanning 186 kilometres across three zones on Mount Donna Buang, Mount Little Joe and Mount Tugwell.
Biosis was engaged by Yarra Ranges Council and AECOM as ecology and heritage specialists for studies during the Environment Effects Statement (EES) investigations for the project. We worked closely with Yarra Ranges Council project staff and trail designers from World Trail to develop trail alignments that will avoid and minimise impacts on high biodiversity value areas, including Cool Temperate Rainforest, Mount Donna Buang Stonefly habitat and forests inhabited by Leadbeater’s Possum.
Biosis also worked closely with Traditional Owners and historic heritage groups to document heritage values for this section of the project. This work required a significant amount of fieldwork in difficult terrain, compilation of detailed technical reports, and presentation of expert evidence to the EES Independent Advisory Committee hearing.
The EES Scoping Requirements, Technical Reference Group, public land managers and the community have placed a very high priority on ensuring the project is designed in a manner that minimises impacts on biodiversity and heritage values. Biosis worked closely with project partners and all stakeholder groups to achieve this goal through the EES process.
Yarra Ranges Council and the regulatory authorities assessing the project relied heavily on Biosis’ independent advice and expertise to respond to project risks, develop design innovations and navigate complex approvals pathways.
The EES and technical studies were delivered in a relatively short timeframe over 18 months and the EES Ministerial Decision was handed down in October 2022. This decision approved most of the project and trail network allowing the project to move towards implementation in 2023.
Biosis is playing an ongoing role as a technical adviser during construction and to assist in securing biodiversity offsets for the project.