As part of the largest transport infrastructure project in northern Victoria, we’re building a second Murray River crossing to connect Echuca and Moama to make it quicker and easier for you to travel across the Campaspe and Murray rivers.

Overview

Building a new bridge across the Murray River will improve the way people live, work and travel around Echuca and Moama.

We understand the complex balance of improving road safety and connecting communities whilst caring for our natural environment.

When we build, we comply with all legislative requirements, including those of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

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Managing tree removal

A project of this significance requires space to complete works and this will have an impact on the native vegetation along Warren Street, through Victoria Park and in New South Wales.

We’re continually investigating options that will save as many trees as possible throughout the design and construction process.

There will be changes to the environment, particularly along the route that passes through the Victoria Park precinct. However, we have designed the overall route for the project to minimise the impact on the area’s biodiversity.

Protecting the environment

To help us minimise the number of trees affected by design and construction, we’ve undertaken a detailed tree mapping study to develop a vegetation database.

Every tree along the alignment with a diameter greater than 100mm has been GPS located and we’ve recorded information such as species, diameter and potential timber reuse opportunities.

During our investigations, we identified the following indigenous species:

  • Grey Box Eucalyptus microcarpa
  • Black Box Eucalyptus largiflorens
  • Yellow Box Eucalyptus melliodora
  • River Red-gum Eucalyptus camaldulensis.

A variety of planted species were found throughout the study area, including Pine trees Pinus sp., Sugar Gum Eucalyptus cladocalyx and Kurrajong Brachychiton populneus.

Reusing timber

As part of our efforts for high community value timber re-use initiatives, we have:

  • Provided catchment management authorities with river snags to promote fish breeding grounds
  • Provided hollows to the Kyabram Fauna Park for fauna habitat
  • Supplied the Campaspe Shire with logs for their wharf restoration program.

We’re also considering options such as:

  • Providing timber for millable purposes like furniture and community parks
  • Putting woodchips back into the road landscape design.

We’re also working with our Environmental Reference Group (ERG). This community group is instrumental in guiding our decisions to make sure that any timber removed is put to effective use for everybody.

We proudly supplied timber from the Warren Street upgrade to the North Central Catchment Management Authority (NCCMA) for its river re-snagging projects.

For more information visit the NCCMA website.

Environmental assessments and habitat improvement

In late 2017 we conducted an independent environmental assessment. Environmental experts looked at each tree individually to identify the species and whether it was a habitat for wildlife. An audit of the vegetation in the area was also completed.

Now, in preparation for the start of major works on Stage 3, we’re creating additional habitat hollows in Victoria Park to provide more shelter for local wildlife.

Habitat hollows are cavities that form naturally in tree trunks or branches and provide shelter and protection for wildlife, however these can take many years to form. Carved habitat hollows and nest boxes can be created by a qualified arborist in one day, providing a greater number and diversity of hollows in a much shorter space of time.

From 25 November through until mid-December 2019, we’ll install two types of hollows, including traditional nest boxes and carved hollows.

These works will be undertaken by a team of qualified arborists and ecologists and will involve:

  • assessing and surveying tree trunks and branches before deciding on the ideal location for a hollow
  • creating the habitat hollow using precise chainsaw techniques to protect the trees (the use of chainsaws is recognised as an environmentally effective practice that has been used successfully on other similar habitat improvement projects)
  • temporary closure of some sections of Victoria Park.

All works will take place between 8am and 5pm, Monday to Friday, however we may need to do some works on Saturdays.

During future tree removal works we’ll always have a suitably qualified specialist onsite to check the trees and safely relocate any animals to a suitable habitat nearby.

Cultural heritage and ecology

We’ve consulted with the traditional land owners, the Yorta Yorta Nation Aboriginal Corporation for assistance to identify culturally important sites. We’ve also consulted with local land care groups such as Strathallan Family Landcare group and Echuca-Moama Land care group.

Planting native trees

To maintain environmental diversity, we’re collecting seeds from trees that have been identified for removal.

These plants have adapted to local conditions so it’s important to collect their seeds. The seeds are being supplied to a local nursery where they are stored and then propagated to be used as part of the new landscaping and re-vegetation plans.

Where possible, we’ll replant trees, shrubs and native grasses from the seeds we’ve collected. We’ll also source additional native plants from local nurseries.

Conservation Vegetation Management Plan for Victoria park

As an additional measure to assist other agencies with future management in Victoria park and Scenic Drive Reserve, the project is committing to prepare a Conservation and Vegetation Management Plan for Victoria Park Reserve for (and in consultation with) Campaspe Shire Council, Parks Vic and Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning.

Environmental Monitoring Program

An environmental monitoring program is being developed by ecologists specialising in threatened species. The monitoring program will include detail of how we will monitor the success of mitigation measures designed to protect threatened species and communities.

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