The white-throated snapping turtle is one of the species the State Government is planning to ensure is not harmed by the construction of the Gympie Bypass.
The white-throated snapping turtle is one of the species the State Government is planning to ensure is not harmed by the construction of the Gympie Bypass. Ron Burgin

BYPASS IMPACT: 8 threatened species, 430ha of cleared land

THE State Government has revealed how it will protect eight threatened species in the path of the final leg of the Gympie Bypass, which will require about 430ha of land to be cleared.

New documents from the Department of Transport and Main Roads reveal eight species of flora and fauna will be impacted, including the black-breasted button quail, koalas, the pineapple zamia plant, and a wider part of the lowland rainforest of subtropical Australia threatened ecological community.

The impact is not restricted to land dwelling animals.

Water pollution, sedimentation, and erosion protections are also required to ensure there is no harm to the Mary River cod, the Mary River turtle, the white-throated snapping turtle, and the Australian lungfish.

 

Proposed route of the Section D Bruce Highway upgrade.
ON TRACK: Proposed route of the Section D Bruce Highway Bypass, which will occupy about 430ha of land. Transport and Main Roads

At its closest point construction will be 200m from the Mary River, before moving out to 10km away in the middle and 4km at its northern end.

Construction is expected to require 5.2 million cubic metres of fill.

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DTMR plans to re-use a number of practices from the construction of Section C of the Bruce Highway upgrade to minimise the environmental impact, the report says.

These include staged clearing (with fencing and cross drainage), a fauna spotter and catcher, and sequential clearing to allow animals to move on from the construction areas of their own accord.

 

Female (front) and male black-breasted button-quail roost on the forest floor.
The black-breasted button quail, one of the species which will be impacted.

Defined vegetation clearing limits will be set, and the final design includes koala exclusion fencing.

A "fauna connectivity structure" will be installed underneath the Six Mile Creek bridge as part of their protection measures.

In addition, 76 adult pineapple zamias will be moved to other areas, with goals of achieving "a net gain in the numbers of the species in suitable habitat in the wild" and "improve the long-term protection and viability of the species in the wild".

 

Support the endangered Mary River cod breeding program.
The Mary River cod. CONTRIBUTED

Monitoring and maintenance of the relocated plants will be carried out for up to five years.

Further protection for koalas is planned through a $240,000 extension of Gympie Regional Council's wild dog abatement program which was used in Section C's construction.

The control documents are available to the public for feedback until July 3.