Field surveys

Much of the information collected by a SREBA is collected through field surveys.

Baseline and long-term variation

SREBA studies are much bigger than the 2-year study period.

The SREBA teams collect new data, while also finding information about long-term variation.

They do this by collating and reviewing recent and historical records. These are added to SREBA reports.

Most SREBA teams and organisations have worked extensively in the region for many years.

Because of this, they have a good understanding of the historical context and seasonal variation.

Important information about the extent of longer-term variation is sourced from various tools. For example. The analysis of several decades of satellite imagery.

It is important to create a baseline to monitor change from the current state.

This allows us to design powerful ongoing monitoring programs that can further document and account for long-term variation.

Existing environmental change

The SREBA studies aim to establish a baseline of the Beetaloo region in its current state.

The primary purpose of this is to detect future changes that may occur because of the development of onshore gas industry.

Assessing environmental change that may have occurred because of existing land uses is not the role of SREBA.

Endangered or threatened plants and animals

The SREBA collects additional information about known endangered or threatened plants and animals.

This builds our existing understanding of where each species occurs.

The SREBA uses this to provide more precise advice about how they may be affected by potential development.

For example. Current knowledge of the crested shrike-tit (a listed threatened bird species) suggests that it can potentially occur in all woodlands in the Beetaloo region.

Because of this, any major land clearing application may trigger a need to do more local surveys for this species.

The data collected during the SREBA increases our knowledge of where the species does and doesn’t occur. This will reduce the likelihood that further surveys are needed.

There are stringent criteria required before a species can be officially listed as threatened. The SREBA studies alone can't list a species as listed or threatened.

Scientists understand that recording numbers of animals and plants in one instance or site does not indicate the:

  • actual population or
  • extent of a species.

Sites of cultural significance

We work with Aboriginal Areas Protection Authority (AAPA) to ensure survey activities pose no risk to Aboriginal sacred sites.

SREBA teams don't have the authority to identify or document sacred sites.

Some SREBA activities, such as drilling new bores, require an authority certificate. During this process, AAPA consults with Traditional Owners about any sacred sites or culturally restricted areas.

For more information about the protection of sacred sites, go to AAPA NT website.

Land clearing

Land clearing applications must satisfy certain information requirements.

By providing more regional-scale information to the regulator than is currently available, SREBA will help applicants meet these information requirements.

Sectors of the community opposing land clearing typically use the perceived lack of environmental information as a key reason why applications shouldn’t be approved.

Riparian (water) access

Access to water for stock and domestic use are fundamental rights. They are not affected by SREBA findings.

Stygofauna

These are aquatic animals that live in groundwater.

Finding stygofauna helps us to understand the:

  • distribution of the different species
  • extent to which aquifers are connected.

There is currently nothing to suggest that stygofauna are a threatened species or have been negatively affected by current land uses.

Water allocation

Findings from the SREBA will inform water allocation planning processes into the future.

The need for a water allocation plan is another outcome of the inquiry.

It will help guarantee adequate water is always available for existing land uses, including pastoralism.


Last updated: 11 July 2022

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