The regional planning panel’s decision to approve a Bioenergy Facility at the Byron Wetlands was disappointing, but not surprising.
What was surprising though, was a particular condition imposed on the development: that an ‘independent ornithologist’ perform surveys at the wetlands to provide baseline data of bird species at the site, information necessary to gauge the development’s impact. Council already has 16 years of bird data from regular surveys carried out at the Wetlands by Byron Bird Buddies, a community group dedicated to bird conservation. After looking at the data, our group strenuously objected to the development, concluding that expanding industrialisation of the Byron STP may impact already diminishing shorebird populations on this very fragile site.
It’s strange that the planning panel requires an ‘independent ornithologist’ to provide baseline data that the local birding community has already supplied. Perhaps the problem with our data is the presence of so many threatened species?