Technical reports

Technical reports provide information of a technical or scientific nature and cover a range of matters pertinent to environmental protection in Western Australia. Technical reports may detail the collection, analysis and interpretation of scientific data, or describe procedures for monitoring or making measurements of environmental variables in the field. Links to other documents and internet sites that include relevant technical or scientific information may be included from time to time.


MTR6 - Background concentrations of selected metals and total suspended solids in the Kimberley Region
Summary:

Several water quality surveys were undertaken in the coastal waters of the Kimberley region from September 2007 to August 2008 to measure typical TSS concentrations and determine background total and dissolved concentrations of aluminium, arsenic, cadmium, chromium, cobalt, copper, lead, mercury, nickel, silver and zinc. This work was undertaken to establish a baseline for the Kimberley from which to assess local and regional changes in water quality in years to come and to ascertain whether the guideline trigger values from ANZECC & ARMCANZ (2000) are relevant to the region.

The results of this study indicate that the coastal waters of the Kimberley region are generally of very high quality. The concentrations of metals across the region were relatively low and met the guideline trigger values from ANZECC and ARMCANZ (2000) for a very high level of ecological protection (99% species protection) at the time of sampling.


Status: Final
Release Date: 15 June 2012
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MTR4 - Petroleum hydrocarbon content of shoreline sediment and intertidal biota at selected sites in the Kimberley bioregion, Western Australia
Summary:

Following a blowout at the Montara wellhead platform on 21 August 2009, petroleum hydrocarbons flowed effectively unabated into the Timor Sea, approximately 175 kilometres (km) from Western Australian coastal waters, until the leak was contained on 3 November 2009. This report presents findings of a petroleum hydrocarbons survey conducted in July 2010 as part of the response to the Montara incident.

The aim of this survey was to determine the petroleum hydrocarbon content of shoreline sediments and filter feeding organisms some eight months after the flow of hydrocarbons from the Montara wellhead platform was stopped in order to assess the intensity, extent and duration of potential Montara oil-related contamination. To this end, data were collected to allow direct comparisons with baseline data collected during an earlier survey in October 2009 (McAlpine et al. 2010). The July 2010 survey involved sampling shoreline sediments and intertidal rock oysters at seven Kimberley islands and two mainland promontory sites visited by McAlpine et al. (2010). Cultured pearl oyster tissue samples were also collected from the four pearl farms visited in October 2009 (McAlpine et al. 2010). There were no detectable concentrations of petroleum hydrocarbons found in any of the shoreline sediment or oyster tissue samples collected during this survey. This result was consistent with the findings of the baseline survey (McAlpine et al. 2010).

In view of the overall consistency of the results, spatial coverage of the surveys and the lack of evidence of any recent oil impacts at any of the sites, it is likely that if any oil from the Montara spill reached the coastal waters of the Kimberley region, the resulting impact on the coastal environment would have been transitory and at levels that could not be detected by the sampling methods used in these surveys. The values reported in this survey and the previous baseline survey are therefore considered to broadly represent readily-measureable natural background petroleum hydrocarbon conditions in this part of the Kimberley marine bioregion.

The findings of this survey as well as the 2009 baseline survey also suggest that natural petroleum hydrocarbon seeps in the Timor Sea do not appear to have a readily measureable chronic or residual effect on the quality of the Kimberley marine environment at the sites investigated.

These data will be of value to all stakeholders for assessing potential impacts of future development and monitoring the quality of the marine environment in the Kimberley bioregion.

Download the full report using the link below.

 Download the appendices to the report here. (pdf 1.44 Mb)


Status: Final
Release Date: 30 May 2012
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MTR5 - Nutrient-related water quality at selected sites in the coastal waters of the Kimberley Region
Summary:

A water quality survey was undertaken in December 2008 at two locations on the Western Australian Kimberley coast that were shortlisted as potential sites for the construction of an LNG processing precinct. Water samples were collected and processed to determine total suspended solids (TSS), chlorophyll a, b and c, ammonia, total phosphorous (P), total nitrogen (N), nitrate plus nitrite (NO3+NO2) and orthophosphate concentrations at selected sites across both study areas. The sampling program was designed to obtain a water quality snapshot of the early wet season.

Results indicate that chlorophyll a and c concentrations and total phosphorus concentrations were consistently higher in bottom waters at both sites, but highest at James Price Point. TSS concentrations in surface waters were found to be higher at James Price Point than at Perpendicular Head and total nitrogen concentrations were similar across all sites and depths.

As a result of this survey it was found that the default guideline trigger values from ANZECC & ARMCANZ (2000) for Australian tropical marine waters may not be relevant to the Kimberley region for chlorophyll a and total nitrogen concentrations, at least during the early wet season. In these situations the approach recommended in ANZECC & ARMCANZ (2000) is to derive site specific guideline trigger values using local reference sites or baseline data. However, fully characterising these waters would require a significant allocation of resources.


Status: Final
Release Date: 8 March 2012
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Technical guide - Terrestrial Vertebrate Fauna Surveys for Environmental Impact Assessment
Summary: This guide provides advice on fauna sampling techniques and methodologies for different regions of the State and the analysis, interpretation and reporting requirements for EIA. It draws on the wealth of knowledge of biological surveys by personnel from government departments, consultants and academia. It should be read in conjunction with EPA Guidance Statement No. 56 (EPA 2004) and any subsequent revision.
Status: Final
Release Date: 30 September 2010
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MTR3 - Baseline petroleum hydrocarbon content of marine water, shoreline sediment and intertidal biota at selected sites in the Kimberley bioregion, Western Australia
Summary: A survey was carried out to establish a quantitative baseline for petroleum hydrocarbons in seawater, shoreline sediments, intertidal filter feeders and cultured pearl oysters across the Kimberley bioregion.
Status: Final
Release Date: 31 July 2010
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An assessment of the avifauna of the area between Dawesville and Binningup, Southern Swan Coastal Plain
Summary: This technical report comprises part of Appendix 4 of EPA Report 1359.

The report, on the avifauna, is part of a series of studies which assess the vertebrate fauna values of the Dawesville to Binningup study area. It was prepared for the EPA by John Dell and Bridget Hyder.

Download the report here. (pdf 3.13 Mb)
Status: Final
Release Date: 30 November 2009
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Summary of vertebrate fauna values of the area between Dawesville and Binningup, Southern Swan Coastal Plain
Summary: This technical report comprises part of Appendix 4 of EPA Report 1359.

The report is a summary of the vertebrate fauna values of the Dawesville to Binningup study area for herpetofauna, avifauna, non-volant mammals and bats, together with a consideration of the overall significance of the study area for vertebrate fauna. It was prepared for the EPA by John Dell and Bridget Hyder.

Download the report here. (pdf 6.2 Mb)
Status: Final
Release Date: 30 November 2009
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An assessment of the non-volant mammal fauna of the area between Dawesville and Binningup, Southern Swan Coastal Plain
Summary: This technical report comprises part of Appendix 4 of EPA Report 1359.

The report, on the non-volant mammals, is part of a series of studies which assess the vertebrate fauna values of the Dawesville to Binningup study area. It was prepared for the EPA by John Dell and Bridget Hyder.

Download the report here. (pdf 2.26 Mb)
Status: Final
Release Date: 31 October 2009
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A Floristic Survey of the Whicher Scarp
Summary:

A report for the Department of Environment and Conservation as part of the Swan Bioplan Project. Authors:BJ Keighery, GJ Keighery, A Webb, VM Longman and EA Griffin (April 2008)

A survey of the Whicher Scarp was undertaken by the Departments of Environmental Protection and Conservation and Land Management together with the Wildflower Society of Western Australia (Inc.) over a period of more than 10 years. This work was completed as part of the Swan Bioplan Project to provide a more detailed knowledge of the conservation status of species and communities that occur in this area.

Download the report from DEC's website.


Status: Final
Release Date: 30 April 2008
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MTR2 - Background quality of the marine sediments off the Western Australian mid-west coast
Summary: This report provides the results of a survey to determine the concentrations of a range of selected metal and organic chemicals in marine sediments under natural background conditions in the Midwest region and to ascertain the applicability the nationally-recommended sediment quality guidelines from the Australian and New Zealand Guidelines for Fresh and Marine Water Quality to the region. A set of sediment quality guidelines that could be applied to the marine environment off the Midwest coast is provided.
Status: Final
Release Date: 31 July 2007
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MTR1 - Background quality of the marine sediments of the Pilbara coast
Summary: This report provides the results of a survey to determine the concentrations of a range of selected metal and organic chemicals in marine sediments under natural background conditions in the Pilbara region and to ascertain the applicability the nationally-recommended sediment quality guidelines from the Australian and New Zealand Guidelines for Fresh and Marine Water Quality to the region. A set of sediment quality guidelines that could be applied to the marine environment off the Pilbara coast is provided.
Status: Final
Release Date: 30 October 2006
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Background quality for coastal marine waters of the North West Shelf, Western Australia
Summary: This work was undertaken to provide an estimate of background concentrations for selected metals and organics in the marine waters of the North West Shelf, and to ascertain whether the guideline trigger values from ANZECC & ARMCANZ (2000) are relevant to the region.
Status: Final
Release Date: 30 June 2006
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Background concentrations of selected toxicants in the coastal waters of the Jurien Bay Marine Park
Summary: This work was undertaken to provide an estimate of background concentrations for selected metals and organic chemicals in the waters of the Jurien Bay Marine Park and to ascertain whether the guideline trigger values from ANZECC & ARMCANZ (2000) are relevant to the region.
Status: Final
Release Date: 31 March 2005
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Background quality for coastal marine waters of Perth, Western Australia
Summary: This work was undertaken to gain an understanding of background concentrations for a range of contaminants in Perth's coastal marine waters, and to ascertain whether the guideline trigger values from ANZECC & ARMCANZ (2000) were relevant to the region.
Status: Final
Release Date: 31 December 2004
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Investigation of the environmental effects of an oil spill adjacent to the waters of the Lowendal and Montebello island groups, north west Australia
Summary:

Officers from the Department of Environmental Protection and the Department of Minerals and Energy undertook a low-altitude helicopter-based survey of the islands and waters of the Lowendal and Montebello island groups on 16-17 August 1999, to investigate the environmental implications of an oil spill from the Varanus Island Marine Loading Terminal located approximately 4.2 km north east of Varanus Island. The survey consisted of general observations from the air, supplemented by on-ground observations and collection of beach sand samples from 11 sites on six islands within the Lowendal and Montebello island groups that were considered to have had the greatest likelihood of having come into contact with spilled oil.

There was no evidence of oil on any beaches/rocky shores of the Lowendal and Montebello island groups or on the water swface within or around the island groups during the aerial survey.

There was no evidence of oil on beaches. The strandline was clear of oil. There were no oiled wildlife seen and no visible hydrocarbon layering in the sand profile to a depth of approximately 50 cm and no hydrocarbon odours noted in surface sands or in subsurface sands or water. All mangrove communities examined appeared healthy and showed no signs of oiling or stress.

Beach sand samples contained no detectable benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene or xylene and no detectable petroleum hydrocarbons (C6-C9, C10-C14, C15-C28, C29-C36).


Status: Final
Release Date: 6 September 1999
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Inland Waters of the Pilbara, Western Australia (Part 2)
Summary:

The Environmental Protection Authority has consistently emphasised the need to conserve wetland resources. While significant studies have been made in the south-west of Westem Australia, little is known of the inland surface waters of the semi-arid areas of the state, notably the Pilbara region.

For this reason, a study of inland waters of the Pilbara was initiated in 1983.

The results of the 1983 study have been published as 'Inland Waters of the Pilbara, Westem Australia, Part 1' (Masini, 1988).

This report concems the results of a second study conducted during October-November 1984, with the following objectives:

1. To identify and document in terms of their important physical and biological characteristics, the wetlands of the Oakover-DeGrey catchments, with particular emphasis on Carawine Gorge, Skull Springs on the Davis River. Similarly, to survey wetlands along the Ashburton River and its catchment for inclusion in the data base for the Pilbara.

2. To review the wetland classification system devised during the 1983 study to encompass the whole Pilbara region, once adequate data have been obtained.

3. To carry out preliminary observations on the nutrient status of the wetlands of the Pilbara.

4. To make further recommendations for future phases of the study.


Status: Final
Release Date: 31 January 1989
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Inland Waters of the Pilbara, Western Australia (Part 1)
Summary:

A study of inland surface waters of the Pilbara was begun in 1983 with the following longterm objectives:

1. To produce an inventory of permanent and ephemeral inland surface waters which identifies and documents:

(i) significant physical and biological characteristics:
(ii) land tenure:
(iii) amenity, conservation and recreational values: and
(iv) pressures arising from existing and potential land uses, human access and population centres.

2. To classify the waters. using significant physical and biological characteristics.

3. To establish priorities for management and/or reservation.

4. To develop guidelines for appropriate conservation and management.

This report is concerned with a first phase of the Study and has three main objectives:

(i) To identify and document. as far as possible, inland surface waters in the Fortescue and De Grey river catchments in terms of their important physical and biological characteristics;
(ii) To develop a preliminary classification system based on observations made in the field: and
(iii) To make recommendations for future phases of the study.


Status: Final
Release Date: 31 January 1988
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Environmental Protection Bulletin No. 6 - The Natural Values of the Whicher Scarp
Summary:

The EPA will, as required under the Environmental Protection Act 1986, continue to consider proposed developments for this area on an individual basis, however, the EPA recognises the significance of the natural values of the Whicher Scarp across a range of biodiversity characteristics at the genetic, species and community levels, and the small overall extent of the Whicher Scarp environments. Where the EPA considers a proposal is likely to pose significant risk to the outstanding natural values of the Whicher Scarp, it will be formally assessed, and/or may be considered environmentally unacceptable.

This bulletin was reviewed and revised in December 2013


Release Date: 10 August 2009
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