Protecting the environment
ACTEW Corporation is committed to protecting the environment and heritage of the Cotter as we work to secure water supply for the local region. Considerable work is being undertaken by ACTEW to protect the local environmental during construction and operation of the Enlarged Cotter Dam.
Threatened native aquatic species
Work is underway in collaboration with various government agencies and university researchers to enhance our knowledge and management of threatened native aquatic species at the Cotter. Our efforts to protect threatened native fish species in the Cotter include:
- establishing artificial fish habitats for the Macquarie Perch;
- protecting fish from the EHN virus by applying strict disinfection procedures for construction vehicles entering and exiting the area;
- rescue and relocation of native fish from the Cotter River between the existing dam and where the new dam will be built; and
- monitoring changes in the abundance and distribution of native fish and their predators.
The Cotter surroundings were a traditional dwelling point for Aboriginal people and the area is abundant in Aboriginal cultural history. ACTEW has a comprehensive heritage program to ensure the Cotter’s history is recorded for present and future generations. European heritage has also been assessed and salvaged, including one of the oldest suspension bridges in Australia. The salvaging program identifies, examines, records and preserves European and Aboriginal artifact material in the area. Cultural heritage sites at the Cotter include occupation areas, quarries, open artifacts scatter, single artifacts and burial grounds. Sensitive areas have been identified and fenced off for protection.
Xanthorrhoea trees were carefully removed prior to construction for reintegration into final landscaping plans once the project is complete. As a legacy of the existing dam, some plants were also donated to the National Arboretum and the Australian National Botanic Gardens for public display. In addition, progressive revegetation of disturbed areas has commenced onsite. This includes the integration of locally collected native seeds into revegetation works. Plans are currently underway for the planting of native trees, shrubs and grasses to reinstate the local landscape.
Environmental management plans
ACTEW has developed a range of environmental management plans to manage the potential impacts associated with construction activities. These plans meet both ACT and Commonwealth legislative requirements and have been approved by the Environment Protection Authority. They detail mitigation measures to manage dust, noise, vibration and other potential impacts during the course of construction. For example, sediment basins have been built onsite to capture and treat all construction run-off generated from rain events.
Our employees are regularly updated and reminded of environmental protection measures in place for the project. We also have a water conservation system onsite supporting construction operations through use of water tanks and recycling sediment basin water. All environmental protection measures implemented onsite are regularly audited by the project team, environmental agencies including the Environmental Protection Authority and an independent auditor.