Freeway extension has potential to threaten cockatoos

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The Mitchell Fwy to Romeo Rd extension project could involve clearing up to 328 potential breeding trees for Carnaby’s cockatoo. Picture: Anita McInnes

EXTENDING the Mitchell Fwy north to Romeo Rd and upgrading part of Wanneroo Rd will result in the clearing of banksia woodlands and trees, which potentially could affect Carnaby’s and forest red-tailed black cockatoos.

This week when Main Roads WA invited public comment on the 5.6km freeway extension north from Hester Ave to Romeo Rd and an upgrade of part of Wanneroo Rd it said the project would result in significant residual impacts to banksia woodlands of the Swan Coastal Plain threatened ecological community, Carnaby’s cockatoo and forest red-tailed black cockatoo.

This was due to the project requiring the clearing of up to 50ha of banksia woodlands, clearing of up to 328 potential breeding trees for Carnaby’s cockatoo, clearing of up to eight trees, each containing between one and four potentially suitable hollows for Carnaby’s cockatoo nesting (totalling 22 potentially suitable hollows in eight trees) and clearing of up to 96ha of high quality foraging habitat, 8.6ha of medium quality foraging habitat and 28ha of low quality foraging habitat for Carnaby’s cockatoo.

It also involved clearing of up to 6.3ha of high quality foraging habitat, 70ha of medium quality foraging habitat and 28ha of low quality foraging habitat for forest red-tailed black cockatoo.

But Main Roads said it proposed an offset on a property 20 km east-northeast of the Jurien Bay town site to counterbalance the potential significant residual impacts to banksia woodlands of the Swan Coastal Plain threatened ecological community, Carnaby’s Cockatoo and forest red-tailed black cockatoo.

On its website Main Roads WA said the proposal would not affect known nesting hollows of Carnaby’s cockatoo.

The proposed Mitchell Fwy extension project area. Illustration: Main Roads WA

The proposal is also not expected to result in impacts to forest red-tailed black cockatoo breeding habitat, as it lies well away from forest red-tailed black cockatoo breeding areas and does not include large, mature marri or jarrah trees with suitable hollows.

Based on the current concept design, Main Roads estimated about 60ha of native vegetation within the DE would either be retained or landscaped-revegetated with a mix of local, native species suitable as Carnaby’s cockatoo and forest red-tailed black cockatoo foraging habitat.

The proposal is not expected to result in significant indirect impacts to banksia woodlands of the Swan Coastal Plain threatened ecological community, Carnaby’s Cockatoo or forest red-tailed black cockatoo.

It said the proposal would not fragment banksia woodlands of the Swan Coastal Plain threatened ecological community or black Cockatoo habitat, with clearing being limited to the edges of existing disturbed corridors and the Butler urban residential area.

All dieback assessable vegetation within the DE was assessed as un-infested.

The DE is expected to be resilient to dieback expression due to the presence of well drained, calcareous soils of the Spearwood dunes.

Main Roads said it was required to publish the preliminary documentation and make it available for public comment for a minimum of 10 business days, during this time any third party could comment on the proposal.

The comment period is open until Sunday, March 1.

For the documentation visit https://project.mainroads.wa.gov.au/home/Pages/Mitchell-Freeway-Extension.aspx

The preliminary concept includes a 5.6km extension of Mitchell Fwy from Hester Ave to Romeo Rd with two traffic lanes in each direction and provision for future widening, completion of the interchange at Hester Ave, a new interchange at Lukin Dr and a rail tunnel or bridge for the existing rail to exit the freeway median to Butler station.

It also includes a new principal shared path for cyclists and pedestrians on the western side of the freeway from Hester Ave to Romeo Rd, constructing and connecting Romeo Rd between Marmion Ave and Wanneroo Rd, noise mitigation, street lighting and safety barriers where required and duplication of Wanneroo Rd for 1.8km from Romeo Rd to Trian Rd.

Construction will be aligned to complement the Yanchep rail extension.