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Protected species

Much of the Peninsula Link road reservation has been cleared for agricultural use or urban development, with key areas across the alignment supporting threatened flora and fauna species. The Pines Flora and Fauna Reserve (The Pines) is a biosite of state significance and offers 220 hectares of habitat for a range of flora and fauna species.

One threatened flora species and two nationally listed fauna species have been identified in The Pines:

  • River Swamp Wallaby Grass
  • Southern Brown Bandicoot
  • Dwarf Galaxias, one of Eastern Australia’s native fish species

One Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1998 listed species, Purple Blown-grass, has been recorded from the Plains Grassy Wetland Complex, at the EastLink Interchange.

River Swamp Wallaby grass

The River Swamp Wallaby grass is an aquatic plant with flowering stems and was identified around the Tamarisk Creek wetland area within The Pines. During construction, the project sought to retain a substantial area containing this species and only disturbed approximately 0.04 ha during works. Seed collection from the species was undertaken and the key wetland area retained. The realignment of Tamarisk Creek will result in increased water flows into the wetland area and improve the long-term habitat for the species.

Dwarf Galaxias

The Dwarf Galaxias is small freshwater fish, native to eastern Australia. A number of creeks and waterways supporting populations of Dwarf Galaxias are crossed by the Peninsula Link alignment. Local populations of Dwarf Galaxias are known from Balcombe, Devilbend and Tuerong Creeks. Design and construction of the Devilbend and Tuerong Creek waterway crossings ensured that fish passage was maintained.

In addition, the following measures have been implemented to protect and enhance habitat for the Dwarf Galaxias:

  • Regular monitoring of the species by a dedicated aquatic ecologist throughout the construction period and ongoing now that the freeway is operational
  • The creation and enhancement of habitats for Dwarf Galaxias within and adjacent to Tamarisk Creek
  • Use of water sensitive road design to minimise alterations to waterway flows and maintain and improve water quality
  • Revegetation of areas within the immediate vicinity of waterway crossings
  • Constructing the waterway crossings to allow for unimpeded fish crossings

Southern Brown Bandicoot

The Pines is home to the Southern Brown Bandicoot. This ground-dwelling marsupial is listed as near threatened in Victoria and Service Stream is committed to the ongoing survival of the Southern Brown Bandicoot in The Pines. Numerous targeted surveys have been undertaken and a site specific Bandicoot Management Plan has been developed.