Terrestrial (Land) Fauna
A total of 169 fauna species have been identified on Eraring Power Station land, from surveys conducted by environmental consultants prior to and including 2007, and by the Hunter Bird Observers Club in 2005.
The total listing of fauna included:
Fauna and threatened species management is undertaken with specific reference to identified threatened species and biodiversity management objectives, and in accordance with species specific recovery plans.
Eraring Power Station Fauna Listing
A large variety of marine species occur within Lake Macquarie and some of these enter the Canal System at Eraring Power Station. These include small and large species from fish and crabs to stingrays and marine turtles. All marine species are free to access and exit the Inlet and Outlet Canals – it is essentially an extension of the Lake Macquarie marine environment.
Eraring Power Station’s Low-level Inlet Canal commences at Bonnell’s Bay, travels underneath Dora Creek in a concrete box structure called a caisson and continues to the rotating collection screens approximately 1.8 km long.
Eraring Energy has embarked on an unprecedented marine environment monitoring program with the announcement of $300,000 in funding. The program will investigate impacts on marine species that may arise from Power Station operations and will include seagrass, fish and larvae and plankton.
Only one study investigating marine species in the Inlet Canal has been undertaken to date. All species identified by environmental consultants in that 2007 study is shown in the following table.
Silver Belly (Common)
|Eel (Long Finned)
|Eel (Short Finned)
Marine species identified by environmental consultants in Eraring Power Station’s Inlet Canal in 2007.
Marine turtles are among the largest marine species seen in the 2.5 km long Canal System. The Green Turtle is the most common, with occasional sightings of Loggerhead and Flatback Turtles.
All marine turtles are protected by law, with the majority of species being classified as ‘Threatened’ under NSW and Commonwealth legislation. Eraring Energy is licenced by the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) to capture, tag and release marine turtles and does so with any turtle that can be safely accessed in the Inlet Canal. All marine turtles captured at Eraring Power Station are reported to NPWS and released back to their natural environment, usually the ocean.
Marine turtles are primarily a tropical and sub-tropical species known to travel south in the East Australian Current. Marine turtles stop off at estuaries, rivers and lakes on their southern journey, sometimes for extended periods of time. Some turtles may be attracted to the Inlet Canal due to the abundance of food found in the Canal. Water drawn into the Power Station’s Inlet Canal may at times carry sick or injured turtles. Sick or injured turtles have been recovered from the Inlet Canal and transported to Taronga Park Zoo for assessment and rehabilitation before release back into the ocean.
Green Turtle in Inlet Canal.
Water temperatures in Lake Macquarie drop below 14° C during winter and this can result in Green Turtles becoming more susceptible to illness and injury.
Eraring Energy is conscious of turtle physiology and is concerned for the welfare of turtles in the Inlet Canal during the colder months of the year. Eraring Energy consulted international marine turtle expert Dr. Col Limpus of the Queensland National Parks and Wildlife Service, who provided design advice on a structure that allows turtles to move from deeper canal water into shallow water. Eraring Energy constructed a purpose-designed turtle embayment to allow turtles to move into shallower water and bask in the sun during colder months. The turtle embayment also allows safe access by Eraring Energy Environment Team members to enable easier capture of those using the embayment during colder months or those that are sick or injured.
Constructed turtle embayment within the upper reaches of the Inlet Canal.
Green Turtle in turtle embayment.
Marine turtles are also known to occur around the Power Station’s Outlet Canal, which discharges cooling water at temperatures approximately 5-7° C higher than ambient Lake temperature. Marine turtles occur in this area due to the abundance of food resources that occurs as a consequence of increased water temperature and to maintain body temperature during winter months when Lake water cools down.
Eraring Energy is currently reviewing its 2007 Marine Turtle Management Strategy in conjunction with the Marine Turtle Strategy Working Group, comprising members from National Parks and Wildlife Service, Lake Macquarie City Council, Native Animal Trust Fund and the Responsible Fishing Association.
Eraring Energy has compiled a Fact Sheet on Marine Turtles and is available by clicking here.