The project is located within an agricultural district, with the majority of the site being used largely for grazing and cropping. Extensive surveys and assessments have been undertaken to assess the potential impact of the wind farm and related infrastructure on the environment.
The siting and design of the project has been informed by these assessments to avoid or reduce impact, whilst ground disturbance of the project will be further optimised for minimal impact pending final major procurement decisions, detailed civil and electrical design and timing of project construction.
Additionally, the project will need to comply with development approval conditions including the preparation and implementation of Environmental Management Plans, Native Vegetation Offset Management Plans, Bat and Avifauna Management Plan, Conservation Management Plans etc.
The closest townships to the wind farm are Beaufort (approximately 4.5 km north of the site) and Skipton (approximately 4 km south of the site).
The primary use of the wind farm site is agriculture with the majority cultivated for grazing and cropping. The site has a long history of agricultural use and accordingly is highly modified with little remnant vegetation remaining on the site.
Several small wetlands (freshwater meadows and shallow freshwater marshes) are scattered within and surrounding the site, in addition to minor drainage lines and creeks which traverse the site, mostly in the west and north. Some areas of pasture also become seasonally inundated or waterlogged. The shallow wetlands are ephemeral and do not hold water every year. Wetlands close to the wind farm boundary or occurring within the site include Lake Goldsmith and Black Lake.
The local geology of the site (and the surrounding area) is quaternary basalt derived from ancient eruption points, such as Stockyard Hill, which is an extinct volcano. Its crater currently holds Black Lake which is an ephemeral semi-saline water body.
The surrounding area includes a number of State parks, namely Langi Ghiran State Park which is located approximately 10 km north-west of the nearest site boundary, and Mount Buangor State Park located approximately 8 km north-west of the nearest site boundary. The landscape also contains Monmot Hill, a volcanic cone and Mount Emu, which is a granite hill.
The site is located within the bounds of the wind farm and is accessed from Stockyard Hill-Wangatta Road, Stockyard Hill. The site is currently used for grazing (cattle and sheep) and is predominately made up of pasture with isolated trees, windbreaks and an agricultural windmill.
The site is generally comprised of gently undulating farmland and drains generally toward the north-west where a small dam exists at the corner of the property. The landscape is characterised by an undulating plain consisting of grassy flats and associated stony rises dominated by protruding basalt rock formations. No water courses traverse the site.
External Overhead Powerlines
The proposed external overhead powerlines are proposed to extend approximately 75 km (in total length) between the wind farm and the terminal station (south of Lismore). The closest regional towns to external overhead powerlines are Lismore and Skipton.
The alignment primarily traverses private properties, with the main land use being agriculture, including cropping and livestock. Dwellings in the surrounding area are associated with farming or rural living lots.
Rows of planted trees are a common feature of the locality, with a number of creek watercourses traversing the landscape. Protected vegetation is generally limited to road reserves with some areas of private land hosting vegetation and potential habitat for protected fauna.
The topography of the route is gently undulating with creek valley systems dissecting the area, draining generally southwards. The alignment runs along some creek lines and water courses including Mount Emu Creek and Mundy Gully, and will traverse the following:
- Mount Emu Creek
- Mundy Gully
- Browns Waterholes
- Haunted Gully
- Oddie Swamp
- 18 unnamed waterways and 3 unnamed waterbodies
The terminal station is located at the intersection of Lower Darlington Road and Smiths Road, approximately 5 km to the south of Lismore. The site has a total area of approximately 158 ha, however the development is limited to the southern part of the site.
The site has been used for a wheat crop and is intermittently grazed by sheep following harvesting of crops. The area surrounding the subject site surrounding area is primarily used for agricultural purposes, cleared for grazing and cropping.
A short row of Sugar Gum trees has been planted along the northern property boundary. Haunted Gully is located to the north-east of the site within 100 m of the property boundary, Brown’s Waterholes is located approximately 2 km to the east, while Salt Creek is to the south of the site. Additionally, Lake Gnarpurt (a Ramsar Wetland) approximately 5 km to the south east and Lake Tooliorook 4 km to the west of the site.
Two artificial dams are located on the subject site, one along the eastern boundary and the other close to the western boundary. The dam to the east is devoid of native vegetation, and the dam to the west supports a very small modified patch of native vegetation.