Planning and Assessments
By planning and assessments, we mean the wide range of formalised processes and documentation required to respond to environmental regulation. These encompass a variety of documents from impact assessments, to habitat maps, sediment contaminant reports and environmental management plans.
Many of these plans have formats mandated under legislation. MScience has been through the process of meeting these format requirements many times while balancing the needs of development proponents.
Environmental Impact Assessments: normally our role is to provide marine components or specialist inputs in wider assessments. We have done this for major approvals in the Pilbara and Kimberley Regions and for smaller approvals in the coral reef areas of Ningaloo and the Abrolhos Islands.
Marine Management Plans: we like to produce concise functional documents which meet plan objectives with clear testable outcomes. We have produced many MMPs (and their associated monitoring plans) for both multi-user areas and isolated areas where the management role rests with the developer alone.
Dredging and Spoil Disposal Management Plans: these are often highly formulaic and we try to keep text to a minimum while capturing key management triggers and actions. We have considerable experience in developing these plans and their related monitoring designs to meet outcome-based conditions for many recent Pilbara projects.
We try as far as possible to integrate plans with our understanding of how the impacted ecosystem works and the management tools available to the plan owner. Like the National Water Quality Management Strategy, we base our plans on a values-objectives-criteria chain. This helps to link the broad goals and specific objectives of a plan with testable criteria. Our experiences suggest that such a structure produces the ‘no surprises’ outcome sought by government and proponents.