Big finds made at wind farm
THE Mount Emerald Wind Farm is helping to protect the environment, plants and cultural heritage present on the 2400 hectare site.
Since the project started, there have been a number of finds on the property including indigenous artefacts, endangered plants and unexploded ordance (UXO).
Mount Emerald Wind Farm community engagement facilitator Kim Forde said that during WWII a section of the wind farm, near Kippen Drive, was used as a military bombing range.
For nearly a year Milsearch teams have been working through the area to identify and remove unexploded UXO.
Milsearch is an organisation with extensive experience in safely removing and detonating UXOs.
Since their search has started about eight pieces of UXO have been found and detonated by the Department of Defence.
There have also been about 400 fragmented pieces of old mortars that were discovered and believed to have been detonated back when the site was used as a bomb range.
Mrs Forde said the Cultural Heritage Team from Mbarbarrum indigenous community, who are the traditional owners of the land, are protecting the historical artefacts found on the site.
“They are helping to identify anything of indigenous cultural significance,” she said.
“What they are looking for are special sites, rock paintings and evidence of spear making or camps.
“What they have found so far are fragments of spear heads.
“All of those have been flagged, GPS located, bagged and safely removed from the site to protect the items while construction is occurring.”
She said once construction is finished Mbarbarrum elders will decide whether the items will be returned to the site or if they will be placed in a museum.
The last group that goes through the area before workers disturb it is called the 4 Elements. Their team is headed by 4 Elements principal scientist Mellissa Jess and a team of botanists and biologists who identify and transplant if necessary any rare plants.
They are also responsible for trapping, tracking and relocating quolls who may be in the path of construction teams.
“We predicted that there were 50 quolls living on the site and we have found 95,” Ms Forde said.
“4 Elements have also been collecting seeds and plants and looking after them on an onsite nursery that these plants will be used to revegetate sites and road ways once each tower site is complete.”
The Mount Emerald Wind Farm project is expected to be completed by October 2018 which will be the same time that the community benefit fund will start.
Pictured is an unexploded mortar that was found on the Mount Emerald Wind Farm site.