Pro­posed wind farm threat to rare frog

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - DANIEL BATE­MAN

A RARE species of frog only found near Queens­land’s high­est town could be wiped out by a mul­ti­mil­lion- dol­lar wind farm project.

The Fed­eral Govern­ment is cur­rently as­sess­ing French com­pany Neoen’s “Green Power Hub” project, pro­posed at Ka­ban, about 6km north­east of Raven­shoe.

The $ 300 mil­lion project – which has state devel­op­ment ap­proval – will in­clude 29 wind tur­bines, a sub­sta­tion, and a bat­tery stor­age unit, which is to be one of the largest grid­scale bat­ter­ies in the world.

Doc­u­ments lodged with the Depart­ment of En­vi­ron­ment and En­ergy, how­ever, show the site cho­sen for the project could have “sig­nif­i­cant im­pact” on the threat­ened mag­nif­i­cent brood frog.

The frog is only found in a small area near Raven­shoe, with all records of the species found above 800m alti­tude.

Con­sul­tants Aecom, which car­ried out an en­vi­ron­men­tal sur­vey of the planned wind farm, stated the project could lead to a long- term de­crease in the size of the mag­nif­i­cent brood frog pop­u­la­tion, and ad­versely af­fect habi­tat crit­i­cal to sur­vival of the species.

“The species is highly en­demic and is only known to oc­cur at 22 dis­crete sites with 36 pop­u­la­tions over an area 27km by 9km,” the re­port’s au­thors wrote.

“The loss of habi­tat and po­ten­tial sed­i­men­ta­tion of seeps and drainage lines may lead to a long- term de­crease in the size of this pop­u­la­tion.”

Three other threat­ened species were also found at the site, in­clud­ing the greater glider, the ghost bat, and the spec­ta­cled fly­ing fox.

Mag­nif­i­cent brood frog.

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