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Port Augusta Restoration

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The retired coal-fired power station at Port Augusta has provided a particularly complicated 320 Ha restoration  site.  This is a world first recovery program on an ash pit, using a soil cap and vegetation to establish a stable, self sustaining and resilient system on the edge of the regional city of Port Augusta.  A high risk of dust pollution is associated with the site and its ash as well as the fine particulate soil used for the cap.

The site comprised:

  • 273 Ha Ash Storage Area (ASA)

  • 15 Ha Coal Stockpile (CS)

  • 30 Ha Borrow Pit (BP)

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A 15 cm soil cap was spread across the ASA and CS and a ground-up revegetation approach was applied, focussing on native coloniser species (including to the BP with no cap).  Over 6,000 kg of native seed was spread onsite from June 2017 to October 2018.  Despite poor rainfall in 2017, 2018 and 2019, more than 4 million plants have been established. These plants produce masses of seeds such that the site continues to recover without ongoing intervention.  During one survey month over $70,000 worth of new seed was produced by just three native colonising species, for example.

Succession Ecology has worked closely with site managers and the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) and Native Vegetation Council (NVC) to facilitate the recovery of the site and its compliance with regulatory requirements. 

Our services for this project include:

  • Seed ‒ collection, cleaning and supply

  • Seeding ‒ direct seeding of all areas

  • Seedbanks ‒ seed viability and seedbank assessments

  • Plant growth ‒ root growth and survivability assessments

  • Trials ‒ soil roughening, barley and rye, watering, surface polymers (dust suppressants)

  • Dust management ‒ surveys, interventions and reporting

  • Vegetation ‒ NVC Clearance assessment, monitoring, benchmark surveys and reporting

  • Risk Assessments and Options Assessments

  • Weeds ‒ weed surveys, risk assessments and controls, including Buffel Grass Control Program

  • Monitoring ‒ design and establish monitoring program, detailed surveys and reporting

  • Community ‒ liaison and engagement, media

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