Since the initial concession application for the Fiordland monorail was submitted to DOC, Riverstone has embarked on an extensive consultation process with interested groups. Feedback from a wide range of parties during this process has informed decisions made regarding various aspects of the project, including mitigation opportunities.
Riverstone engaged a wide range of independent experts who have thoroughly investigated the effects arising from the proposed monorail development, and developed appropriate avoidance and mitigation responses.
The mitigation of adverse effects arising from the loss of vegetation and habitat will involve:
- Minimising the project footprint
- Rehabilitating areas as quickly as possible after completion
- Minimising the potential for weeds to invade the route line and construction track and their margins, and monitoring and eradicating weeds if they establish in these areas
- Minimising the potential for predators to increase their use of this area, monitoring and controlling such pest species so that at least they are no more numerous than in the surrounding forest
- Monitoring to ensure that environmental outcomes are being achieved
- Designing the route to avoid significant ecological habitats or areas wherever possible
The primary goal of the project has been to avoid adverse environmental effects where it is practical to do so. This premise has influenced decisions about the location of the route, and will continue to do so. For example, the route has been amended to avoid the Dunton Swamp due to the values this area holds.
Throughout the detailed design phase, and once construction has commenced, large trees will be avoided where ever practical and according to a protocol agreed with DOC.
Plans and protocols
The most appropriate method of managing effects during construction and operation of the Fiordland monorail is through a series of adaptive management plans and protocols. These have been and will be developed in consultation with DOC and closely managed through every stage of the process.
Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu will be provided with an opportunity to review and comment on the management plans as they are developed, to ensure that their values are protected and any risks minimised. Removal of mature trees will be avoided where possible and where this is not possible Ngā Rūnanga may be given the opportunity for customary use of those resources in consultation with DOC. A Koiwi and taonga accidental discovery protocol has been developed in association with Ngā Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu and will be used throughout the construction and operation of the Fiordland monorail.