Barrow Island is an A class reserve3 with populations of 17 native animal species, seven of which are endangered. These species are threatened on the mainland by predation from foxes, feral cats and black rats. Mice might also compete for limited food resources. Rats were introduced to Barrow Island by pearlers in the 19th Century but these were eradicated in the 1990s. The Gorgon Joint Venture has adopted protocols to prevent unnecessary disturbance of native animals, removal of populations prior to land clearing and quarantine measure to prevent the introduction of non-native animals. Where accidental breaches occur vigorous measures are taken to prevent the establishment of pest populations on the island.
In order to limit the impacts on the conservation values of Barrow Island the Gorgon Project is only permitted to disturb 300Ha of uncleared land or less than 3 percent of the total island land mass. This requires innovative approaches to limit surface disturbance. For example the CO2 Baseline 3D seismic survey used helicopters to transport drilling rigs and other equipment so as to avoid clearing access tracks. This resulted in the surface disturbance of 10 percent of what would have been the case without these constraints.
The Lesueur project does not appear to pose any threats to native fauna or flora, but the pipeline route is being mapped as a precautionary measure. However, economic and social considerations such as dairy farming routines and farming infrastructure become critical to the project.
The Gorgon Project includes on-going monitoring including near surface CO2 monitoring, observations wells and repeated seismic investigations to plot the CO2 plume and to confirm or modify the modelling.
The Lesueur project has not yet reached that stage of development but it will necessarily include extensive monitoring procedures, providing baseline data prior to the commencement of injection and verification that the CO2 is remaining in place after the project gets under way.
3An A Class Reserve is the most highly protected class of crown land in Australia. They are created under an Act of Parliament for a specific purpose usually related to conservation.
Orange Orchard, Harvey