Astron was commissioned to undertake a preliminary biological survey over a massive 157,865 ha exploration area in the Canning Superbasin; a region that offers unique challenges due to a lack of variation in environmental factors including landform, pre-European vegetation, geology, topography and elevation. Therefore, predicting habitats for species of conservation significance is problematic.
Astron utilised remotely-sensed spectral information of vegetation to stratify the survey area into discrete areas that may be related to differences in vegetation community. The survey area was then sampled according to a robust sampling design. The vegetation was assigned into four broad floristic associations with seven sub associations, all of which are well represented both locally and regionally within the Dampierland botanical region. Relevé sites were classified into groups based on floristic composition. Habitat for the conservation-listed Greater Bilby was also classified.
The survey report forms the basis of Risk Assessment information and an Environment Plan to the Department of Mines and Petroleum for exploration activities. Execution of a well-planned and robust survey based on a statistically rigorous sampling design benefits our client by minimising costs compared to a ‘traditional’ approach, which is less robust and more field intensive.