Kosciuszko National Park
Exploratory Works is predominantly within a small section of the northern region of KNP and the design and planning for Exploratory Works has acknowledged the need to minimise the impact on the values of KNP.
The management of KNP is guided by a range of legislation, strategies and international agreements. These are reflected in the Plan of Management (PoM) for KNP. NPWS has been, and will continue to be, engaged in all aspects of the development of Exploratory Works. This will build on Snowy Hydro’s existing environmental management of assets already well established within KNP (originally since 1949, and under the current regulatory regime since 2002).
Exploratory Works is predominantly in the Ravine region of KNP, which is relatively isolated at the north-western extremity of KNP and generally used for low-key recreational pursuits. The PoM classifies the project area as a back country zone. The more popular visitor areas, including the main skiing and resort areas, are to the south. The Ravine area is not within the Jagungal Wilderness Area and is not noted as an area of exceptional significance under the PoM. However, the Ravine area includes other important landscapes. A number of studies have been completed as part of this EIS to understand and assess potential impacts on the natural and cultural values of the KNP, including biodiversity, heritage, land, water and recreation.
Exploratory Works have been designed in a way that avoids and minimises impacts to KNP where possible. This has included the planning of road access and construction areas to avoid impacting the heritage listed Washington Hotel ruins at Lobs Hole, and Smoky Mouse habitat along Upper Lobs Hole Ravine Road. It also includes designing road upgrades to minimise impacts to geodiversity features including a block stream and a fossil outcrop along Lower Lobs Hole Ravine Road. The former copper mine at Lobs Hole is also considered a geoheritage site, however it is also a source of known contamination and has therefore been avoided as much as possible to prevent disturbance.
The amenity values of KNP will be impacted by project activities such as vegetation clearing, construction, earthworks and access restrictions, but these are temporary impacts and will be rehabilitated at the completion of construction works, in consultation with NPWS. The visibility of these impacts is limited due to the remoteness of the site and distance from sensitive receivers. There are separate sections of this EIS that describe in more detail the relevant KNP values such as biodiversity, geodiversity, cultural heritage, and recreational users.
Where there are some impacts that can’t be avoided, Snowy Hydro will work with NPWS to ensure that offsets and contributions can be made to improving recreational facilities at some sites, and improving habitat and catchment health in other parts of KNP.