Green and gold frog mitigation, Midland Highway
In 2014, the Department of State Growth proposed upgrades to the Midland Highway within the range of the green and gold frog (Litoria raniformis), which is listed as vulnerable under the Tasmanian Threatened Species Protection Act 1995 and the Environment Protection & Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. As a result, environmental investigations commissioned for the project confirmed the presence of green and gold frog at various locations in the local area, and identified numerous areas of potential breeding habitat and potential dispersal pathways. To limit the likelihood that the project might have a significant impact on the species, an impact assessment was undertaken and a mitigation strategy proposed that involved the construction of purposely designed culverts which pass under the road, and the creation of new frog-friendly habitat ponds (including aquatic and sub-aquatic plants, rocks, and logs). Construction of the mitigation ponds was completed at the end of 2018 and North Barker Ecosystem Services have been engaged to assess their effectiveness. To achieve this we aim to undertake a comprehensive detection survey of the mitigation waterbodies and the culverts, as well as a subset of surrounding habitats; this will involve a combination of bioacoustic recording, environmental DNA (eDNA) analysis (including a Tasmanian first involving the compilation of a targetted eDNA marker for the species), and physical detection methods (visual and aural detections, call playbacks, infra-red cameras, and dip netting for tadpoles).