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Mernda Rail Project factsheet: Vegetation Management

19 Mar 2018

Vegetation management

The Mernda Rail Extension Project follows the old Whittlesea rail corridor which was closed in 1959 and reclaimed by vegetation and wildlife.

Reducing vegetation impact through design innovation

Through the design process, we’ve worked hard to protect as many trees as possible around the rail corridor.

Each tree in the project area was individually numbered and profiled to help our teams understand the extent of potential impact on trees along the corridor.

By making a series of small but significant changes to the rail design, we have been able to save almost a third of the trees previously identified for removal.

Some of these design changes included modifications to station carparks to incorporate trees into the station landscaping and relocation of underground utility services routes to avoid impact to trees.

To minimise environmental risks and impact to vegetation during the construction process, an Environmental Management Strategy (EMS) approved by the Minister for Planning is in place.

All trees confirmed for retention are clearly marked and where required, separated from construction activities with Tree Protection Zones.

Environmental No Go Zones have also been used in various locations along the corridor to protect vegetation, wildlife habitats, heritage sites, and waterways from the impacts of construction.

Protecting endangered local flora

The Matted Flax-lily and Grassy Eucalypt Woodland are both of national environmental significance and were identified within the project area. This required assessment and approval to disturb under the federal Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation ACT 1999.

The 120 Matted Flax-lilies found in the project area have been relocated to a specialist nursery where they have been divided into approximately 720 new plants. At the completion of the project, the lilies will be returned in greater numbers to two conservation sites at Quarry Hills and Plenty Gorge parks.

A green outlook

For every tree we remove, two will be planted within the project area and local community. We aim to plant over 2,500 trees in addition to the 120,000 plants and shrubs included in the project’s landscaping strategy.

Trees removed from the corridor will be re-used within the project area and local community.

Most of the large trees removed will be reused in the station cladding, furniture and signage, and in and around new public spaces.

We have also:

  • relocated large logs to Plenty Gorge and Quarry Hills parklands for habitat rehabilitation projects by the City of Whittlesea and Parks Victoria
  • donated 25 tonnes of timber to local schools, the Whittlesea Men’s Shed and the Mernda CFA for woodworking projects and fundraisers
  • distributed mulch to local schools, City of Whittlesea and Parks Victoria.

The project design has been carefully developed with stakeholders and the community to reduce the need for tree and vegetation removal. Throughout the design process, there has been ongoing reviews by urban designers, landscape architects, arborists, ecologists, our environmental, community relations and safety teams, and key stakeholders such as City of Whittlesea, VicRoads and Metro Trains Melbourne.

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