Flora and Fauna Reports versus Biodiversity Development Assessment Reports Explained

Here we provide a brief explanation of the differences between a standard Flora and Fauna Report and the Biodiversity Development Assessment Report (BDAR).  We hope this assists with an understanding of these reports which councils often request to support development applications.

Development applications, (even in some resident areas) often require a Flora and Fauna Report.  These are often called an Ecological Assessment and 5-Part Tests of Significance.  These are often requested by council if native vegetation will be impacted or has the potential to be impacted.  As part of the assessment process council officers are trying to determine ecological impacts and how to limit them as part of the DA Assessment process.

A Standard Flora and Fauna Assessment Report (or Ecological Assessment Report) including the required Five Part Tests of Significance can be undertaken if the Biodiversity Assessment Method (BAM) is not triggered. A Flora and Fauna Report is a smaller report generally when compared to a BDAR Report.

If the BAM is however triggered then a Biodiversity Development Assessment Report (BDAR) will be required.  These are undertaken in accordance with the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 and the Biodiversity Assessment Method or BAM.  A BDAR Report is a very comprehensive report and must be undertaken in accordance with the BAM and other relevant guidelines and includes what is called the BAM Calculator. The BAM Calculator is where the field data is entered and forms a large part of the BDAR Assessment.  This is entered by the Certified BAM assessor through the government online portal.  Once the field data is entered the BAM Calculator populates a wide range of listed Ecological Vegetation Communities, Populations and Species which could occur based on known or potential habitat and database records. The BAM calculator determines any offsetting required and the number of Biodiversity Credits required for the level of impacts and clearing. Once finalised the BAM Calculator forms part of the BDAR Report indicating the type, class and number of credits required to be retired to offset the Ecological Impacts of the proposal.

Addressing the species populated in the BAM Calculator which have to be considered can require surveys at various times of the year as specified in the BAM survey requirements.  If the surveys do not detect the species then offsetting is not required for that species thus reducing the offset cost.  Due to the time it can often take to undertake these surveys some clients choose to “assume presence” of the species and pay the required offset cost.  This can be quite expensive for some species and it is generally a cost-benefit exercise based on timing and cost factors.  It is important to note however that the offset cost in relation to the Biodiversity Credit retirement is not required until development consent is granted and before the vegetation or habitat is able to be removed.

Please give Anderson Environmental a call with your project.  We have experience since 1992 and are registered BAM Assessors and Certified Practicing Ecologists.