Biodiversity on Airport
ADG recognises the importance and benefit of preserving native vegetation for biodiversity conservation and amenity of all ADG airport communities.
Darwin International Airport has two identified conservation areas. One is the Rapid Creek Buffer Zone, a 9.77 hectare site which provides a 75 meter buffer encompassing Rapid Creek and the surrounding Marrara Wetland. The other is a 15 hectare Conservation Reserve which is home to a range of native species and has a variety of habitat types. Both reserves at DIA form part of the overall concept of incorporating buffers in all future development plans.
Rapid Creek is the only sizable fresh water stream system within the Darwin city limit and therefore has environmental, social and recreational significance to the local community. As such, DIA has taken great care to not only preserve but enhance the Rapid Creek Buffer Zone on Airport. In late 2011 a community brochure was completed on the Gurambai Walking Trail the airport established within this Zone, providing reference to the location of the trail to Rapid Creek and the Marrara Wetland. Along the trail, interpretive signage was also installed to educate walkers about the flora and fauna, the habitats of the area and the history of the site. In December 2011 an additional 800 Eucalypt seedlings were planted in the Rapid Creek buffer zone.
The Conservation Reserve stems from two environmental initiatives undertaken by DIA:
- The preservation and promotion of the Territory's native flora and fauna; and
- Offset of greenhouse gas emissions created by the DIA business though biosequestration
The reserve's main body of vegetation remains protected 'airside' and is not publicly accessible, but extends landside into the riparian zone of Rapid Creek where it is open to the public. The reserve provides a strong biological link between the upper catchment area of Rapid Creek and the creek corridor. In 2011/12 DIA continued to maintain the Reserve with weed management and further rubbish removal and in January 2012 NTA Environment Manager, Jill Holdsworth, presented at the 2012 Caring for Country Seminar in Darwin using the Conservation Reserve as a case study on conservation reserves within an urban environment.
In addition to these conservation areas, DIA also planted a native garden near the passenger terminal, the Matboerrma Gardens, in 2002. During the week of World Environment Day in June 2012, DIA Ground Staff continued the tradition of their involvement with the garden with enhanced planting of 184 native plants recommended by NT Landesign and supplied by Greening Australia.
ASA has a unique ecosystem on the vast airport landholding. Management activity of this area during 2011/12 included the mapping and management of weeds, in particular the Mexican Poppy, ongoing inspection of the Coolabah patches including monitoring of the Buffel Grass cover, species diversity and habitat condition. Buffel Grass requires special management due to the threat it poses to the vegetation community in terms of wildfire intensity.
Due to the increased risk of wild fires as a result of the increased vegetation from rains in 2010, the Airport staff undertook Bush Fire Training and then, with the support and leadership of the NT Bushfires Volunteers, Controlled burns were conducted on airport to reduce the risk and also increase accessibility for fire vehicles.