RFI: artificial watering points & impacts on birds

To: <>,<>
Subject: RFI: artificial watering points & impacts on birds
From: Frank O'Connor <>
Date: Fri, 20 Dec 2013 12:09:21 +0800

An interesting topic. The following may be slightly off topic to what you are seeking.

I worked at the Argyle Diamond Mine in the far north east of WA for 13 years (1988 to 2001). I learnt that their rehabilitation plan at the end of mine life had to include the closing off of any water points that had been created. e.g. tailings dam, siltation ponds, etc. The tailings dams are because of the potential for 'quicksand' type mud trapping native animals, but I am sure there are ways they could be stabilised without having to be completely covered in broken rock. There are no chemicals in the tailings (other than a little ferrosilicon not reclaimed by magnets which has no adverse problems). I can't see why the siltation ponds would need to be demolished.

In the time that I worked at the mine, I increased the bird list from 115 recorded in the environmental assessment surveys to 210. A lot of the increase were waterbirds attracted to the tailings dams and siltation ponds. Many of these bred such as swans, swamphens, reed-warblers, Crimson Finch, Star Finch, ducks, Little Bittern, crakes, etc.

The irony is that the mine site is 30km from Lake Argyle, which is a man made waterbody.

I am hoping that the water sources will not need to be eliminated when the mine finally closes. They are excellent sites for birds.

Frank O'Connor           Birding WA
Phone : (08) 9386 5694 Email :
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