A guide to laying out an Environmental Impact Assessment.

An Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) would typically be laid out in the following way and needs to include the following information.

1. Title

This needs to include the species and site the assessment relates to, the author, date of report and address for service.

2. Proposal

Includes information on:

  • the name and source of the species to be transferred or released
  • the number of individuals or stocking rate proposed
  • how the transfer and release would occur
  • the purpose for the transfer and release.

3. Site description and characteristics

Characteristics of proposed release site and wider catchment, including:

  • location of the site (include grid reference and a map and possibly photos)
  • name of catchment the site is located in
  • is it a protected area or close to a protected area
  • type of ecosystem the species is to be transferred/released to, eg stream, pond, lake, wetland
  • information on whether the waterbody is natural or artificial and if artificial the purpose for which it was created
  • information on the natural/conservation values at the release location and within the wider catchment, eg species present in the receiving environment
  • any other water bodies in the catchment area and their proximity to release site(s), particularly areas that the species may have access to if they were to escape
  • description of the physical characteristics of the site and the wider catchment – including information on physico-chemical features (eg temperature, oxygen levels, salinity), water source, flow variability, inlets and outlets, frequency of flooding, access to site, uses of the water body, and whether it is a natural or artificial water body.

4. Ecological/biological values of proposed site

Information on the plants and animals (eg fish, birds and invertebrates) found at the site, including:

  • whether the species are native
  • their conservation significance, eg rare species present, important whitebait spawning area, unusual community types
  • their abundance at the site
  • use patterns for the site, eg whitebait spawning area
  • the values the site might have for species not currently present but who use the site at different times of the year.

5. Effects of the proposed release

  • Description of the potential direct and indirect effects (positive, adverse and cumulative) that the transfer and release may have on the waterbody itself and the species inhabiting it.
  • Description of the potential effects (positive, adverse and cumulative) that the transfer and release may have, if the species escape upstream and/or downstream and if they are moved to another location.
  • If the site is a reserve – what effect, if any, will the release have on the values of the reserve.
  • A summary of the ecology of the species being transferred and released, eg
    • What their natural habitat is.
    • Their breeding requirements and life cycles.
    • Food preferences of animal species (range of foods they can eat as well as the target species and their effectiveness at removing target species).
      Habitat preferences, eg fast, still, sluggish water, open or weeded areas, water temperature maximum and minimum as well as lethal and preferred temperatures and oxygen levels.
    • Impacts on other plants and animals and the environment generally (eg waterfowl, native fish) – including an assessment of the significance of these effects.
    • Impact on natural character of area.
    • Effects on the catchment, eg what could happen if they escaped – could they breed, potential of damage/impact to other species.
    • An assessment of any risks of escape.
  • The purpose/reason for the transfer and release – including information about alternatives that have been tried/evaluated if the transfer/release is for the purpose of biological control.
  • An evaluation of the effects on cultural values, eg mahinga kai, taonga species.
  • Description of how the transfer and release would take place (if approved) – including information about the likelihood of transferring pests, diseases, parasites, or other associated organisms.

6. Reserves Act or National Parks Act (if relevant)

Description of any effects of the proposed release on the reserve’s values taking into account the purposes(s) of the reserve (for release sites that are vested in the Crown and subject to the Reserves Act and where the species is a biological control organism).

This will assist the decision maker to determine whether issuing an authority would be consistent with the matters in Section 51A(3) of the Reserves Act 1977 or Section 5A of the National Parks Act 1980.

7. Management of effects (includes monitoring)

Description of  the way in which adverse effects are to be managed and minimised to ensure that they achieve their purpose, do not adversely affect native species and that the risk of escape is minimised. 

This is a summary of the key points that will need to be covered in detail in the draft Operational plan, including:

  • the potential for the live aquatic life to escape
  • the measures that will be taken to prevent the live aquatic life from escaping
  • the procedures to be implemented if live aquatic life have escaped, eg notification of authorities such as DOC
  • what stocking rates are intended and how the numbers of the live aquatic life will be managed
  • information about monitoring that will be undertaken to monitor the effects of the transfer and release if it is approved – including details of proposed methods, frequency etc
  • maps, drawings or diagrams of proposed security measure to prevent the live aquatic life from escaping, (if applicable, eg for grass and silver carp) and how the containment structures will be monitored.

8. References

References to all material that has been used in the preparation of the EIA. 

Back to top