Before you refer an action to us, you might need to survey for plants, animals or habitats. It's best to follow survey methodology approved by the Australian Government.
We use the evidence from surveys to get a clearer picture of possible significant impacts.
When we assess your proposed project (action), we look at direct and indirect impacts on protected matters.
If your action is likely to affect a protected matter, you'll need to give us the information you've gathered about that matter.
Sometimes you may need to survey plants or animals, or their habitats, for your referral. You may also need to survey listed ecological communities.
It's our job to protect these species and ecological communities under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act).
Strong quantitative evidence from recent on-ground surveys gives us a clearer understanding of the impacts your project might have.
Giving us this data with your referral can avoid lengthy delays during our process.
Survey guidelines vary for different types of wildlife. They provide advice on how to survey these types of threatened species, and set our expectations for the survey.
Find specific guidelines for:
- orchids - see Draft survey guidelines for Australia's threatened orchids 2013
- bats - see Survey Guidelines for Australia's threatened bats 2010
- birds - see Survey Guidelines for Australia's threatened birds 2010
- frogs - see Survey Guidelines for Australia's threatened frogs 2010
- fish - see Survey guidelines for Australia's threatened fish 2011
- mammals - see Survey guidelines for Australia's threatened mammals 2011
- reptiles - see Survey guidelines for Australia's threatened reptiles 2011.
For these threatened species, you must use a survey methodology that's consistent with the relevant guidelines.
Read each of these guidelines together with the significant impact guidelines.
Species Profile and Threats Database
For more information on individual species or threatened ecological communities, use the Species Profile and Threats Database (SPRAT).
This database provides a profile for each listed species and ecological community. It links to relevant conservation advice and recovery plans which provide information on:
- what the species looks like
- its population and distribution
- its habitat, movements, feeding, reproduction and taxonomy.
When to survey
Some surveys can take more than a year to complete if you need to wait for the right season. So plan field surveys and all your data needs well before you submit a referral.
We generally can't accept survey data that's more than 5 years old because:
- populations of species can change due to fires, drought, flooding and land management changes
- some species' ranges can shift due to climate change.
If your data is older than 4 years when you start planning your project, you might need to do another survey.
Self-assessments and surveys
A good way to check whether you need to do a survey is to complete a self-assessment.
This will help you to identify whether your proposed action might have impacts on protected matters.
If so, you need to refer it to us for assessment. You might also need to do a survey.
Contact us if you need more advice once you've done your self-assessment. Book a pre-referral meeting if you need to refer your project or are unsure.
We'll explain how to prepare your information, including field surveys.
Getting the right help at the start will save you time.
Get in touch
Contact our Referrals Gateway team:
- Email: email@example.com
- Phone: 1800 423 135 between 9 am and 5 pm Canberra time.