7                    TERRESTRIAL ECOLOGy

7.1              Introduction

7.1.1        This Section of the report presents the results of the assessment of potential impacts from the construction and operation of the NLDFS and CKWLR on terrestrial and freshwater (aquatic) ecological resources in the Study Area. Field surveys covering a period of 12 months were undertaken to establish the baseline ecological conditions of the Study Area.  Measures required to mitigate identified impacts are recommended, as appropriate.  Supplementary terrestrial ecological information is provided in Annex E.

7.2              Statutory Requirements and Evaluation Criteria

7.2.1        A number of international and local regulations, legislation and guidelines provide the framework for the protection of species and habitats of ecological importance and those related to the Project are:

·                     Country Parks Ordinance (Cap 208);

·                     Forests and Countryside Ordinance (Cap 96);

·                     Wild Animals Protection Ordinance (Cap 170);

·                     Town Planning Ordinance (Cap 131);

·                     Hong Kong Planning Standards and Guidelines Chapter 10 (HKPSG);

·                     Technical Memorandum for the Environmental Impact Assessment Ordinance (EIAO TM); and

·                     United Nations Convention on Biodiversity (1992).

 

7.2.2        The Country Parks Ordinance (Cap. 208) provides for the designation and management of country parks and special areas.  Country parks are designated for the purpose of nature conservation, countryside recreation and outdoor education.  Special Areas are created mainly for the purpose of nature conservation.

7.2.3        The Forests and Countryside Ordinance prohibits felling, cutting, burning or destroying of trees and growing plants in forests and plantations on Government land.  Related subsidiary Regulations prohibit the selling or possession of listed rare and protected plant species.  The list of protected species in Hong Kong which comes under the Forestry Regulations was last amended on 11 June 1993 under the Forestry (Amendment) Regulation 1993 made under Section 3 of the Forests and Countryside Ordinance.

7.2.4        Under the Wild Animals Protection Ordinance, designated wild animals are protected from being hunted, whilst their nests and eggs are protected from injury, destruction and removal.  All birds and most mammals are protected under this Ordinance.  The Second Schedule of the Ordinance which lists all the animals protected was last revised in June 1992.

7.2.5        The amended Town Planning Ordinance provides for the designation of coastal protection areas, Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs), Conservation Area, Country Park, Green Belt or other specified uses that promote conservation or protection of the environment.  The authority responsible for administering the Town Planning Ordinance is the Town Planning Board.

7.2.6        Chapter 10 of the HKPSG covers planning considerations relevant to conservation.  This chapter details the principles of conservation, the conservation of natural landscape and habitats, historic buildings, archaeological sites and other antiquities.  It also addresses the issue of enforcement.  The appendices list the legislation and administrative controls for conservation, other conservation related measures in Hong Kong and government departments involved in conservation.

7.2.7        Annex 16 of the EIAO TM sets out the general approach and methodology for assessment of ecological impacts arising from a project or proposal, to allow a complete and objective identification, prediction and evaluation of the potential ecological impacts.  Annex 8 recommends the criteria that can be used for evaluating habitat and ecological impact.

7.2.8        The Peoples' Republic of China (PRC) are one of the Contracting Parties to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity  of 1992.  The Convention requires signatories to make active efforts to protect and manage their biodiversity resources.  Hong Kong Government has stated that it will be 'committed to meeting the environmental objectives' of the Convention (PELB 1996).

7.3              Assessment Methodology

7.3.1        A literature review of the terrestrial ecological condition within the Study Area, which includes the lands, the foreshore areas and other places designed for the purpose of Northshore Lantau Development Feasibility Assignment, and relevant reports was conducted including the Route 10 - North Lantau to Yuen Long Highway Investigation and Preliminary Design: Southern Section EIA (1999), Lantau Port Development - Stage 1 Container Terminals 10 and 11, Preliminary Design Study (1995) and The Conservation Strategy for Lantau (1998).  Consultations with local ecologists was also undertaken, where appropriate.  Habitat and ecological communities within the Study Area has been mapped with reference to the Vegetation Map prepared by World Wide Fund for Nature Hong Kong (1994).

7.3.2        Broad scoping field surveys were then undertaken to supplement and field check the data collected through the baseline/literature review process.  Areas of ecological interest that would be directly or indirectly affected by the proposed Development were then surveyed in more details.

7.3.3        All the field data was collected between January 1999 and December 1999, covering the wet and dry seasons (See Annex E-1 survey schedule).  The ecological surveys covered habitat/vegetation, stream fauna, avifauna, mammals, herpetofauna and invertebrates, and the methodologies used are presented below.

7.3.4        The potential ecological impacts due to the development of the Study Area were assessed following EIAO TM Annex 16 guidelines and the impacts evaluated based on the criteria in EIAO TM Annex 8.


Habitat/Vegetation

7.3.5        Each representative habitat type was surveyed on foot.  All plant species encountered were identified and recorded to species level, whenever possible, and the relative abundance of the plant species was also recorded.  The dominant flora or fauna of each habitat/land-use type were also identified, with subsequent further habitat and vegetation verifications undertaken.

Stream Fauna

7.3.6        Physical conditions of the streams were recorded.  Stream fauna were investigated through direct observation and active searching. 

Avifauna

7.3.7        All bird species and numbers encountered in all major habitat types within the Study Area were recorded in the field.  Surveys were undertaken both in wet and dry season.

Wildlife (Mammals and Herpetofauna)

7.3.8        Signs or other evidences of mammal presence were noted in the field by active searching in potential mammal habitats. 

7.3.9        Sampling techniques involving direct observation and active searching for reptiles in potential shelter sites/hiding places and amphibian in potential habitats were employed.

Invertebrates (Butterfly, Dragonfly and Damselfly)

7.3.10    Butterfly, dragonfly and damselfly fauna were investigated by direct observation/ searching in all major habitat types within the Study Area.  Surveys were undertaken during the most active period of the invertebrates in the wet season.

Night Survey

7.3.11    A night survey was undertaken mainly focusing on nocturnal avifauna.  The presence of any large mammals was also noted

7.4              Existing Environment/Sensitive Receivers

Habitat/Vegetation

7.4.1        The north-eastern part of Lantau within the Study Area comprises predominantly grassland/shrubland mosaic habitat.  The other terrestrial habitat types within the Study Area include tall shrubland, secondary woodland, abandoned farmland, wetland, plantation, village/orchard, wasteland, freshwater stream as well as backshore vegetation. A habitat map showing locations of recorded flora and fauna of ecological interest are shown in Figure 7.4a-1 & 2. A description of the general ecological conditions of the identified habitats are given below.  Details of plant species recorded are presented in Annex E-2.

Secondary Woodland

7.4.2        The woodlands present are continuous with an average height of more than 6m.  The secondary woodland at Luk Keng Tsuen, Fa Peng, Tso Wan, Ngong Shuen Au and the headland between Pa Tau Kwu Pak Wan and Pa Tau Kwu Nam Wan are confined to the low-altitude area next to villages and ravines, Figure 7.4b-1 shows a typical secondary woodland.  There are also several patches of secondary woodland at Tung Yip Hang, Yam O and To Kau Wan.  The plant species diversity is considered moderate with a total of 57 species recorded.  Due to their proximity to villages and orchards, introduced tree species such as Dimocarpus longan and Leucaena leucocephala, as well as crop plants were also found.

7.4.3        Plant species recorded are typical of secondary woodlands in Hong Kong and dominant tree species recorded include common species Cratoxylum cochinchinense, Aporosa dioica, Litsea glutinosa, Mallotus paniculatus, Microcos paniculata and Schefflera octophylla.  Height of trees range from 6-12 m.  The dominant species and the structure of the woodlands suggested that the secondary woodlands have been regenerated recently by succession in the last 30-50 years. 

7.4.4        A rare Amorphophallus variabilis at Tso Wan and restricted Vitis balanceana at Kwai Shek and San Po Tsui, were found.  Vitis balanceana (see Figure 7.4b-1) is abundant at north shore of Lantau (Tai O, Tung Chung, Kwai Shek), Yuen Long and Castle Peak.

Tall Shrubland

7.4.5        Tall shrubland is a transitional stage in ecological succession between shrubland and woodland.  The tall shrubland recorded comprised woody vegetation with the average height ranged from 2-5 m (see Figure 7.4b-1).  They occur in scattered patches and a total of 93 plant species were recorded in the Study Area.  This habitat have much less grassy species and more woody species as well as climbers that characterize forest.  In the Study Area, such habitat was mostly found along streams and in valleys which were less affected by hill-fires. 

7.4.6        Such habitat is dominated by the shrub Cratoxylum cochinchinense, Litsea rotundifolia, Litsea glutinosa, Schefflera octophylla and Rhus succedanea.  Seven locally rare/ restricted species recorded in this habitat type include Rhapis excelsa, Eriocaulon merrilli, Schoenus falcatus, Vitis balanceana, Diplarcum caricinum, Alpinia galanga and Scleria lithosperma

7.4.7        Among these species, Schoenus falcatus (see Figure 7.4b-1) is considered the most important because it was for the first time recorded in Hong Kong under the present study, found only in the area with water flow and near rocky shore at Chok Ko Wan.  The species had neither been reported in the Biodiversity Survey (1998, in preparation) nor by J.  Shaw (1999).  This species was reported only from Kuizhou, Guangxi, Taiwan, Vietnam and Ryukyu Island and had not been reported in Guangdong up to Tang and Wang (1961).

7.4.8        On the whole this habitat has moderate species diversity and naturalness. 

Grassland/Shrubland Mosaic

7.4.9        The grassland/shrubland mosaic is the dominant habitat type within the Study Area, locating on hillslopes and ridges (Figure 7.4b-2 ).  The species composition of this habitat is mainly herbaceous or woody plant species with an average height of less than 1.5 m  A total of 90 plant species was recorded.  Major plant species include the common shrub Baeckea frutescens, Arundinella setosa, Cymbopogon goeringii, Eulalia quadrinervis, Isachaemum barbartum and the fern Dicranopteris linearis were recorded.  The dominant species present indicated that such habitat had been frequently disturbed by hill fires.  The species and structural diversity are considered low to moderate.

7.4.10    A protected plant species Lilium brownii (see Figure 7.4b-2) were recorded within this habitat.  Lilium brownii is locally common in Hong Kong but is protected under the Forests and Countryside Ordinance in Hong Kong.  

Abandoned Farmland

7.4.11    This habitat is represented by a small patch behind the beach of Pa Tau Kwu (see Figure 7.4b-2) and also a large patch close to Fa Peng Teng.  The dominant species include Neyraudia arundinacea (N. reyaudiana), Mikania micrantha, Apluda mutica and Cyclosorus interruptus.  Only 31 species were recorded and neither rare nor protected species were found in abandoned farmland.  This habitat is poor in floristic diversity and also simple in structure.  Since the habitat was formed by human activity, it is low in naturalness and high in re-creatability. 

Wetland

7.4.12    Brackish wetlands are dominated by grasses with an average height of less than 1.5 m and a relative high salinity.  Two brackish wetland patches were found next to Luk Keng Tsuen and next to the Penny’s Bay Gas Turbine Plant of China Light & Power (CLP) respectively.  The Luk Keng Tsuen brackish wetland (approximately 0.3 ha) is probably abandoned farmland that has become partially flooded by water.  It is dominated by Panicum repens, Cyperus malaccensis (C. malccensis var. brevifolius) and Hedychium coronarium.  The brackish wetland near Penny’s Bay Gas Turbine Plant (approximately 1 ha) is dominated by the Zoysia sp.  This habitat type is low in habitat heterogeneity and floristic diversity. In total 22 species were recorded.  Neither rare nor restricted species were found. 

7.4.13    A narrow strip of freshwater wetland area (approximately 1 ha) is present at the back of the shipyard on the eastern side of Penny’s Bay.  At least part of the wetland is permanently flooded (Figure 7.4b-2).  Vegetation present is dominated by herbs less than 1.5 m tall.  The dominant species include Fuirena ciliata, Fimbristylis complanata, Fimbristylis acuminata and Eragrostic sp.  This habitat is probably only formed recently by seepage from the hillsides behind after the shipyard reclamation.  Naturalness is, therefore, only moderate and recreatability is high.  This habitat is poor in floristic diversity and also simple in structure.  Among the species recorded, two rare species, Fimbristylis acuminata (covered approximately 500 m2) and Fimbristylis complanata (covered approximately 500 m2), and one protected species, Nepenthes mirabilis (Pitcher plant, covered approximately 80 m2 in total, see Figure 7.4b-3), were found.  Fimbristylis acuminata, a cyperaceae wetland herbs, is locally rare in Hong Kong and had been seen in a few wetland sites in Hong Kong, including Shui Hau (Lantau), Hoi Ha and Lai Chi Chong (Sai Kung).  The pitcher plant Nepenthes mirabilis is a carnivorous creeping subshrub which has protected in Hong Kong under the Forest and Countryside Ordinance.  The species is widespread in S.E. Asia and is distributed from Southern China (Guangdong and Hainan), Indochina to Northern Australia.  It is also widely cultivated as an ornamental and can adapte to wide range of habitats.  It is common in Hong Kong and could be found along streams in Western New Territories (Castle Peak, Tai Lam, Siu Lam, So Kwu Wat), Western Lantau (Man Cheung Po) and Northern Lantau (Hau Hok Wan), and North East Lantau (Pak Mong).  Wherever the species occur, the plant usually forms a large dense colony.

7.4.14    An abandoned man-made fish pond is located near the western tip of Tso Wan village at approximately 40 m elevation.  It is approximately a third of a hectare in size.  A man-made fishpond near San Po Tsui is still in operation.  Owing to its small size, the species richness is relatively low.  However,  the locally restricted Fimbristylis complanata and Diplarcum caricinum were found next to the pond.

Plantation

7.4.15    This habitat type is dominated by woody species planted for landscape purpose.  Plantations comprise mainly Acacia confusa and Leucaena leucocephala were found around the Penny’s Bay Gas Turbine Plant and excavated hillside at Chok Ko Wan (see Figure 7.4b-3) and Tung Yip Hang.  Only five tree species were found with heights of trees range from 5-15 m.  All the trees species are introduced species of relatively low ecological importance. 

Orchard/Village

7.4.16    Orchards were found among villages at Ngong Shuen Au, Luk Keng Tsuen, Tso Wan, and Fa Peng (see Figure 7.4b-3).  Dominant components included common fruit trees such as Dimocarpus longan and Clausena lansium, as well as ornamental/landscape trees such as Acacia confusa and Albizia lebbeck.  Tree species associated with human activity such as Celtis tetrandra (C. sinensisis) and Macaranga tanarius were commonly observed, while typical secondary woodland tree species such as Bridelia tomentosa and Litsea glutinosa 6-12m in height, were also found.  Neither rare nor protected plants were recorded among the 42 recorded species. 

Wasteland

7.4.17    Wastelands refer to open flatland area formed from reclamation on both sides of the North Lantau Highway near Yam O and the largest one were found next to the shipyard and the Penny’s Bay Gas Turbine Plant of China Light & Power (CLP) (Figure 7.4b-3).  Dominant species such as Neyraudia reyaudiana and exotic weeds including Mikania micrantha and Lantana camara were recorded.  This habitat is very open and low in floristic diversity (35 species in total), habitat heterogeneity and naturalness.


Backshore Vegetation

7.4.18    A total of 88 plant species were recorded in the backshore vegetation along the coastline.  Vegetation found at the backshores of sandy beaches included dominant plant species of Clerodendrum inerme, Scaevola sericea, Vitex rotundifolia, Macaranga tanarius, Cerbera manghas and Hibiscus tiliaceus.  Floristic diversity was low to moderate, with one rare species, Schoenus falcatus, and one locally restricted tree Thespesia populnea (Figure 7.4b-4) recorded.  Thespesia populnea is restricted to coastal area and it is only found in Sha Tau Kok and Lantau (e.g. Tung Chung and Shui Hau) in Hong Kong.

7.4.19    The backshore vegetation of rocky shore is continuous with shrublands or secondary woodlands further landward (see Figure 7.4b-4 ).  Dominant plants found included Hibiscus tiliaceus, Cerbera manghas, Pandanus tectorius, Scolopia chinensis and Atalantia buxifolia.  Floristic diversity is moderate but habitat heterogeneity is very low as a result of sparse vegetation.  Four rare species, Phymatodes scolopendria, Berchemia lineata, Schoenus falcatus and Scleria rugosa were found in back shore vegetation within the Study Area, while restricted species were included Vitis balanceana and Thespesia populnea (see Figure 7.4a-1 for there location).  Phymatodes scolopendria is very rare and has only been found in a few very isolated sites. Berchemia lineata , a creeping shrub found on rocky shore, is also locally rare and not protected in Hong Kong and had only been seen from Sai Wan (Sai Kung) and on a few outlying islands.  Scattered individuals were found on the rocky shore on the west side of Penny’s Bay (see Figure 7.4a-1).  Scleria rugosa, a cyperaceae annual herb, is rare and not protected in Hong Kong and had only been seen along stream in Tai Tam (Hong Kong) and Lai Chi Chong (Sai Kung).  A small populations of this species were found in backshore vegetation of rocky shore with freshwater seepage on the west shore of Penny’s Bay.

Freshwater Streams

7.4.20    There are several freshwater streams within the Study Area (see Figure 7.4a-1 for locations).  The two main streams within the northern Tsing Chau Tsai headland are the Tso Wan and Fa Peng Streams (see Figure 7.4b-4 ).  Tso Wan stream is a permanent mid-gradient stream that runs through the village of Tso Wan.  Due to access difficulty, the stream remains pollution free without human disturbance.  The upper reaches of the stream course is subject to shading by riparian vegetation but it becomes more exposed as the stream empties towards the sea.  Vegetation along the stream banks consists of low-lying shrubs and grasses.  The Fa Peng stream was not sampled due to access problem.  However, it is expected to be similar to the Tso Wan stream because of their close proximity and hence similarity in geological and environmental conditions. 

7.4.21    There are four main streams within the southern Tsing Chau Tsai headland, Mong Tung Hang Stream behind the shipyard, a stream behind the CLP Penny’s Bay Gas Turbine Plant and two streams at Pa Tau Kwu Pak Wan and Pa Tau Kwu Nam Wan and one more stream is found in Yam O.

7.4.22    The upper Mong Tung Hang Stream with rocky substrate was observed to be natural and free from pollution, with shrubby riparian vegetation.  The lower section is channelised and goes underground where it enters the shipyard (see Figure 7.4b-4).

7.4.23    The stream behind the Penny’s Bay Gas Turbine Plant remains natural and clean, with shrubland habitats along the upper section, and brackish wetland at the estuary.

7.4.24    The conditions of the two streams at Pa Tau Kwu are similar given their similarity in geographic and physical environment.  Both streams are small with bedrock as substratum, and they also remain clean and intact owing to the remote locations with riparian vegetation comprising shrubland/grassland species.  The lower course of the stream at Pa Tau Kwu Pak Wan enters into a beach with rubbish accumulated.  The size of the Pa Tau Kwu Nam Wan stream is smaller than the stream at Pak Wan, and it drains into an abandoned agricultural field.

7.4.25    Similar to the Mong Tung Hang Stream, the Yam O Stream is natural and free from pollution with rocky substrate.  The lower section runs into a secondary woodland and shade by trees.

7.4.26    In general all upper stream courses upland of the mountain within the Study Area have limited water flow.  These small bedrock streams are found to support only limited aquatic life.

Animal Wildlife

7.4.27    A review of the survey findings indicate that the animal wildlife recorded within the Study Area show little seasonality.  Except the avifauna, most of the wildlife do not show seasonal variation.  More bird species was recorded within the Study Area during the winter season as about 36% of the recorded bird species are winter visitor.  Neither rare nor protected species were found during the night survey.  Key findings of the wildlife surveys are presented below and details of animal wildlife species recorded are shown in Annex E-3.

Mammal

7.4.28    Faeces of civets were observed once only in January 1999 on a major path on Fa Peng Teng where the dominant vegetation was grassland/shrubland mosaic (Figure 7.4a-1).  No more records of civet nor their faeces were found during the survey period.  No signs of other mammal, such as barking deer (Muntiacus reevesi) were recorded, which is likely to be due to the lack of suitable habitats as the areas are too open and there is not sufficient cover for large mammals.

Herpetofauna

7.4.29    For herpetofauna, only 7 common species such as the introduced Red-eared Slider (Trachemys scripta), Asian Common Toad Bufo melanostictus and Gunther's Frog Rana guentheri were recorded during the field surveys.  All the recorded amphibians were found in freshwater wetland areas and the reptiles were found in grassland/shrubland mosaic areas.

7.4.30    Although several populations of Romer's Tree Frog (Philautus romeri) were recorded in Lantau Island, however, no Romer's Tree Frog, its call, nor tadpoles was found during the surveys conducted in February, May, October, November and December 1999. 

Invertebrates

7.4.31    Twenty-four species of dragonfly and damselfly were recorded in the Study Area and they are all common in Hong Kong. The habitats within the Study Area are not favourable for dragonflies and damselflies, most of recorded species were encountered close to areas with fresh water.

7.4.32    The field surveys recorded sixty-nine species of butterfly, but none of which is rare nor of ecological significance.  Most of the butterflies were encountered at the edge of woodlands and often settle on nearby shrubby vegetation.  It was in the Tso Wan area that most of the butterfly species was recorded.

Stream Fauna

7.4.33    No rare, endangered, nor endemic stream invertebrate were found at all the stream sites sampled. 

7.4.34    Fish can only be found in lower course of Mong Tung Hang Stream and the stream behind the Penny’s Bay Gas Turbine Plant within the Study Area, no fish species were found in upland stream.  Six fish species were found in the streams, including the locally rare Rice Fish (Oryzias latipes) in Mong Tung Hang Stream (Figure 7.4b-4</i>), Mosquito Fish (Gambusia affinis) in seepage pools feeding artificial ditch in the shipyard, as well as Grey Mullet ( Mugil cephalus), Mudskipper (Periophthalmus cantonensis), Puffer Fish (Fugu niphobles) and Therapon jarbua in the stream behind the Penny’s Bay Gas Turbine Plant.  Except the Rice Fish, which is locally rare (location shown in Figure 7.4a-1), the others are common species. 

7.4.35    According to Chong and Dudgeon (1992), the distribution of the Rice Fish Oryzias latipes in Hong Kong has reduced dramatically, and is now restricted to a few isolated sites in Hong Kong; including Chi Ma Wan on Lantau, Sam A Tsuen in North-east New Territories, eastern Sai Kung and Tung Chung area.  It can be considered as endangered in Hong Kong due to the fragmented distribution of generally small populations. It is unusual to find this species at the fast flowing Mong Tung Hang stream, as it is usually found in standing waterbodies or slow-flowing streams (Pan, 1991; Kawanabe and Mizuno, 1996). The population at Mong Tung Hang stream is restricted to the lowest natural reach of the stream course before the channelized concrete watercourse section closed to the Cheoy Lee Shipyard.

Avifauna

7.4.36    Almost all the 59 species of avifauna recorded are common in Hong Kong such as Black Kite (Milvus milgrans), Common Sandpiper (Actitis hypoleucos), Spotted Dove (Streptopelia chinensis), Chinese Bulbul (Pycnonotus sinensis), Red-whiskered Bulbul (Pycnonotus joscosus), Japanese White-eye (Zosterops japonica), Long-tailed Shrike (Lanius schach) and Yellow-bellied Prinia (Prinia flaviventrius).  The rare winter visitor Woodcock (Scolopax rusticola) and migrant Sparrowhawk (Accipiter sp.) were observed flying pass.  Most of the birds use the grassland/shrubland mosaic as foraging and roosting ground, and the shore birds such as kingfisher, heron and egret forage mainly in the coastal areas.

7.4.37    The most significant finding of the avian survey is the recording of the locally rare White-bellied Sea Eagle (Haliaeetus leucogaster) in Pa Tau Kwu.  From our survey records in this study, White-bellied Sea Eagles Haliaeetus leucogaster were observed foraging from Yi Chuen to Pa Tau Kwu in earlier surveys and were initially considered to comprise one of the known local breeding White-bellied Sea Eagles from Green Island or Tang Lung Chau.  However, a breeding pair of White-bellied Sea Eagle and their nest was recently (November and December 1999) identified in the woodland at Pa Tau Kwu during avian survey in the Study Area (see Figure 7.4a-1 for the location and Figure 7.4b-5 for the photographic record of the bird).  A White-bellied Sea Eagle juvenile, estimated to be 1 - 2 years old and capable of flight, was also recorded in the Pa Tau Kwu woodland during the avian survey in November 1999 but left and has not been seen again after November 1999.   The nest was located on a tree Tetradium glabrifolium, approximately 3 - 4 m above the ground and facing towards Pa Tau Kwu Nam Wan.  The nest was estimated to be 1.1 m in width and 0.3 m in depth comprising large fresh wooden sticks and twigs (see Figure 7.4b-5).  The relatively small nest size indicates recent construction or occupation; additionally it has been reported recently that a nesting pair of White-bellied Sea Eagles previously located on Tang Lung Chau south of Ma Wan have vacated their nest. 

7.4.38    The White-bellied Sea Eagle is a scarce breeding species in Hong Kong, with between ten and 20 breeding pairs previously recorded during 1993-99), including the one in Tang Lung Chau (based on up to 20 different breeding sites identified), which is distributed in different parts of the Hong Kong waters including Tolo Harbour, Mirs Bay, Port Shelter, south and west of Hong Kong Island, and both north and south of Lantau.(Hong Kong Bird Watching Society, in prep.).  Their nests are usually built on steep and rocky islands with major preference of big trees in a commanding position on a wooded knoll or headland (Wells, 1999).  The size of nest is usually about 1.5 m across and comparatively thin when new. The nest would be used repeatedly with nest refurbishment in each breeding season by the same pair (Viney et. al., 1994).

7.4.39    The White-bellied Sea Eagle has a wide distribution, ranging from India and Sri Lanka to South China, the Philippines, Wallacea, New Guinea as well as Bismarks to Australia and Tasmania (Howard & Moore, 1998; del Hoyo et. al., 1994), with its presence restricted to Guangdong and Fujian Provinces in China and occasional records of non-breeding birds elsewhere ( Cheng, 1987).  White-bellied Sea Eagles are known to be predominantly pisciverous, taking mainly fish carrions (Blackers et. al., 1985).  White-bellied Sea Eagles in Hong Kong are also predominantly pisciverous and feed on live fish, but the extent to which they scavenges is not known.

7.4.40    Based on literature in Australia, the White-bellied Sea Eagle may be susceptible to human disturbance and may abandon their nest or young (or be deterred from breeding) when disturbed (Marchant & Higgins, 1993).  However the locally breeding White-bellied Sea Eagles recorded on Green Island, however, are tolerant to the existing disturbance such as from helicopter, boats travelling pass, and the urban development at Kennedy Town approximately 600 m away.  The presence of the breeding pair of the White-bellied Sea Eagles at the Pa Tau Kwu woodland indicates that the  surrounding disturbance from motor boats, ships, helicopter and aircraft may have a minor impact on the birds.  Therefore the White-bellied Sea Eagles in Hong Kong may have certain degree of tolerance to disturbance.

Ecological Value

7.4.41    In accordance with the EIAO TM Annex 8 criteria, the ecological importance of the recorded habitats are evaluated in the tables below.

Table 7.4a - Ecological Value of Secondary Woodland in the Study Area

Criteria

Pa Tau Kwu headland

Other secondary woodlands within Study Area

Naturalness

Natural habitat with limited human disturbance.

The secondary woodlands have been modified and subjected to human disturbance.

Size

Approximately 2 ha in size.

The average size is approximately 2 ha.

Diversity

The species diversity is moderate.

The species diversity is moderate.

Rarity

Locally rare White-bellied Sea Eagles Haliaeetus leucogaster were recorded in the woodland.

One rare plant Amorphophallus variabilis and one restricted plants Vitis balanceana were found in the secondary woodlands.

Re-creatability

It will take some time (10-40 yrs)  for the secondary woodlands to be re-created.

It will take some time (10-40 yrs) for the secondary woodlands to be re-created.

Fragmentation

The woodland is not fragmented.

The woodlands are not fragmented.

Ecological linkage

The present habitats are not functionally linked to any highly valued habitat in close proximity in a significant way.

The present habitats are not functionally linked to any highly valued habitat in close proximity in a significant way.

Potential value

The potential value is considered moderate.

The potential value is considered moderate.

Nursery ground

A nest of White-bellied Sea Eagles Haliaeetus leucogaster was found inside the woodland.

No record of significant nursery or breeding ground was found in the survey.

Age

The habitats are relatively mature.

The habitats are relatively mature.

Abundance/Richness of Wildlife

Moderate

Moderate

Ecological value

High

Moderate

 

Table 7.4b - Ecological Value of Grassland/Shrubland Mosaic and Tall Shrublandin the Study Area

Criteria

Grassland/Shrubland Mosaic

Tall Shrubland

Naturalness

Natural habitat but subject to frequent hill-fire.

Natural habitat but subject to hill-fire.

Size

The grassland/shrubland mosaic is the predominant habitat types within the Study Area.

Small patches of tall shrubland; mostly found along streams and in valleys.

Diversity

The species diversity is low.

The species diversity is low

Rarity

A protected plant species Lilium brownii was recorded in grassland/shrubland mosaic.

Seven locally rare/ restricted plant species recorded in this habitat type, including Rhapis excelsa, Eriocaulon merrilli, Schoenus falcatus, Vitis balanceana, Diplarcum caricinum, Alpinia galanga and Scleria lithosperma.  Among these species, Schoenus falcatus is the most important because it is a new record to Hong Kong.

Re-creatability

The vegetation type is secondary and readily re-created naturally or artificially and would recover easily from disturbance.

The vegetation type is secondary and readily re-created naturally or artificially and would recover easily from disturbance.

Fragmentation

The grassland/shrubland mosaic is not fragmented.

The tall shrubland habitat are fragmented.

Ecological linkage

The present habitats are not functionally linked to any highly valued habitat in close proximity in a significant way.

The present habitats are not functionally linked to any highly valued habitat in close proximity in a significant way.

Potential value

The potential value is considered low.

The dense vegetation cover of the tall shrubland suggested it has the potential to be transformed into woodland, the potential value is therefore considered moderate.

Nursery ground

No record of significant nursery or breeding ground was found in the survey.

No record of significant nursery or breeding ground was found in the survey.

Age

The habitats are frequently disturbed and therefore are secondary in nature.

The habitats are disturbed and therefore are secondary in nature.

Abundance/Richness of Wildlife

Low

Low

Ecological value

Low

Low

 


Table 7.4c - Ecological Value of Wetlandin the Study Area

Criteria

Brackish Wetland

Freshwater Wetland

Naturalness

Naturalness is only moderate.

Naturalness is only moderate and partially man-made habitat.

Size

All small in size.

All small in size.

Diversity

The species diversity is low.

The species diversity is low

Rarity

No rare nor protected species were found in this habitat type.

Two rare plant species, Fimbristylis acuminata and Fimbristylis complanata one protected species, Nepenthes mirabilis, were found.

Re-creatability

Re-creatability is moderate to high.

Re-creatability is moderate to high.

Fragmentation

These habitat types are not fragmented.

The wetlands are not fragmented, but small in size.

Ecological linkage

The present habitats are not functionally linked to any highly valued habitat in close proximity in a significant way.

The present habitats are not functionally linked to any highly valued habitat in close proximity in a significant way.

Potential value

Low value for man-made habitats.

The potential value is considered moderate.

Nursery ground

No record of significant nursery or breeding ground was found in the survey.

No record of significant nursery or breeding ground was found in the survey.

Age

Not applicable.

The habitats probably formed recently by seepage from hillsides behind after reclamation.

Abundance/Richness of Wildlife

Low

Moderate

Ecological value

Low

Moderate

 

Table 7.4d - Ecological Value of Wasteland/ Abandoned Farmland/ Plantation/ Orchard/Village and Backshore Vegetationin the Study Area

Criteria

Wasteland/Abandoned Farmland/ Plantation/ Orchard/Village

Backshore Vegetation

Naturalness

All are man-created habitats.

Natural habitat with limited human disturbance.

Size

All small in size.

Moderate in size

Diversity

The species diversity is low.

The species diversity is moderate.

Rarity

No rare nor protected species were found in these habitat types.

Four rare plant species, Phymatodes scolopendria, Berchemia lineata, Schoenus falcatus and Scleria rugosa and two restricted plant species Vitis balanceana and Thespesia populnea were found in back shore vegetation.

Re-creatability

All the habitat types can be re-created easily.

It has a moderate re-creatability.

Fragmentation

These habitat types are not fragmented.

The habitats are not fragmented but always have a linear shape.

Ecological linkage

The present habitats are not functionally linked to any highly valued habitat in close proximity in a significant way.

The present habitats are not functionally linked to any highly valued habitat in close proximity in a significant way.

Potential value

Low value for man-made habitats.

The potential value is low.

Nursery ground

No record of significant nursery or breeding ground was found in the survey.

No record of significant nursery or breeding ground was found in the survey.

Age

Not applicable.

Relative mature and stable.

Abundance/Richness of Wildlife

Low

Low

Ecological value

Low

Moderate

Table 7.4e - Ecological Value of Stream Habitatsin the Study Area

Criteria

Tso Wan/ Fa Peng/ Pa Tau Kwu North Wan/ Pa Tau Kwu South Wan/ Yam O/ behind the CLP Penny’s Bay Gas Turbine Plant

Mong Tung Hang

Naturalness

The streams are largely natural and free of pollution.

The streams are largely natural and free of pollution.

Size

The length of the natural streams at Tso Wan, Fa Peng, Pa Tau Kwu Pak Wan, Pa Tau Kwu Nam Wan , Yam O and behind the CLP Penny’s Bay Gas Turbine Plant are approximately 1700 m, 3700 m, 1100 m, 600 m, 1000 m, 1600 m respectively.

The length of the natural streams is approximately 1600 m.

Diversity

The species diversity is moderate to low.

The species diversity is moderate to low.

Rarity

No rare nor protected species were found in these habitat types.

Locally rare Rice Fish (Oryzias latipes) was found at the lower section of Mong Tung Hang Stream.

Re-creatability

The stream habitats could be re-created.

The stream habitats could be re-created.

Fragmentation

Not applicable.

Not applicable.

Ecological linkage

The present habitats are not functionally linked to any highly valued habitat in close proximity in a significant way.

The present habitats are not functionally linked to any highly valued habitat in close proximity in a significant way.

Potential value

The potential value is moderate to low.

The potential value is moderate to low.

Nursery ground

No record of significant nursery or breeding ground was found in the survey.

No record of significant nursery or breeding ground was found in the survey.

Age

Not applicable

Not applicable

Abundance/Richness of Wildlife

Low

Low

Ecological value

Low to Moderate

High

 

7.4.42    Based on the ecological conditions presented in the above sections, it is considered that the grassland/shrubland mosaic and tall shrubland habitats within the Study Area have generally low value because of their low species diversity and most of the species identified are common, widespread and typical to such habitats in Hong Kong. 

7.4.43    The ecological value of the wasteland, abandoned farmland, orchard/village and plantation habitats is limited given the frequent human disturbance and low species diversity in these habitat types.

7.4.44    The predominant freshwater streams remain natural and unpolluted and are generally considered to be of moderate ecological value.  The lower stream courses are relatively more important since most of the stream associated wildlife recorded were found there, but the upper stream courses which are small with bedrock as substratum have much fewer aquatic life.  The brackish wetlands have low value because of their low species diversity and most of the species identified are common, while the freshwater wetlands are considered to have generally moderate value.

7.4.45    All the secondary woodlands have generally moderate ecological value, except the woodland in Pa Tau Kwu with a nesting ground of the locally rare White-bellied Sea Eagle has a high ecological value. 

7.4.46    Regarding flora of ecological interest (location map refer to Figure 7.4a-1), there are sixteen locally restricted/rare plant species of conservation interest including Phymatodes scolopendria, Berchemia lineata, Eriocaulon merrilli, Schoenus falcatus, Scleria rugosa, and Thespesia populnea etc.  Fauna of ecological interest found inhabiting within the Study Area include the rare Rice Fish (Oryzias latipes) found in the lowest section of the Mong Tung Hang Stream, as well as the White-bellied Sea Eagles Haliaeetus leucogaster and their nest recorded at Pa Tau Kwu woodland. 

7.4.47    The evaluation of the species with ecological interest according to the EIAO TM are given below:

Table 7.4f - Evaluation of Floral Species with Ecological Interest within Study Area

Species

Growth Form

Location

Protection Status

Distribution

Rarity

Species Directly Impacted:

Schoenus falcatus

Herb

Chok Ko Wan

Not protected

Sze Pak Wan

Rare and recorded for the first time in HK

Eriocaulon merrilli

Herb

Yi Chuen, Chok Ko Wan

Not protected

Tung Chung, Sai Kung and Lai Chi Wo

Restricted

Lilium brownii

Tree

Fa Peng Teng

Protected

No information

Common

Thespesia populnea

Tree

Fa Peng, Luk Keng Tsuen and Pa Tau Kwu Pak Wan

Not protected

Sha Tau Kok, Tung Chung and Sui Hau

Restricted

Amorphophallus variabilis

Herb

Tso Wan

Not protected

No information

Rare

Vitis balanceana (due to Route 10)

Climber

Kwai Shek and San Po Tsui

Not protected

Yuen Long, Sha Chau, Peng Chau, Tai O and Tung Chung

Restricted

Species May Be Indirectly Impacted:

Berchemia lineata

Shrub

Chok Ko Wan

Not protected

Tai Long Wan (Sai Kung), Ping Chau (Mirs Bay) and Lung Kwu Chau

Rare

Scleria rugosa

Herb

Chok Ko Wan

Not protected

Lai Chi Chong and Violet Hill

Rare

Fimbristylis acuminata

Herb

Chok Ko Wan

Not protected

Shui Hau, Hoi Ha and Lai Chi Chong

Rare

Fimbristylis complanata

Herb

San Po Tsui, Yi Chuen and Chok Ko Wan

Not protected

Lai Chi Wo, Ngoon Ping at Ma On Shan and Tai Ho.

Rare

Nepenthes mirabilis (Pitcher plant)

Herb

Chok Ko Wan

Protected

North Lantau and New Territories, etc.

Restricted

Scleria lithosperma

Herb

Fa Peng

Not protected

Ap Lei Chau, Middle Island, Hei Ling Chau and San Tau

Restricted

Species Not Impacted:

Rhapis excelsa

Shrub

Yi Chuen,

Not protected

Wu Kau Tang

Restricted

Diplarcum caricinum

Grass

San Po Tsui

Not protected

Sham Chung and Nine Pin Island

Rare

Phymatodes scolopendrai

Herb

San Po Tsui

Not protected

Sha Chau, Chek Chau and Round Island

Rare

Alpinia galanga

Herb

San Po Tsui

Not protected

Pat Sin Leng

Restricted

 


Table 7.4g - Evaluation of Faunal Species with Ecological Interest within Study Area

Species

Growth Form

Location

Protection Status

Distribution

Rarity

Haliaeetus leucogaster

White-bellied Sea Eagle

Pa Tau Kwu woodland

Proposed national first-grade wildlife for protection

Ten to 20 breeding pairs in HK SAR have been recorded and distributed in different parts of Hong Kong (Hong Kong Bird Watching Society, in prep.)

Locally rare

Oryzias latipes

Rice Fish

Mong Tung Hang stream

Not protected

Chi Ma Wan, Sam A Tsuen Tung Chung and Eastern Sai Kung

Locally rare

 

7.5              NLDFS: Identification of Environmental Impacts

7.5.1        The potential terrestrial ecological impact arising from the proposed NSLD would be associated with:

Construction Phase

·                     Direct habitat loss, habitat fragmentation and indirect impact to those wildlife associated with the habitats because of landtaking for the development and road/rail line/trail construction; and

 

·                     Indirect impact to the surrounding habitats and associated wildlife such as from increased human activities/disturbance, uncontrolled storage or dumping of construction material, and hill fire.

 

Operation Phase

·                     Indirect impact to the surrounding habitats and associated wildlife because of increased human activities/disturbance associated with the operation of the proposed Development.

 

7.6              NLDFS: Assessment of Environmental Impacts

7.6.1        This section presents an assessment of the potential impact on the terrestrial ecological resources within the Study Area, based on the proposed Development on the RODP, as described in Section 2. 

Impact Assessment

Construction Phase

7.6.2        The proposed NSLD will be mainly on reclaimed land with limited ecological value, and therefore the assessment in this Section will only focus on potential terrestrial ecological impact on natural habitats in relation to the proposed Developments below:

·                     International Theme Park (TP) in Penny’s Bay;

·                     Chok Kok Wan Link Road (CKWLR);

·                     Road P1 with tunnel portal areas at Yam O Tuk;

·                     Water Service Facilities including salt water/fresh water reservoirs and a salt water pumping station on the hill slopes to the west of Fa Peng.

·                     Village Expansion Area at Tso Wan;

·                     Looking Out Area on the Tsing Chau Tsai headland;

·                     Waterworks Reserve to the south of Yam O; and

·                     Route 10 (North Lantau Section).

 

7.6.3        More detailed habitat maps showing the locations of the various Developments are shown in Figure 7.6a-d.  A discussion of the potential impacts of the proposed Developments is presented below. 

Direct Impacts

Theme Park (Phase I & II)

7.6.4        The Theme Park will be largely formed on reclaimed land.  Based on the proposed project and associated works, it is estimated that natural terrestrial habitats within the proposed Theme Park and associated development area that would be directly affected include approximately 0.3 ha of secondary woodland at Ngong Shuen Au, 0.7 ha of brackish wetland behind the CLP Penny’s Bay Gas Turbine Plant, 1.9 ha of grassland/shrubland mosaic and 0.4 ha of plantation due to the reclamation;  as well as 0.1 ha of secondary woodland at Ngong Shuen Au, 0.1 ha of plantation and 0.4 ha of grassland/shrubland mosaic at Chok Ko Wan Tsui due to Road P2 connecting Yam O and Theme Park (see Figure 7.6a-1 to 4 & Table 7.6a).  Additionally, 11 ha of village/orchard and wasteland would be lost due to the Theme Park development.  As the railway will be constructed on reclaimed land and the small portal areas at both ends of the Penny’s Bay Rail Link are wasteland and grassland/shrubland mosaic, limited terrestrial impact will be expected due to the PBRL construction.

7.6.5        The design of the Western Drainage Channel will retain the natural coastline of  the western side of Penny’s Bay, and therefore the backshore vegetation with some rare/restricted species will not be affected.  However, some of the backshore vegetation below the general reclamation level +4 to +6.5 mPD at the southern Tsing Chau Tsai headland (approximately 1 ha) and below reclamation level +6.5 to +10 mPD near Wan Tuk at Penny’s Bay (zoned as Amenity Area, approximately 1 ha) would be directly impacted by the reclamation works, including the rare/restricted plant Schoenus falcatus and Eriocaulon merrilli (see Figure 7.6a-1).

CKWLR

7.6.6        Based on the footprint and construction areas of the current road alignment, it is estimated that natural habitats within the alignment that would be directly affected include approximately 1.4 ha of secondary woodland, 2 ha of tall shrubland and 2.5 ha of grassland/shrubland mosaic at Ngong Shuen Au due to the Yam O Interchange area; 2.6 ha of tall shrubland, 13 ha of grassland/shrubland mosaic, 0.3 ha of brackish wetland behind the CLP Penny’s Bay Gas Turbine Plant, 550 m of mid to upland stream along the Penny’s Bay Gas Turbine Plant due to the alignment across the Tsing Chau Tsai headland (see Figure 7.6b-1 to 2 & Table 7.6a).  Additionally, 6 ha of village/orchard and wasteland would be lost due to the development.

7.6.7        The significant potential direct impact from the CKWLR is expected on the moderate ecological value secondary woodland habitat at Ngong Shuen Au and stream habitats, as well as a small area where the restricted plant species Thespesia populnea was found at Pa Tau Kwu Pak Wan.


Road P1

7.6.8        The proposed Road P1 would be mainly on reclaimed land along the northern coast of east Lantau Island (Figure 7.6c).  The impact due to Road P1 would be associated mainly with the portal areas encroaching into shrubland habitats at Yam O Tuk.  A section of the road would pass through the Eco Park at Yam Tsai in tunnel and the portal areas will affect approximately 0.4 ha of tall shrubland and 0.4 ha of grasslands/shrubland mosaic.

Water Service Reservoirs

7.6.9        The main potential source of impact associated with the proposed water service facilities including a fresh water service reservoir, a salt water service reservoir and a salt water pumping station to the west of Fa Peng is habitat loss resulting from permanent landtake (refer to Figure 7.6d ).  It is estimated that natural habitats that would be directly affected include 150 m of upland stream, 0.4 ha of secondary woodland, 1.3 ha of tall shrubland and 5.7 ha of grasslands/shrubland mosaic.  There may be direct impact on the restricted plants Thespesia populnea (with low abundance).

Village Area

7.6.10    The proposed village area at Tso Wan (see Figure 7.6d )would directly affect 0.6 ha secondary woodland, 6 ha of tall shrubland and 11 ha of grassland/shrubland mosaic, but the exact area loss is subject to detailed design.  There may also be direct impact on the rare plant Amorphophallus variabilis (with low abundance).  The freshwater streams have been avoided in the stage of planning design and it is expected that the more ecologically significant habitat such as the secondary woodland can be avoided.

Looking Out Area

7.6.11    There may be a habitats fragmentation impact on the predominant  grassland/shrubland mosaic on the Tsing Chau Tsai headland due to the proposed construction of pathway/trail to the Looking Out Area (refer to Figure 7.6a-1).  The protected plant Lilium brownii, with moderate abundance, may also be directly impacted due to the construction of the proposed Looking Out Area currently located.

Proposed Waterworks Reserve

 

7.6.12    The proposed waterworks reserve including salt water and fresh water service reservoir located to the south of Yam O would directly affect approximately 100 m freshwater stream, 8.7 ha grassland/shrubland mosaic habitat and 0.3 ha of tall shrubland (see Figure 7.6e).

Route 10

 

7.6.13    The Route 10 (North Lantau section from Tso Wan to Kwai Shek) within the NLDFS Study Area is currently the subject of a separate investigation assignment comprising an EIA Study.  Based on the Route 10 - North Lantau to Yuen Long Highway Investigation and Preliminary Design: Southern Section EIA Report, the project would result in direct loss of approximately 0.8 ha of secondary woodland, 8 ha of shrubland/tall shrubland and 9 ha of grassland/shrubland mosaic and impact on the restricted plant Vitis balansaeana.  No residual impact from Route 10 is expected with the implementation of the recommended mitigation measures such as woodland planting (refer to Route 10 - North Lantau to Yuen Long Highway Investigation and Preliminary Design: Southern Section EIA Report). 

7.6.14    The cumulative impact as a result of habitat loss due to the NSLD is presented in Table 7.6a.

Table 7.6a - Summary of Cumulative Terrestrial Habitat Loss (ha) within Study Area due to NSLD

Habitat/Vegetation Loss

Theme Park*

CKWLR

Other NSLD

Route 10#

Total

 

 

Yam O Interchange to Penny’s Bay Roundabout

Penny’s Bay Roundabout to Route 10 Toll Plaza

 

 

 

Secondary Woodland

0.4 ha

1.4 ha

0 ha

1 ha

0.8 ha

2.8 ha

Tall Shrubland

0 ha

2 ha

2.6 ha

8 ha

8 ha

12.6 ha

Grassland/Shrubland Mosaic

2.3 ha

2.5 ha

13 ha

25.8 ha

9 ha

43.6 ha

Brackish Wetland

0.7 ha

0 ha

0.3 ha

0 ha

0 ha

1 ha

Freshwater Stream

0 m

0 m

550 m

250 m

0 m

800 m

Man-made habitat:

Plantation/ Wasteland/ Village/Orchard

1.5 ha

0 ha

6 ha

0 ha

0 ha

17.5 ha

Rare/restricted/ protected plant

Schoenus falcatus and Eriocaulon merrilli at Chok Ko Wan Tsui.

 

Thespesia populnea at Pa Tau Kwu Pak Wan

Thespesia populnea at Fa Peng; Lilium brownii at Fa Peng Teng; Amorphophallus variabilis at Tso Wan.

Vitis balansaeana at Kwai Shek

 

* excludes CKWLR.

# indicates the habitat loss due to Route 10 North Lantau section (refer to Route 10 - North Lantau to Yuen Long Highway Investigation and Preliminary Design: Southern Section EIA Report). Mitigation measures have been recommended and no residual impact is expected from the Route 10 project.

 

7.6.15    The potential impact on wildlife associated with the habitats that will be directly loss (mainly shrubland and grassland habitats) is considered low given that the species present are of low ecological significance and that the wildlife may be displaced to similar habitats available in the surrounding area.

Indirect Impacts

7.6.16    Indirect impacts to terrestrial ecology may arise from increased human activities associated with construction work, such as material storage and construction site runoff, if uncontrolled.  This may disturb the habitats and the associated flora and fauna, particularly the rare/restricted plants species Fimbristylis acuminata,Fimbristylis complanata and pitcher plant Nepenthes mirabilis behind the Cheoy Lee shipyard of Penny’s Bay, Berchemia lineata,and Scleria rugosa along the west coast of Penny’s Bay and the rare Rice FishOryzias latipes in Mong Tung Hang stream (Figure 7.6a).  There may be fragmentation of the predominantly grassland/shrubland mosaic with concomitant effects on wildlife movement.

7.6.17    Another potential indirect construction impact from the Penny’s Bay reclamation is disturbance to the locally rare White-bellied Sea Eagle Haliaeetus leucogaster.  As discussed in Section 7.4.2, the White-bellied Sea Eagles in Hong Kong have been found to have certain degree of tolerance to disturbance.  Noise and general disturbance effects associated with the construction of the Penny’s Bay reclamation works, would have low to moderate impact as quiet construction plant will be used (refer Section 4.6) for the Stage II reclamation, and the construction activities of Theme Park Phase I and II will be over 1 km and 500 m from Pa Tau Kwu, respectively.  However it cannot be ruled out that construction activities may lead to possible nest site abandonment or breeding failure as a worst case result.

7.6.18    For the Theme Park (Phase III) Extension proposal and associated infrastructure on reclamation such as P2 and Rail Link, a planning horizon of beyond 2026 has been tentatively set.  A no development buffer of approximately 200 m wide around the Pa Tau Kwu woodland has been incorporated into the Draft RODP.   The construction of the Phase III developments would have a higher degree impact on the birds than the Phase II development, given the smaller physical separation and more construction activities in the vicinity.  This will be a key issue to be addressed in the future EIA study for this Schedule II Designated Development under the EIA Ordinance, should there be commitment to the Theme Park (Phase III) Extension.  Data from the recommended White-bellied Sea Eagle monitoring (see Section 7.12), for the Theme Park (Phase I and II) and associated developments Project, would form a basis for the assessment of the Theme Park (Phase III) Extension.

7.6.19    The indirect general noise disturbance from the CKWLR construction on the White-bellied Sea Eagles nesting and roosting site at Pa Tau Kwu would be limited as the works would be undertaken in a valley and topographically screened from the Pa Tau Kwu site.  However due to tight construction work programme, blasting activities will be required for the whole stretch of the CKWLR in the valley, which at the nearest point is approximately 250 m from the nest site.  Unmitigated noise disturbance from the proposed blasting works may result in the  abandonment of the nesting and roosting site, or breeding failure.

7.6.20    Another principal indirect threat to these birds of prey would be related to the increased human access to the Project area during construction activities (not presently represented in Pa Tau Kwu area such as possible hill fires, nest predation or human theft of eggs or young birds. 

Operational Phase

7.6.21    The operational ecological impacts have been assessed for the following key issues:

·                      Increased human access; and

·                      Theme Park operations including fireworks and laser show.

 


General Increased Human Access

7.6.22    Similar to the construction phase, after completion of the Theme Park and associated development indirect impacts to terrestrial ecology may arise from increased human activities resulting in an increased risk of fires which would threaten the habitat and wildlife, and possible collecting and trampling effects on the rare/restricted/protected species such as the Rice Fish (Oryzias latipes) in Mong Tung Hang Stream and pitcher plants(Nepenthes mirabilis)behind the shipyard, if uncontrolled.  The trail to the Looking Out Area would increase human access to the location of restricted plants Lilium brownii  and cause disturbance to the plants.  It should, however, be noted that the Theme Park fireworks will not increase the risk of fires as the fireworks displays are designed to return to ground within a designated safety area within the Theme Park.

Theme Park Operations (including fireworks and laser show)

7.6.23    In general, there are no adverse impacts to general wildlife within the Assessment Area since no significant nocturnal wildlife activities was recorded in the night survey. 

7.6.24    Project operational activities have the potential to disturb the White-bellied Sea Eagles.  Disturbing influences directly and indirectly associated with the Project may include noise/ light from fireworks displays, laser effects in the Theme Park, light/ glare from the new facilities, transportation noise (road, rail and sea traffic) and operational plant noise (pumps etc.). 

7.6.25    For the Theme Park Phase I and II developments, given the physical separation from the Pa Tau Kwu site, only the planned nightly laser show and short fireworks displays are considered to represent the most significant potential disturbing influence on the birds.

7.6.26    As the lasers beam will be terminated on fixed objects within the Theme Park and no significant nocturnal wildlife activities recorded in the night survey, the impacts are expected to be low.

7.6.27    The current White-bellied Sea Eagle nest site is located about 2 km from the Theme Park Phase I low/mid level fireworks launching position and about 0.8 km from the Theme Park Phase II low/mid level fireworks launching positionThe noise impact from Theme Park Phase I fireworks is not expected to be high due to the long distance separation. However, the Theme Park Phase II fireworks may result in a disturbance to the White-bellied Sea Eagles, leading to possible site abandonment or breeding failure as a worst case result. 

7.6.28    For the Theme Park (Phase III) Extension proposal and associated infrastructure on reclamation such as P2 and Rail Link,  an approximately 200 m wide buffer has been incorporated into the Draft RODP to reduce the potential disturbance on the White-bellied Sea Eagle at Pa Tau Kwu.   The Theme Park (Phase III) Extension is expected to pose higher disturbance to the birds and measures to reduce operational noise disturbance will be required such as sound barriers along the P2 and PBRL extension, or sensitive layout design or locating any noisy activities farthest away from Pa Tau Kwu.  This will be a key issue to be addressed in the future EIA study for this Theme Park (Phase III) Extension, should there be commitment to further investigation to determine the feasibility.  Data from the recommended White-bellied Sea Eagle Theme Park (Phase I and II) Project monitoring (see Section 7.12) would form a basis for the assessment of the Theme Park (Phase III) Extension.

7.6.29    Similar to the construction phase, increased access by humans not presently represented in Pa Tau Kwu area may also pose an indirect threat to White-bellied Sea Eagle such as possible hill fire, nest predation or human theft of eggs or young birds, if uncontrolled.

Impact Evaluation

7.6.30    Potential impacts on terrestrial ecology evaluated according to Table 1 of Annex 8 of the EIAO TM are given in Table 7.6b-g.

Table 7.6b - Overall Impact Evaluation of Secondary Woodland

Evaluation Criteria

Pa Tau Kwu

Other woodlands

Habitat quality

The habitat quality of secondary woodland is high.

The habitat quality of secondary woodland is moderate.

Species

The key species that would be indirectly impacted is the locally rare White-bellied Sea Eagle Haliaeetus leucogaster at the Pa Tau Kwu secondary woodland.  Potential disturbance would result from increased human access such as fire risk or theft of eggs or young birds, the construction of the Theme Park (Phase III) Extension developments, blasting activities for the whole stretch of the CKWLR which at the nearest point is approximately 250 m from the nest site, Theme Park (Phase III) Extension operation and the Phase II fireworks displays which may lead to possible site abandonment or breeding failure as a worst case.

There may be potential direct or indirect impact to the wildlife inhabiting the areasHabitat loss would also lead to the loss of some individuals of the restricted plant species Thespesia populnea at Fa Peng and rare plant Amorphophallus variabilis at Tso Wan.

Size/Abundance

No habitat loss in Pa Tau Kwu secondary woodlands.

Loss of area of the secondary woodlands at Ngong Shuen Au, Tso Wan and Fa Peng will be approximately 1.8 ha, 0.6 ha and 0.4 ha respectively. 

Duration

The duration of impact will persist during construction and operation phase, particularly excessive disturbance may cause abandonment of Pa Tau Kwu secondary woodland as a breeding site by the White-bellied Sea Eagles.

The duration of impact will persist during construction and operation phases.

Reversibility

The indirect impact of secondary woodlands is reversible. 

The impact of direct loss of secondary woodlands is irreversible. 

Magnitude

The scale of indirect impact on White-bellied Sea Eagle is high.

The scale of habitat loss is small.

Overall impact conclusion

High

Moderate

 


Table 7.6c - Overall Impact Evaluation of Backshore Vegetation

Evaluation Criteria

Discussion

Habitat quality

The habitat quality of backshore vegetation is moderate.

Species

There may be potential direct or indirect impact to the wildlife inhabiting the areas.  Habitat loss would also lead to the loss of some individuals of the rare/restricted plant species Schoenus falcatus and Eriocaulon merrilliat Penny’s Bay and Chok Ko Wan Tsui.

Size/Abundance

Loss of area of the backshore vegetation will be approximately 4 ha due to the reclamation works at Penny’s Bay and Chok Ko Wan Tsui.  In the present design, the construction of Western Drainage Channel will avoid the destruction of and maintain the natural coastline in the west side of Penny’s Bay, the backshore vegetation and the rare/restricted would not be affected.

Duration

The duration of impact will persist during construction and operation phases.

Reversibility

The impact of direct loss of backshore vegetation is irreversible.

Magnitude

The scale of habitat loss is small in the context of the surrounding similar habitats.

Overall impact conclusion

Moderate

 

Table 7.6d - Overall Impact Evaluation ofBrackish Wetland

Evaluation Criteria

Discussion

Habitat quality

The habitat quality of brackish wetland is low.

Species

There may be potential direct or indirect impact to the wildlife inhabiting the areas.

Size/Abundance

Loss of area of the brackish wetland will be approximately 1 ha.

Duration

The duration of impact will persist during construction and operation phase.

Reversibility

The impact of direct loss of brackish wetland is irreversible. 

Magnitude

The scale of habitat loss is small.

Overall impact conclusion

Low

 

Table 7.6e - Overall Impact Evaluation ofTall Shrubland

Evaluation Criteria

Discussion

Habitat quality

The habitat quality of tall shrubland is low.

Species

There may be potential direct or indirect impact to the wildlife inhabiting the areas.  The restricted plant species Scleria lithosperma, at Fa Peng may be indirectly affected.

Size/Abundance

Loss of area of the tall shrubland will be approximately 12.6 ha.

Duration

The duration of impact will persist during construction and operation phases.

Reversibility

The impact of direct loss of tall shrubland is irreversible.  The habitat is readily re-created and will recover easily.

Magnitude

The scale of habitat loss is small in the context of the surrounding similar habitats.

Overall impact conclusion

Low

 

Table 7.6f - Overall Impact Evaluation ofGrassland/Shrubland Mosaic and Other habitats

Evaluation Criteria

Discussion

Habitat quality

The habitat quality of grassland/shrubland mosaic, plantation and wasteland are low. 

Species

There may be potential direct or indirect impact to the wildlife inhabiting the areas.  Habitat loss would also lead to the loss of some individuals of protected plant Lilium brownii at Fa Peng Teng, if uncontrolled.

Size/Abundance

Approximately 43.6 ha of grassland/shrubland mosaic, 0.5 ha of plantation and 17.5 ha of wasteland will be lost.

Duration

The duration of impact will persist during construction and operation phase.

Reversibility

The impact of direct loss of grassland/shrubland mosaic is irreversible.  The habitat is readily re-created and will recover easily.

Magnitude

The scale of habitat loss is small in the context of the surrounding similar habitats.

Overall impact conclusion

Low

Table 7.6g - Overall Impact Evaluation ofFreshwater Stream

Evaluation Criteria

Fa Peng/ Yam O Tuk/ behind CLP Penny’s Bay Gas Turbine Plant

Mong Tung Hang

Habitat quality

The habitat quality of the streams are moderate.

The habitat quality of the streams are moderate.

Species

There may be potential direct or indirect impact to the wildlife inhabiting the stream. 

There may be potential direct or indirect impact to the wildlife inhabiting the stream.  The development may disturb rare rice fishOryzias latipes in Mong Tung Hang stream, if uncontrolled.

Size/Abundance

Approximately 150 m, 100 m and 550 m of natural stream at Fa Peng, Yam O Tuk and behind CLP Penny’s Bay Gas Turbine Plant will be lost due to construction.

No habitat loss in Mong Tung Hang stream.

Duration

The duration of impact will persist during construction and operation phase.

The duration of impact will persist during construction and operation phase.

Reversibility

The impact of direct loss of lower section stream is irreversible.

The indirect impact is reversible. 

Magnitude

The scale of habitat loss and impact is moderate.

The scale of impact is low.

Overall impact conclusion

Moderate

Low

 

7.6.31    Overall the potential ecological impact due to the proposed NLDFS developments is not expected to be high because most of the habitats impacted (such as the predominant grassland/shrubland) are generally of low ecological importance.

7.6.32    The freshwater stream at Fa Peng, Yam O Tuk and behind the CLP Penny’s Bay Gas Turbine Plant, backshore vegetation and secondary woodlands has moderate impact due to the proposed Development. 

7.6.33    Certain individuals of the rare/restricted/protected plant species may be lost including Thespesia populnea at Fa Peng and Pa Tau Kwu Pak Wan, Lilium brownii at Fa Peng Teng,Amorphophallus variabilis at Tso Wan, Eriocaulon merrilli at Penny’s Bay, and Schoenus falcatus at Penny’s Bay and Chok Ko Wan Tsui.

7.6.34    The potential indirect ecological impact to the locally rare White-bellied Sea Eagles Haliaeetus leucogaster is expected to be high due to the unavoidable noise disturbance.

7.7              NLDFS: Mitigation of Adverse Environmental Impacts

7.7.1        As discussed in the previous section, major impact would be related to loss of secondary woodlands at Ngong Shuen Au, backshore vegetation and indirect impact to the White-bellied Sea Eagle at Pa Tau Kwu and Rice Fish at Mong Tung Hang Stream.  The following mitigation measures in relation to compensating woodland and stream habitat loss and minimising impact on species of ecological interest, as well as good construction practice to minimise disturbance to the surrounding environment, are recommended below.  In accordance with the EIAO TM, the hierarchy for ecological mitigation (first avoidance of impact, then minimisation of impact, then compensation of impact), has been adopted where appropriate.


Habitat/Vegetation Loss

·                      Design the proposed Village Expansion Area at Tso Wan to avoid and minimize impact on the secondary woodland, natural stream habitats and the rare plant Amorphophallus variabilis(see Figure 7.4a for location).

 

·                      Provide secondary woodland planting to compensate for the approximate loss of 2.2 ha of the woodlands (it comprised 1.4 ha loss due to the CKWLR) at Ngong Shuen Au (approximately 1.8 ha) and Fa Peng (approximately 0.4 ha) which cannot be avoided by the Development (in the worst case and excluded the impacts from Route 10). An area of not less than 7 ha of woodland planting are proposed on the adjacent hill side to the east of Ngong Shuen Au (see Section 13), sufficient compensation will be provided.  Species used for planting should take reference from the species identified in the Tree Survey and be native to Hong Kong or South China region.  Woodland compensation planting for the small area of secondary woodland at Fa Peng affected by Route 10 will be provided by the highway project (the Route 10 EIA Final Assessment Report (Southern Section) refers).

 

·                      Design the Western Drainage Channel of the Stage I Penny’s Bay Reclamation to retain the natural coastline and avoid impact on the  backshore vegetation so as the associated locally restricted, rare or protected plant species present within the Assessment Area, including the plant Berchemia lineata and Scleria rugosa (see Figure 7.4a for location).

 

·                      Adjust development/construction area to avoid/minimize direct impact on the locally restricted, rare or protected plant species present within the Study Area, including the plant Thespesia populnea at Fa Peng and Pa Tau Kwu Pak Wan, Eriocaulon merrilli at Penny’s Bay, and Schoenus falcatus at Penny’s Bay and Chok Ko Wan Tsui (see Figure 7.4a for location).  If avoidance of these plant species is not possible, transplanting of affected individuals should be undertaken, before the works start, to similar habitats in the immediate vicinity, as a last resort. A detailed vegetation survey of these affected areas should be undertaken at the Detailed Design stage to identify the individuals of the concerned species, as a basis for details of design refinement and transplanting requirements.  Since the growth form of the Schoenus falcatus and Eriocaulon merrilli required for transplantation is herb, the whole plants with their inhabited soil can be relocated to suitable habitat directly.  All the individuals of the species should be relocated.  Seeds of the target species are recommended to collect so as to preserve the genetic resource and allow more source plant to transplant in case of the failure of transplantation.  The seeds should be collected and preserved or germinated appropriately by qualified botanist and institution respectively.  Sze Pak Wan is the only, nearest and suitable site for the transplantation, however, it is small and may have not enough suitable habitats for transplantation.  When the available sites in Sze Pak Wan being fully occupied, South-east Chi Ma Wan Peninsular (Lantau) are other recommended sites for transplantation.  Only certain individuals and part of the habitat of Thespesia populnea would be affected when avoidance of these plant species is not possible, transplanting all the affected individuals to adjacent areas can be undertaken for the mitigation. 

 

·                      Design the trails, lookout areas, landscape plantings in the Countryside Conservation Area on the Tsing Chau Tsai headland to avoid the identified plant species of ecological interest including Lilium brownii, as well as their required habitats.

 

Stream Habitat

·                      Avoid any development, particularly the trails connecting Mong Tung Hang to lookout areas on Fa Peng Teng, to affect the natural Mong Tung Hang Stream, particularly the lower stream section where the locally rare Rice Fish was recorded.

 

·                      Design the proposed Water Service Reservoirs and Waterworks reserve at Yam O Tuk to avoid the freshwater stream course.

 

·                      Design and construct 220 m long drainage channels along the CKWLR to mimic natural streams to compensate for the unavoidable loss of stream courses due to the CKWLR construction (see Figure 7.7a for location).  The created stream courses should have natural substrate so as to provide suitable habitats for the colonization of stream invertebrates.  The stream habitats will be restored partly by natural silting due to flow from upper stream.  Selected substratum should resemble the existing stream conditions and large granite boulders may be placed at the upstream section so that these boulders will be weathered naturally to smaller pebbles and fine particles, forming natural stream substrate.

 


White-bellied Sea Eagle

General

7.7.2        Prohibit construction workers access to the nesting site of White-bellied Sea Eagles at Pa Tau Kwu secondary woodland through warning and regular audit by Site Engineer, and fence off the public land access from the development areas.

·                     Schedule CKWLR blasting activities, within 500 m from the nesting site in the Pa Tau Kwu woodland, outside the White-bellied Sea Eagles breeding period (generally October to April).

 

Theme Park Phase I & II

·                     Use quietened construction plant and equipment for Penny’s Bay Stage II reclamation (refer Section 4).

 

·                     Locate Theme Park fireworks launching site as far away from the nesting site as possible. However, it was considered not practicable for the Phase II launching site to locate elsewhere due to the constraints on the Theme Park design pertaining to guest safety.  The launch sites for the Theme Park Phase I and Phase II are located approximately 2 km and 0.8 km from Pa Tau Kwu.  A cantilevered noise barrier was considered as a potential mitigation measure to screen the fireworks noise from the White-bellied Sea Eagles nest but was considered not practicable as it will introduce temporary noisy construction disturbance in close proximity to the nesting site, and such structure will be large and instrusive, and may block the flight path and additionally may undermine the commanding position of the nesting site. 

 

Theme Park (Phase III) Extension

·                      Schedule noisy construction activities, particularly the reclamation filling and building works, within 500 m from the nesting site in the Pa Tau Kwu woodland, outside the White-bellied Sea Eagles breeding period (generally October to April).

 

·                      Protect the Pa Tau Kwu secondary woodland area where the pair of White-bellied Sea Eagles are present from Theme Park (Phase III) Extension.  The Pa Tau Kwu area has been zoned Conservation Area in the Draft RODP (see Figure 7.7b), with a buffer area comprising an open area of water bodies of approximately 10 ha surrounding the woodland area to prevent any close disturbance from development within 200 m.

 

·                      Use quietened construction plant and equipment for Theme Park (Phase III) Extension reclamation (refer Section 4).

 

·                      Build 3 m height cantilevered noise barriers in the section/area of the Road P2 and PBRL extension near to the Pa Tau Kwu nest site (see Figure 7.7b), to reduce the noise disturbance from operation traffic.

 

·                      Design layout to minimise operational noise disturbance from Theme Park or other recreational use.

 

 

Construction Practice

·                      Use sediment traps and stilling ponds to minimise potential sedimentation impact on natural streams.

 

·                      Erect fences where practical along the boundary of construction sites before the commencement of works to prevent tipping, vehicle movements, and encroachment of personnel into adjacent areas, particularly where the rare/protected species, such as locally rare rice fishOryzias latipes in Mong Tung Hang stream, White-bellied Sea Eagles Haliaeetus leucogaster at Pa Tau Kwu woodland, Scleria lithosperma at Fa Peng, Fimbristylis acuminata,Fimbristylis complanata and Pitcher plant Nepenthes mirabilis behind the Cheoy Lee shipyard are located.

 

·                      Reinstate temporary work sites/disturbed areas to its original conditions immediately after completion of the construction.

 

·                      Select haul routes, storage and works areas etc. to avoid or minimize disturbance to ecological significant areas (refer to Figure 7.4a).

 

·                      Check the work site boundaries regularly to ensure that are not exceeded and that no damage occurs to surrounding natural habitats.

 

·                      Prohibit and prevent open fires within the work site boundary during construction and provide temporary fire fighting equipment in the work areas.

 

·                      Ensure no access for site workers or delivery of machinery from Pa Tau Kwu Pak Wan and Pa Tau Kwu Nam Wan.

 

7.8              CKWLR: Identification of Environmental Impacts

7.8.1        The potential sources of terrestrial ecological impact arising from the CKWLR is also covered in Section 7.5.

7.9              CKWLR: Assessment of Environmental Impacts

7.9.1        The assessment of the environmental impacts associated with CKWLR is covered in Section 7.6.

7.10          CKWLR: Mitigation of Adverse Environmental Impacts

7.10.1    The mitigation of the terrestrial ecological impact arising from the CKWLR is covered in Section 7.7.

7.11          Residual Environmental Impacts

7.11.1    With the implementation of the mitigation measures recommended above, there may still be residual terrestrial ecological impacts associated with the NSLD. 

7.11.2    Although construction disturbance effects (e.g. noise), particularly those from the CKWLR and Theme Park (Phase III) Extension works, could potentially be controlled such that disturbance to the White-bellied Sea Eagles at Pa Tau Kwu woodland would be minimised, abandonment of the nest site as result of operational disturbances could not be ruled out as a worst case scenario.  However the White-bellied Sea Eagles should be able to find suitable alternative nesting sites, such as the remote Tang Lung Chau or Kau Yi Chau (with previous record of White-bellied Sea Eagles breeding but the nest sites have been abandoned),  Southeast Lantau, or Sunshine Island with woodland areas, should they abandon the nesting site at the Pa Tau Kwu.

7.11.3    Fresh water stream habitats have been avoided (approximately 100 m Yam O stream) and compensated for as far as practicable.  The net loss of approximately 480 m of low to moderate value upper stream courses after mitigation is a residual impact considered to be acceptable given the presence of similar habitats in the Tsing Chau Tsai headland.

7.11.4    The 7 ha of woodland compensation planting will adequately compensate the loss of 2.2 ha of secondary woodland.  Transplanting of impacted individuals of the rare, restricted or protected plant Thespesia populnea, Amorphophallus variabilis,Eriocaulon merrilli and Schoenus falcatus should be undertaken to minimise their unavoidable any direct loss.  For the other habitat types impacted, given their low ecological importance, the residual impact is considered minimal.

7.12          Ecological Monitoring and Audit (EM&A) Requirement

Introduction

 

7.12.1    The implementation of the recommended mitigation measures in Section 7.7 and 7.10 should be monitored and audited during detailed design, construction and operation stages.

7.12.2    A specific monitoring programme for the White-bellied Sea Eagles on Pa Tau Kwu, and the impacted rare/restricted/protected plant Thespesia populnea, Eriocaulon merrilli and Schoenus falcatus are recommended for CKWLR and NLDFS.  The monitoring field work should be undertaken by an avian specialist and botanist with at least three years of local experience in ecological monitoring, respectively.  See Project EM & A Manual for details.

White-bellied Sea Eagles

Baseline

7.12.3    Monitoring should be undertaken for 3 months (February-April 2000) prior to commencement of works, and should have as its primary focus, providing the baseline data on the White-bellied Sea Eagles on Pa Tau Kwu, to establish whether or not the White-bellied Sea Eagles are still present and their activities on Pa Tau Kwu before the reclamation works start. 

7.12.4    Field surveys should be at a frequency of a whole day period once or twice per month depending on breeding activity period or not, respectively.  The field surveys should be evenly spread over the duration of the monitoring programme.  Information should be collected on behaviour,  breeding activity, and responses to any disturbances.

Monitoring During Construction

7.12.5    During NLDFS and CKWLR construction, field surveys should be at a frequency of twice per month during periods of breeding activity (October to April), and once per month at other times of the year.  The field surveys should be evenly spread over the duration of the monitoring programme.  Information should be collected on behaviour, breeding activity, and any responses to disturbances.  Any disturbance of the breeding pair should be examined in conjunction with  the construction noise monitoring and other events related to the works.

7.12.6    A simple Event and Action Plan is recommended in Table 7.12a.  This plan assumes that the White-bellied Sea Eagles are seldom absent from their territory on Pa Tau Kwu and this will be verified during the baseline monitoring.


Table 7.12a - Event and Action Plan During Construction

Event

Action

 

Environmental Manager (EM)

Contractor

Absence of White-bellied Sea Eagle during whole day monitoring period

1. Increase monitoring to daily frequency

 

1. Check all construction actions and working methods

 

2. Notify Site Engineer

2. Submit proposals for remedial actionto prevent theWhite-bellied Sea Eagles abandoning the existing nesting site

 

3. If absence persists, review construction activities, within 1 km from nest site, of previous week

3. Implement remedial action

 

4. Identify any changes in construction activities, within 1 km from nest site, in previous week

4. Liaise with EM regarding effectiveness of remedial actions

 

5. Discuss remedial actions with Site Engineer such as adjustment of construction method

 

 

Monitoring During Operation

7.12.7    During operation of Theme Park (Phase I and II), field surveys for the first two years should be at a frequency of twice per month during periods of breeding activity, and once per month at other times of the year.  The field surveys should be evenly spread over the duration of the monitoring programme.  Information should be collected on behaviour, breeding activity, and any responses to disturbances.  Any disturbance of the White-bellied Sea Eagles should be examined in conjunction with the fireworks noise monitoring and other events related to the operation of Theme Park (Phase I and II).

7.12.8    A simple Event and Action Plan is recommended in Table 7.9b.  This plan assumes that the White-bellied Sea Eagles are seldom absent from their territory on Pa Tau Kwu and this will be verified during the baseline and construction monitoring.

Table 7.12b - Event and Action Plan During Operation

Event

Action

 

Environmental Manager (EM)

Theme Park Operator

Absence of White-bellied Sea Eagle during whole day monitoring period

1. Increase monitoring to daily frequency

 

1. Check all operation actions

 

2. Notify Theme Park Operator

2. Submit proposals for remedial action to prevent the White-bellied Sea Eagles abandoning the existing nesting site

 

3. If absence persists, review operation activities of previous week

3. Implement remedial action

 

4. Identify any changes in operation activities in previous week

4. Liaise with EM regarding effectiveness of remedial actions

 

5. Discuss remedial actions with Theme Park Operator

 

 


Rare/Restricted/Protected Plant

7.12.9    Once the affected individual of the rare/restricted/protected plant Thespesia populnea, Eriocaulon merrilli and Schoenus falcatus are transplanted to the selected sites (see Section 7.7.1) before the works start, three years of monthly monitoring will be required to check the performance and health condition of the plants and to ensure no adverse effect on the plants.  The field monitoring should be evenly spread over the duration of the monitoring programme.  A remedial action should be undertaken for any unsuccessful transplantation, e.g. the seed stocks of the herbal species Eriocaulon merrilli and Schoenus falcatus could be used for second trial on the same site or other suitable site depending on the reasons of first trial failure.

Conclusion

7.12.10    The major habitat types within the Study Area comprises secondary woodland, tall shrubland, grassland/shrubland mosaic, brackish/freshwater wetland, village/orchard, wasteland, plantation, freshwater streams, as well as backshore vegetation.  The field surveys which have been undertaken indicate that the grassland/shrubland mosaic, which are typical of similar habitats elsewhere in Hong Kong, are the main habitat type.  The identified secondary woodland, backshore vegetation and freshwater stream habitats are considered to have moderate to high ecological value, and all the others habitats a low value. 

7.12.11    Five plant species with ecological interest may be affected by the proposed Development and CKWLR, includingThespesia populnea at Fa Peng and Pa Tau Kwu Pak Wan, Lilium brownii at Fa Peng Teng,Amorphophallus variabilis at Tso Wan, Eriocaulon merrilli at Penny’s Bay and Schoenus falcatus at Penny’s Bay and Chok Ko Wan Tsui.  Two locally rare faunal species have been recorded in the Study Area: the Rice Fish (Oryzias latipes) in the lower Mong Tung Hang Stream and the White-bellied Sea Eagle (Haliaeetus leucogaster) in the Pa Tau Kwu woodland. 

7.12.12    The proposed developments associated with the NSLD and CKWLR will generally lead to a loss of low ecological value terrestrial habitats with low ecological impact.  Mitigation measures for the development are recommended to avoid or reduce the potential impacts on the secondary woodlands, backshore vegetation, natural streams, rare/restricted/protected plant species, Rice Fish and White-bellied Sea Eagle.  Woodland planting, stream habitat creation is recommended to compensate for the loss of secondary woodland and freshwater stream habitats.

7.12.13    Construction disturbance effects (e.g. noise), particularly those from the CKWLR and Theme Park (Phase III) Extension works, could potentially be controlled such that disturbance to the White-bellied Sea Eagles at the Pa Tau Kwu woodland would be minimised, and the Theme Park fireworks displays would be located as far away from the nesting site as possible to minimize potential disturbance, abandonment of the nest site as result of operational disturbances could not be ruled out as a worst case scenario.  However the White-bellied Sea Eagles should be able to find suitable alternative nesting sites, such as the remote Tang Lung Chau and Kau Yi Chau (with previous record of White-bellied Sea Eagles breeding but the nest sites have been abandoned),  Southeast Lantau, or Sunshine Island with woodland areas, should they abandon the nesting site at the Pa Tau Kwu.

7.12.14    A summary of impact prediction, mitigation measures and residual impacts associated with the proposed NLDFS was shown in Table 7.13a.

Table 7.12a - Summary of Major Ecological Impacts for NLDFS

Issue

Construction Impact

Operational Impact

Theme Park (Exclude CKWLR)

Potential Impacts

Loss of approximately 0.4 ha of secondary woodland at Ngong Shuen Au, 2.3 ha of grassland/shrubland mosaic and 0.7 ha of brackish wetland;

Loss of rare plant Eriocaulon merrilliand Schoenus falcatus;

Indirect impact, particularly noise disturbance, to the locally rare White-bellied Sea Eagle Haliaeetus leucogaster at Pa Tau Kwu secondary woodland;

Indirect impact to rare/restricted plants species Fimbristylis acuminata,Fimbristylis complanata and pitcher plant Nepenthes mirabilis behind the Cheoy Lee shipyard of Penny’s Bay, Berchemia lineata and Scleria rugosa along the west coast of Penny’s Bayand therare Rice FishOryzias latipes in Mong Tung Hang stream.

Indirect impact, particularly noise disturbance due to night-time Theme Park operations (including fireworks and laser show), to the locally rare White-bellied Sea Eagle Haliaeetus leucogaster;

 

Mitigation

Compensatory woodland planting on the adjacent hill side to the east of Ngong Shuen Au;

Use quietened construction plant and equipment for Penny’s Bay Stage II and Stage III reclamation;

Schedule noisy construction activities, particularly CKWLR blasting activities, the reclamation filling and building works, within 500 m from the nesting site in the Pa Tau Kwu woodland, outside the White-bellied Sea Eagles breeding period (generally October to April);

Protect the Pa Tau Kwu secondary woodland area where the pair of White-bellied Sea Eagles are present from Theme Park (Phase III) Extension.  The Pa Tau Kwu area has been zoned Conservation Area in the RODP, with a buffer area comprising an open area of water body of approximately 10 ha surrounding the woodland area to prevent any close disturbance from development within 200 m;

Prohibit construction workers access to the nesting site of White-bellied Sea Eagles at Pa Tau Kwu secondary woodland through warning and regular audit by Site Engineer, and fence off the public land access from the development areas;

Locate Theme Park fireworks launching site as far away from the nesting site as possible. However, it was considered not practicable for the Phase II launching site to locate elsewhere due to the constraints on the Theme Park design pertaining to guest safety.  The launch site for the Theme Park Phase I is located approximately 2 km from Pa Tau Kwu;

Build 3 m height cantilevered noise barriers in the section/area of the Road P2 and Rail Link near to the Pa Tau Kwu nest site, to reduce the noise disturbance from operation traffic.

 

Adjust development/ construction area to avoid/minimize direct impact on the locally restricted, rare or protected plant species.  If avoidance of these plant species is not possible, transplanting of affected individuals should be undertaken;

 

 

Erect fences where practical along the boundary of construction sites before the commencement of works to prevent tipping, vehicle movements, and encroachment of personnel into adjacent areas, particularly where the rare/protected species, are located;

Reinstate temporary work sites/disturbed areas to its original conditions immediately after completion of the construction;

Select haul routes, storage and works areas etc. to avoid or minimize disturbance to ecological significant areas (refer to Figure 7.4a);

Check the work site boundaries regularly to ensure that are not exceeded and that no damage occurs to surrounding natural habitats;

 

 

Prohibit and prevent open fires within the work site boundary during construction and provide temporary fire fighting equipment in the work areas;

Ensure no access for site workers or delivery of machinery from Pa Tau Kwu Pak Wan and Pa Tau Kwu Nam Wan.

 

Residual Impacts

With the implementation of the recommended mitigation measures, no significant residual impact are expected, however, abandonment of the nest by the White-bellied Sea Eagle can not be ruled out.

In the worst case of abandonment of the White-bellied Sea Eagle from their nest during operation, possible suitable habitat and nesting sites are available in the vicinity of the Assessment Area and thus no residual impact is predicted.

Environmental Acceptability

No significant adverse residual impacts.

No significant adverse residual impacts.

Chok Ko Wan Link Road

Potential Impacts

Loss of approximately 1.4 ha of secondary woodland, 4.6 ha of tall shrubland and 15.5 ha of grassland/shrubland mosaic and 550 m of mid to upland stream behind the Penny’s Bay Gas Turbine Plant due to the alignment across the Tsing Chau Tsai headland;

There may be direct impact on the restricted plants Thespesia populnea;

 

 

The indirect general noise disturbance from the CKWLR construction on the White-bellied Sea Eagles nesting and roosting site at Pa Tau Kwu would be limited as the works would be undertaken in a valley and topographically screened from the Pa Tau Kwu site.  However due to tight construction work programme, blasting activities will be required for the whole stretch of the CKWLR in the valley, which at the nearest point is approximately 250 m from the nest site.  Unmitigated noise disturbance from the proposed blasting works may result in the  abandonment of the nesting and roosting site, or breeding failure.

 

Mitigation

Compensatory woodland planting on the adjacent hill side to the east of Ngong Shuen Au;

Adjust development/ construction area to avoid/minimize direct impact on the locally restricted, rare or protected plant species.  If avoidance of these plant species is not possible, transplanting of affected individuals should be undertaken;

Design and construct 220 m long drainage channels along the CKWLR to mimic natural streams to compensate for the unavoidable loss of stream courses due to the CKWLR construction;

Use sediment traps and stilling ponds to minimise potential sedimentation impact on natural streams;

Erect fences where practical along the boundary of construction sites before the commencement of works to prevent tipping, vehicle movements, and encroachment of personnel into adjacent areas, particularly where the rare/protected species are located; Reinstate temporary work sites/disturbed areas to its original conditions immediately after completion of the construction;

Select haul routes, storage and works areas etc. to avoid or minimize disturbance to ecological significant areas;

 

 

Check the work site boundaries regularly to ensure that are not exceeded and that no damage occurs to surrounding natural habitats;

Prohibit and prevent open fires within the work site boundary during construction and provide temporary fire fighting equipment in the work areas;

Ensure no access for site workers or delivery of machinery from Pa Tau Kwu Pak Wan and Pa Tau Kwu Nam Wan.

 

Residual Impacts

Fresh water stream habitats have been avoided and compensated for as far as practicable, there will be a residual loss of approximately 430 m of low to moderate value upper stream courses..

 

Environmental Acceptability

No significant adverse residual impacts.

 

 

Other NSLD

 

 

Potential Impacts

Loss of approximately 1 ha of secondary woodland, 8 ha of tall shrubland, 25.8 ha of grassland/shrubland mosaic and 250 m of freshwater stream;

Loss of rare/restricted plant Amorphophallus variabilis at Tso Wan Thespesia populnea at Fa Peng and Lilium brownii at Fa Peng Teng;

Indirect impact to rare/restricted plants species Fimbristylis acuminata,Fimbristylis complanata and pitcher plant Nepenthes mirabilis behind the Cheoy Lee shipyard of Penny’s Bay, and therare Rice FishOryzias latipes in Mong Tung Hang stream.

 

Mitigation

Compensatory woodland planting on the adjacent hill side to the east of Ngong Shuen Au;

Design the proposed Village Expansion Area at Tso Wan to avoid and minimize impact on the secondary woodland, natural stream habitats and the rare plant Amorphophallus variabilis;

Design the trails, lookout areas, landscape plantings in the Countryside Conservation Area on the Tsing Chau Tsai headland to avoid the identified plant species of ecological interest including Lilium brownii, as well as their required habitats;

Design the proposed Water Service Reservoirs and Waterworks reserve at Yam O Tuk to avoid the freshwater stream course;

 

 

Avoid any development, particularly the trails connecting Mong Tung Hang to lookout areas on Fa Peng Teng, to affect the natural Mong Tung Hang Stream, particularly the lower stream section where the locally rare Rice Fish was recorded;

Use sediment traps and stilling ponds to minimise potential sedimentation impact on natural streams;

Erect fences where practical along the boundary of construction sites before the commencement of works to prevent tipping, vehicle movements, and encroachment of personnel into adjacent areas, particularly where the rare/protected species are located;

Reinstate temporary work sites/disturbed areas to its original conditions immediately after completion of the construction;

Select haul routes, storage and works areas etc. to avoid or minimize disturbance to ecological significant areas;

Check the work site boundaries regularly to ensure that are not exceeded and that no damage occurs to surrounding natural habitats;

Prohibit and prevent open fires within the work site boundary during construction and provide temporary fire fighting equipment in the work areas;

Ensure no access for site workers or delivery of machinery from Pa Tau Kwu Pak Wan and Pa Tau Kwu Nam Wan.

 

Residual Impacts

No residual impacts identified.

 

Environmental Acceptability

No significant adverse residual impacts.

 

The cost estimated for the proposed mitigation for NLDFS is approximately HK$5,625,000.