8.             TERRESTRIAL ECOLOGY

8.1          Introduction

8.1.1       The following section presents the results of an ecological assessment of potential impacts resulting from the Project. Reference was made to previous assessments of the area. Field surveys were undertaken to supplement and assess the validity of data from previous assessments. As stated in the EIAO-TM, the aim of ecological impact assessment is to provide sufficient and accurate ecological data to allow a complete and objective identification, prediction and evaluation of the potential ecological impacts.

8.2          Environmental Legislation, Plans, Standards and Guidelines

8.2.1       Guidelines, standards, documents and HKSAR Government ordinances and regulations listed below were referred to during the course of the ecological impact assessment.

         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.

         The Forests and Countryside Ordinance (Cap. 96) 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 restricted and protected plant species. The list of protected species in Hong Kong, 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.

         Under the Wild Animals Protection Ordinance (Cap. 170), 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, including marine cetaceans, are protected under this Ordinance.

         The amended Town Planning Ordinance (Cap. 131) 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.

         The Protection of Endangered Species of Animals and Plants Ordinance (Cap. 586) provides protection for certain plant and animal species through controlling or prohibiting trade in the species.

         Chapter 10 of the Hong Kong Planning Standards and Guidelines (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 describes enforcement issues. The appendices list the legislation and administrative controls for conservation, other conservation related measures in Hong Kong and government departments involved in conservation.

         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.

         Environmental Impact Assessment Ordinance (EIAO) Guidance Note No. 3/2010 provides general guidelines for assessing the recommended environmental mitigation measures in Environmental Impact Assessment reports.

         EIAO Guidance Note No. 6/2010 clarifies the requirements of ecological assessments under the EIAO.

         EIAO Guidance Note No. 7/2010 provides general guidelines for conducting ecological baseline surveys in order to fulfil requirements stipulated in the EIAO-TM.

         EIAO Guidance Note No. 10/2010 introduces general methodologies for conducting terrestrial and freshwater ecological baseline surveys.

         ETWB TCW No. 3/2006 Tree Preservation sets out the policy on tree preservation, and the procedures for control of tree felling, transplanting and pruning in Government projects.

         The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species provides taxonomic, conservation status and distribution information on taxa that have been evaluated using the IUCN Red List Categories and Criteria. This system is designed to determine the relative risk of extinction, and the main purpose of the IUCN Red List is to catalogue and highlight those taxa that are facing a higher risk of global extinction. The IUCN Red List also includes information on taxa that are either close to meeting the threatened thresholds or that would be threatened were it not for an ongoing taxon-specific conservation programme.

         The Key Protected Wildlife Species List details Category I and Category II protected animal species under the PRCs Wild Animal Protection Law.

8.3          Assessment Methodology

Study Area

8.3.1       In accordance with Clause 3.4.9.2 of the EIA Study Brief, the study area for the purpose of terrestrial ecological impact assessment, including freshwater habitats, included areas within 500 m distance from the site boundary of the Project.

Literature Review

8.3.2       In accordance with Clause 3.4.9.4(i) of the EIA Study Brief, relevant studies/surveys and information regarding the ecological character of the study area were collated and reviewed. The information collected was evaluated to identify any information gaps relating to the assessment of potential ecological impacts.

8.3.3       A literature review of ecological conditions and relevant data on flora and fauna that lies within a 500 m distance from the site boundary was taken from the following resources:

         Agreement No. CE 42/96 Route 16 Investigation Assignment from West Kowloon to Sha Tin Alternative Alignment EIA Study (HyD, 1999); and

         Shatin to Central Link Tai Wai to Hung Hom Section Environmental Impact Assessment Study (MTRC, 2011).

8.3.4       Other relevant reports from private sector or Government included:

         Avifauna of Hong Kong (Carey et al., 2001);

         Rare and Precious Plants of Hong Kong (Hu et al., 2003);

         Flora of Hong Kong (Volumes 1 to 4) published by AFCD;

         A Field Guide to the Terrestrial Mammals of Hong Kong (Shek, 2006);

         Hong Kong Biodiversity newsletter of AFCD;

         Porcupine! newsletter of Department of Ecology & Biodiversity of University of Hong Kong.

         AFCD Hong Kong Biodiversity Survey Database (2002-2011) (unpublished);

         Annual Report and other Publications of The Hong Kong Bird Watching Society; and

         Memoirs of Hong Kong Natural History Society.

Ecological Surveys

8.3.5       Based on the findings of literature review, field surveys were carried out to fill information gaps identified and verify the information collected, to fulfill the objectives of this EIA according to Clause 3.4.9.4 (iii) of the EIA Study Brief. The methodologies for ecological surveys and impact assessment presented below were prepared in accordance with the criteria and guidelines in Annexes 8 and 16 of the EIAO-TM, EIAO Guidance Note No. 7/2010 and 10/2010.

Ecological Survey Programme

8.3.6       An eleven-month ecological survey was conducted from October 2010 to August 2011 covering both dry and wet seasons. The details of the survey programme are summarized in Table 8.1.

 

Table 8.1 Ecological Survey Programme

 

Ecological Survey

2010

2011

Wet

Season

Dry

Season

Wet

Season

Oct

Nov

Dec

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Habitat Mapping and Vegetation

 

 

 

 

 

 

Avifauna (Day)

 

Avifauna (Night)

 

 

 

 

 

Terrestrial Mammal (Day)1

 

Terrestrial Mammal (Night)1

 

 

 

 

 

Herpetofauna (Day)

 

 

 

 

Herpetofauna (Night)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Butterfly, Dragonfly and Damselfly

 

 

 

 

Freshwater Communities

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Note:

1.     Infrared camera was deployed for terrestrial mammal survey from June 2011 to August 2011.

8.3.7       A verification field visit was conducted in September 2014 to check the condition of the habitats within the study area. Findings of the ecological survey and verification field visit were incorporated in the description of the environment presented in Section 8.4.

Habitat Mapping and Vegetation Surveys

8.3.8       Habitats within the study area were identified, sized and mapped. Ecological characteristics of each habitat type including size, vegetation type, species present, dominant species found, species diversity and abundance, community structure, seasonal patterns and inter-dependence of the habitats and species, and presence of any features of ecological importance were defined and characterized. Representative photographs of the habitat types and of important ecological features identified were taken. A desktop review of aerial photographs developed habitat maps of a suitable scale (1:1000 to 1:5000) showing the types and locations of habitats in the study area. The habitat maps were then verified during ground truthing.

8.3.9       Vegetation surveys were conducted throughout dry and wet seasons, by direct observation, to record diversity and dominance of plant species present in different habitat types. Areas with similar vegetation composition were categorized under the same habitat type. The locations of any plant species of conservation importance were recorded. Identification of flora species and status in Hong Kong was made with reference to Flora of Hong Kong (Volume 1 4) (2007, 2008, 2009, 2011 respectively), Hong Kong Herbarium (AFCD, 2014a), and Corlett et al. (2000).

Avifauna Surveys

8.3.10    Avifauna species present and relative abundance of species in different habitats were surveyed visually and aurally by transect counts (Figure 8.1 and Figure 8.2 refer). The location of any avifauna species of conservation importance encountered was recorded, along with notable behaviour (e.g. breeding behaviour such as nesting and presence of recently fledged juveniles, roosting, and feeding activities). Night surveys were also conducted to record nocturnal avifauna. Ornithological nomenclature in this report follows Carey et al. (2001).

Mammal Survey

8.3.11    Mammal surveys were conducted in areas which may potentially be utilized by terrestrial mammals during day and night time. The surveys focused on searching for field signs such as droppings, footprints, diggings or burrows left by larger terrestrial mammals. Mammal identification was made to the lowest possible taxon from the field signs. In addition, any mammal directly observed was also identified. Locations of mammal species of conservation importance were recorded. Nomenclature of mammal follows Shek (2006).

8.3.12    Flying mammals were detected with the use of a bat detector. Whilst a formal bat survey was not undertaken, the survey aimed to identify the bat species utilizing the site for commuting and foraging. A surveyor walked a continuous pre-determined transect route around the site covering linear and other features likely to be used by bats such as lines of trees, tracks, woodland edge and waterbodies. The surveyor was equipped with an ultrasonic bat detector. This enabled identification of most bat species in the field, using the heterodyne output. However, a digital MP3 recorder was also employed to record all bat calls for later analysis using BatScan computer software.

8.3.13    Infrared camera trap was used from June to August 2011 to record the presence of mammals with minimal disturbance to wildlife. Motion of wildlife was detected through the infrared outputs which then triggered the camera. The camera was set in locations where evidences of mammals such as burrows, animal tracks and possible corridors were present. In an attempt to maximize opportunities of observing different species, the camera was set at various locations within the secondary woodland habitat. The camera was strapped securely to a tree or a post about 30cm above ground and a test-run was conducted by the surveyor to ensure the camera was working properly. The camera was then left overnight to capture images of diurnal and nocturnal species. After retrieving the camera the following day, the memory card of the camera was analyzed and any images of wildlife were identified.

Dragonfly, Damselfly and Butterfly Survey

8.3.14    Dragonflies, damselflies and butterflies within the study area were surveyed along the transect adopted for the avifauna survey (Figure 8.1 and Figure 8.2 refer). Relative abundance of dragonfly, damselfly and butterfly encountered was recorded. Nomenclature of dragonfly and damselfly follows Tam et al. (2011), and nomenclature of butterfly follows Lo (2005).

Herpetofauna Survey

8.3.15    Herpetofauna (amphibian and reptile) within the study area were surveyed qualitatively during both daytime and night-time. Potential microhabitats (e.g., leaf litter, underneath of rotten logs) were actively searched. All reptiles and amphibians sighted or heard were recorded, supplemented by observation of eggs and tadpoles of frogs and toads. Nomenclature of amphibian follows Chan et al. (2005), and reptile follows Karsen et al. (1998).

Freshwater Communities Survey

8.3.16    Freshwater fish and invertebrate communities were surveyed via active searching and direct observation at watercourse sections within the study area during dry and wet seasons. The sampling locations of the freshwater communities surveys are shown in Figure 8.1 and Figure 8.2. Boulders within the watercourse were carefully turned over to locate any aquatic animals beneath. A hand net was used to collect organisms along the watercourse. Organisms encountered were recorded and identified to the lowest possible taxon level.

Verification Field Visit

8.3.17    A verification field visit was conducted with an aim to check and verify the condition of the habitats within the study area. The habitat map was updated based on desktop review of updated aerial photographs and ground truthing along the transects as shown in Figure 8.1 and Figure 8.2.

8.4          Description of the Environment

Areas of Conservation Importance

8.4.1       The only known area of conservation importance identified within the study area is Lion Rock Country Park situated about 300 m south of the Project site (Figure 8.3 and Figure 8.4 refer). The park is known to support high avifauna diversity (AFCD, 2013). Fauna of conservation importance such as Black Kite (Milvus migrans), Longtailed Macaque (Macaca fascicularis) and Tokay Gecko (Gekko gecko), can be found (AFCD, 2013; Chan et al., 2006). Flora species such as Chinese Red Pine (Pinus massoniana), Chinese Hackberry (Celtis sinensis), Incense Tree (Aquilaria sinensis), and Chinese New Year Flower (Enkianthus quinqueflorus) are also common in the park (AFCD, 2013).

Habitat and Vegetation

Literature Review

8.4.2       The Route 16 Investigation Assignment from West Kowloon to Sha Tin Alternative Alignment EIA and Shatin to Central Link (SCL) Tai Wai to Hung Hom Section EIA studies recorded four habitats within the study area, namely: secondary woodland, natural watercourse/stream, plantation and developed area (HyD, 1999; MTRC, 2011).

8.4.3       The SCL Tai Wai to Hung Hom Section EIA Study located three flora species of conservation importance within the study area namely, Incense Tree (Aquilaria sinensis), Lamb of Tartary (Cibotium barometz) and Hong Kong Pavetta (Pavetta hongkongensis) (MTRC, 2011). Saplings of Incense Trees were recorded in plantation habitat southwest of Hin Keng Estate. Lamb of Tartary and anecdotal evidence of Hong Kong Pavetta were reported from the secondary woodland near Hin Keng Estate and the secondary woodland of Tei Lung Hau, respectively.

Recent Survey Results

8.4.4       Four terrestrial habitat types were identified, namely secondary woodland, plantation, watercourse and developed area during the recent ecological surveys under this Project. Table 8.2 summarizes the size of each habitat type within the study area.

8.4.5       A habitat map of the study area is illustrated in Figure 8.3 and Figure 8.4. Representative photographs of habitats are given in Appendix 8.1. Photographs of plant species of conservation importance are presented in Appendix 8.2. Vegetation recorded within the study area is listed in Appendix 8.3.

8.4.6       The findings of the verification field visit showed that the habitat condition remained largely unchanged. A patch of plantation of about 0.44ha and secondary woodland of about 0.13ha was transformed into developed area. The changes were mainly attributed to the construction of Hin Keng Portal under the Shatin to Central Link (SCL) project.

 

Table 8.2 Habitats Recorded within the Study Area

Habitat Type

Area (ha)

Percentage of Total Area (%)

Secondary Woodland

97.58

54%

Plantation

23.41

13%

Watercourse

1.85

1%

Developed Area

56.77

32%

Total:

179.61

100%

Secondary Woodland

8.4.7       Secondary woodlands are confined to the hillsides surrounding the Sha Tin WTW apart from the developed residential areas of Hin Keng Estate and road network located on the east. The southern end of the secondary woodland is continuous with Lion Rock Country Park. Secondary woodland on the north and west side of the Sha Tin WTW extends to the plantations on the edge of Tai Po Road. This habitat is largely undisturbed, but the periphery is subjected to disturbance from Sha Tin WTW operation, road traffic and recreation uses. Evidences of hunting activities were also noted at the proposed Water Treatment Works Logistics Centre.

8.4.8       The woodland near Keng Hau Road, inside the Lion Rock Country Park and Tei Lung Hau was covered by the transect. Attempts made to survey the woodland surrounding Shatin Water Treatment Works through Keng Hau Road, Tai Po Road, and the walking trail within Lion Rock Country Park, were unsuccessful as the accessibility was blocked by wire mesh or steep slopes.

8.4.9       Moderate floral diversity (197 flora species) was recorded in this habitat (Appendix 8.3 refers). The overstorey vegetation species consisted of a closed canopy with a height between 4 to 15 meters. The proposed site for the Water Treatment Works Logistics Centre would be located at the margin of the woodland where was found more shrubby in nature. Dominant native species included Alangium chinensis, Caesalpinia crista, Litsea rotundifolia, Psychotria asiatica, Schefflera heptaphylla, and Sterculia lanceolata. Six flora species of conservation importance were recorded in the woodland habitat within the study area including Incense Tree (Aquilaria sinensis), Ailanthus (Ailanthus fordii), Hong Kong Pavetta (Pavetta hongkongensis), Hairy-fruit Ormosia (Ormosia pachycarpa), Lamb of Tartary (Cibotium barometz), and Hong Kong Eagles Claw (Artabotrys hongkongensis). Photographic records of flora species of conservation importance are provided in Appendix 8.2.

8.4.10    Incense Tree was recorded at the proposed site for the Water Treatment Works Logistics Centre, which is located in the secondary woodland, west of the developed area of the Sha Tin WTW. Several individuals of Incense Trees at the proposed works site were logged. In addition, some individuals were recorded in scattered parts of the secondary woodland areas outside of the site boundary but within the study area (Figure 8.3 and Figure 8.4 refer). This species is common in Hong Kong and is usually found in lowland forest and fung shui woods (Xing et al., 2000). However, it is threatened due to destruction of habitat, over-exploitation and damage to the tree during the harvesting of its medicinal balm for ornamental and medicinal purposes (IUCN, 2014). It is classified as vulnerable in the IUCN Red List (2014). In China, Incense Tree is also categorized as vulnerable (AFCD, 2014a) and Class II protected plant (Near Threatened) in the List of Wild Plants under State Protection (Hu et al., 2003). In Hong Kong, it is protected under the Protection of Endangered Species of Animals and Plants Ordinance (Cap. 586).

8.4.11    One individual of Ailanthus was found located in the proposed Water Treatment Works Logistics Centre adjacent to the developed area of the Sha Tin WTW (Figure 8.3 and Figure 8.4 refer). This native species has a rare distribution in Hong Kong and is listed under the Forests and Countryside Ordinance (Cap.96) (AFCD, 2014a). Ailanthus occurs exclusively and discontinuously in Hong Kong and southern Yunnan, and it is recognized as near threatened in China (Hu et al., 2003).

8.4.12    Several small populations of Lamb of Tartary were recorded on the secondary woodland slopes of the proposed site for the Water Treatment Works Logistics Centre within the site boundary. In addition, a small population was recorded near the vicinity of the site boundary in the upstream of Watercourse 1. Further away, another population was recorded in the Lion Rock Country Park approximately 400 m from the site boundary (Figure 8.4 refers). Although this is a common species in Hong Kong, the Chinese medicinal use of the plant has led to over-exploitation (Hu et al., 2004). Therefore, it is protected under the Protection of Endangered Species of Animals and Plants Ordinance (Cap.586) (AFCD, 2014a).

8.4.13    Hong Kong Eagles Claw was recorded in secondary woodland on the west side of the site boundary (Figure 8.3 and Figure 8.4 refer). Although this native species is not protected under legislation (AFCD, 2014a), due to the potential economic value of its flowers it is considered to be a rare plant of Hong Kong (Hu et al., 2003).

8.4.14    Hong Kong Pavetta has been recorded in the southern portion of the study area, approximately 350 m away from the site boundary, just north of Watercourse 4 (Figure 8.4 refers). This common and native species is listed under the Forests and Countryside Ordinance (Cap.96) (AFCD, 2014a).

8.4.15    Hairy-fruit Ormosia is listed as a rare or precious plant in Hong Kong due to the durability of its wood (Hu et al., 2003). One individual was recorded in the secondary woodland near Lion Rock Country Park, north of Watercourse 4 approximately 320m from the site boundary (Figure 8.4 refers). It has a restricted distribution in Hong Kong (Corlett et al., 2000) and it is recognized as endangered in China (Hu et al., 2003).

Plantation

8.4.16    Most plantation habitats within the study area create a buffer zone between the developed areas and the secondary woodlands. A strip of plantation lies within the site boundary between the developed area of the Sha Tin WTW and Watercourse 1. Plantation habitat is also found running along both sides of Tai Po Road and the south side of Hin Keng Estate. North-east of Lion Rock Country Park, a patch of plantation exists between secondary woodland and developed area. Plantation habitat is also present between the MTR (East Rail Line) and Keng Hau Road and Hin Tin playground (Figure 8.3 and Figure 8.4 refer). There is a high level of disturbance in this habitat due to human activities such as leisure farming and recreational uses.

8.4.17    Exotic planted species including Acacia confusa, Casuarina equisetifolia, Albizia lebbeck, Eucalyptus citriodora and Leucaena leucocephala were recorded in the linear plantation strip within the site boundary and the larger plantation patch north-east of Lion Rock Country Park. Dominant understorey species included commonly found species such as Lantana camara, Microstegium ciliatum, Oxalis corymbosa, Pueraria spp. and Wedelia trilobata.

Watercourse

8.4.18    Three modified watercourses and one catchwater are present within the study area (Figure 8.3 and Figure 8.4 refer). One watercourse (Watercourse 1), located north-west of the Sha Tin WTW, flows from west to east. Two watercourses flowing from south to north, are located south-east of the Sha Tin WTW. One of which lies along the southern and eastern boundaries of the Sha Tin WTW (Watercourse 2), while the other (Watercourse 3) passes through secondary woodland habitat adjacent to Tei Lung Hau. Finally, a catchwater (Watercourse 4) lies along the boundary of Lion Rock Country Park and secondary woodland. Dominant native vegetation species established on the banks of the watercourses included Blechnum orientale, Cyclosorus parasiticus, Dicranopteris pedata, Psychotria asiatica and Rhodomyrtus tomentosa. Dominant exotic species included Bidens alba, Lantana camara and Syngonium podophyllum.

8.4.19    The upper and mid-reaches of Watercourse 1 have natural banks and base with sand and small cobbles as substrate, and is highly shaded by adjacent vegetation. The upstream reach is shallow, 0.3 m in depth, and flows rapidly; however, at the mid-stream reach it becomes slightly deeper at about 0.5 m and the flow rate decreases. The lower reach of this watercourse narrows and becomes channelized with a concrete base. The concrete base creates a variation in depth between approximately 0.3 to 0.6 m.

8.4.20    Watercourse 2 is a channelized watercourse with moderate flow rate. Its substrate is composed of sand and pebbles. Towards the lower-reach of the watercourse polluted discharge flows into the watercourse. As a result of this, the ecological conditions upstream are much more viable for fauna species than that of downstream. Flora species of the surrounding habitat include Microstegium ciliatum, Acacia confusa, Cyclosorus parasiticus, Alocasia odora, Macaranga tanarius, Schefflera heptaphylla, Litsea rotundifolia, Lophosteman confertus, Eucalyptus citriodora and Neyraudia reynaudiana.

8.4.21    Watercourse 3 is located south-east of the Sha Tin WTW, next to Tei Lung Hau. The upper reach is a channelized section with a concrete base and edges; the downstream reach is a natural section, of which substrate is comprised of large boulders. Downstream is highly disturbed by anthropogenic activities (e.g. washing of laundry in watercourse).

8.4.22    Watercourse 4 is a catchwater which runs along the edge of the Lion Rock Country Park. It is slow-flowing and supports minimal vegetation due to its modified nature. Dragonfly species and tadpoles have been observed utilizing this catchwater.

8.4.23    Considering that Watercourse 3 and Watercourse 4 are far from the Project site and direct impact is not anticipated, no detailed freshwater survey at these two watercourses is deemed necessary.

Developed Area

8.4.24    The majority of developed areas are occupied by the water treatment works facilities, residential developments (Hin Keng Estate), roads (Tai Po Road and the Route 8 Toll Plaza), construction sites, and railway (MTR East Rail Line) and associated facilities. The majority of the developed area aside from the Sha Tin WTW is Hin Keng Estate just east of the site boundary. The developed areas within the study area are subject to high disturbance from regular human and vehicular activities. This habitat is mostly void of vegetation. But common horticultural or landscape species such as Bauhinia spp. and Acacia spp. are planted on the roadsides.

Avifauna

Literature Review

8.4.25    Survey results from the Route 16 from West Kowloon to Sha Tin EIA Study in 1999, recorded a total of 22 species of avifauna in the secondary woodland habitats in the vicinity of the study area, of which two are species of conservation importance, these species included Black Kite (Milvus migrans) and Crested Serpent Eagle (Spilornis cheela) (HyD, 1999).

8.4.26    In a more recent study conducted for the Tai Wai to Hung Hom section (MTRC, 2011), survey results identified a total of 36 species of birds in the area surrounding the study site. Black Kite and Crested Serpent Eagle were also observed from the secondary woodland habitat. No breeding activities were recorded. Refer to Table 8.3 for the protection status of these avifauna species.

 

Table 8.3 Avifauna of Conservation Importance Previously Recorded within the Study Area.

Common Name1

Distribution in Hong Kong3

Level of Concern4

Protection Status in China

IUCN Red List 7

Habitat Recorded

Black Kite2

Common

(RC)

Class II5

Least Concern

In Flight

Crested Serpent Eagle2

Uncommon

(LC)

Class II5 Vulnerable6

Least Concern

In Flight

Note:

1.     All wild birds are protected under Wild Animal Protection Ordinance (Cap. 170).

2.     Protected under Protection of Endangered Species of Animals and Plants Ordinance (Cap. 586).

3.     AFCD (2014b).

4.     Fellowes et al. (2002): LC=Local Concern; RC=Regional Concern. Letters in parentheses indicate that the assessment is on the basis of restrictedness in breeding and/or roosting sites rather than in general occurrence.

5.     List of Wild Animals under State Protection (promulgated by State Forestry Administration and Ministry of Agriculture on 14 January, 1989).

6.     China Red Data Book (Zheng & Wang 1998).

7.     IUCN (2014).

Recent Survey Results

8.4.27    In 2010 - 2011, 74 species of avifauna were recorded in total within the study area, thirteen of which are species of conservation importance (Table 8.4 and Appendix 8.4 refer). The avifauna community was dominated by resident species such as Red-whiskered Bulbul (Pycnonotus jocosus), Japanese White-eye (Zosterops japonica) and Eurasian Tree Sparrow (Passer montanus), which are considered to be abundant in Hong Kong. All avifauna species are listed Wild Animals Protection Ordinance (Cap.170) (AFCD, 2014b). Species of conservation importance comprised of mostly woodland species, followed by raptors and two species of ardeids. Species diversity was highest in the secondary woodland habitat. Photographic records of avifauna species of conservation importance are provided in Appendix 8.2.

8.4.28    Within the developed area of the Sha Tin WTW, one individual of Chinese Pond Heron (Ardeola bacchus) has been recorded (Figure 8.3 and Figure 8.4 refer). A common and widely distributed resident in Hong Kong, this species is mainly colonized around the wetlands in the northwest New Territories (AFCD, 2014b; Carey et al., 2001). Chinese Pond Heron is considered to be of potential regional concern (Fellowes et al., 2002). No evidence of breeding/nesting behaviour was recorded during survey.

8.4.29    Most of the Black Kites recorded were seen flying alone, in some cases pairs of Black Kite were seen soaring in the sky in circles. Additionally, there were several observations of individuals perched on man-made structures such as, electric wires and pylons in secondary woodland and plantation habitats. None were recorded within the site boundary (Figure 8.3 and Figure 8.4 refer). Due to its restrictedness in breeding and roosting sites, Black Kites are listed as being of regional concern (Fellowes et al., 2002). However, no evidence of nesting/breeding was recorded during the surveys. Black Kite is a widely distributed common resident and winter visitor of Hong Kong (AFCD, 2014b). It is protected under the Protection of Endangered Species of Animals and Plants Ordinance (Cap.586) (AFCD, 2014b), Class II Protected Animals of PRC and listed in Appendix II of CITES (Zheng and Wang, 1998).

8.4.30    Eastern Buzzard (Buteo japonicus) is widespread in the New Territories and has been reported from a wide variety of habitats at all altitudes (Carey et al., 2001). A perched individual was seen in the developed area (75 m from the Project area) west of Hin Keng Estate (Figure 8.3 and Figure 8.4 refer), another was spotted in flight within the study area. This species is listed under the Protection of Endangered Species of Animals and Plants Ordinance (Cap.586) and in China is under Class II protection (AFCD, 2014b).

8.4.31    Common Emerald Dove (Chalcophaps indica) is a scarce but widespread resident in Hong Kong (AFCD, 2014b). The China Red Data Book recognizes this species as vulnerable. Individuals were reported from the secondary woodland areas just east of the Sha Tin WTW and near the vicinity of Watercourse 3 (Figure 8.3 and Figure 8.4 refer). It is probable that the multiple records within the study area were of the same individual as occasionally the same individuals are regularly recorded over a long period at one site (Carey et. al., 2001).

8.4.32    Collared Scops Owl (Otus bakkamoena) is a nocturnal resident species which inhabits a variety of wooded habitats including forests, Fung Shui woods, shrubland with scattered trees, gardens and city parks (Carey et. al., 2001). Collared Scops Owl is listed under the Protection of Endangered Species of Animals and Plants Ordinance (Cap.586) (AFCD, 2014b). Individuals were heard in the developed area within the Sha Tin WTW and in the secondary woodland just outside of the western site boundary (Figure 8.3 and Figure 8.4 refer). No evidence of breeding/nesting was recorded during survey.

8.4.33    Common in the winter and scarce in the summer of Hong Kong, Grey-chinned Minivet (Pericrocotus solaris) occurs almost exclusively in forested areas of central New Territories (AFCD, 2014b; Carey et. al., 2001). It is listed as of local concern (Fellowes et al., 2002). All records of Grey-chinned Minivet were from the secondary woodland and plantation areas outside the site boundary (Figure 8.3 and Figure 8.4 refer).

8.4.34    Rufous-capped Babbler (Stachyridopsis ruficeps) is an uncommon resident recognized to be of local concern (AFCD, 2014b; Fellowes et al., 2002). Within the site boundary, individuals were recorded in the secondary woodland area of the proposed Water Treatment Works Logistics Centre and in developed area within the Sha Tin WTW. Other individuals were recorded in secondary woodland habitats near the vicinity of Lion Rock Country Park (Figure 8.3 and Figure 8.4 refers).

8.4.35    A flock of Chestnut-collared Yuhina (Yuhina castaniceps) was recorded in the secondary woodland area just north of Lion Rock Country Park approximately 450 m from the site boundary (Figure 8.4 refers). Chestnut-collared Yuhina occur in flocks of two to around 40 individuals with the largest flock being of 55 birds (Carey et. al., 2001). This species is a rare winter visitor with a wide distribution in Hong Kong (AFCD, 2014b). Due to its restrictedness in breeding and roosting sites, this species is regarded as of local concern (Fellowes et al., 2002). However no evidence of breeding/nesting behaviour was observed during survey.

8.4.36    Ashy Drongo (Dicrurus leucophaeus) was recorded in the secondary woodland west of Keng Hau Road approximately 200 m north of the site boundary (Figure 8.3 refers). This scarce winter visitor is listed as local concern (AFCD, 2014b; Fellowes et al., 2002).

8.4.37    The call of an individual Pygmy Wren-babbler (Pnoepyga pusilla) was heard in the secondary woodland adjacent to the south-west site boundary (Figure 8.3 and Figure 8.4 refer). Pygmy Wren-babbler is regarded as rare in Hong Kong and of local concern (Fellowes et. al., 2002).

8.4.38    One individual of Little Egret (Egretta garzetta) was recorded soaring over the study area. The nearest egretry in Penfold Park is located more than 4 km away. Little Egrets appear in low lying wet or coastal areas throughout Hong Kong and have adapted well to the increased impact of anthropogenic areas such as Sha Tin and Victoria Harbour (Carey et al., 2001). This species is a common resident in Hong Kong and is widely distributed in coastal areas (AFCD, 2014b). Most birds are probably resident but there is evidence of seasonal migration (Viney et al., 2005). Little Egret is recognized to be of potential regional concern (Fellowes et al., 2002). No evidence of breeding/nesting behaviour was observed during survey.

8.4.39    Individuals of Crested Serpent Eagles have been observed soaring over the study area sporadically throughout wet and dry season. This uncommon resident species is widely distributed in shrubland on hillsides throughout Hong Kong (AFCD, 2014b). Crested Serpent Eagle is listed under the Protection of Endangered Species of Animals and Plants Ordinance (Cap.586). China Red Data Book recognizes this species to be vulnerable (AFCD, 2014b). Due to its restrictedness in breeding and roosting sites, this species is regarded as of local concern (Fellowes et al., 2002). However, no evidence of breeding/nesting behaviour was observed during survey.

8.4.40    Crested Goshawks (Accipiter trivirgatus) are generally observed in forest and mature woodland (Carey et al., 2001). A few individuals were sighted flying over the study area throughout the survey period. Crested Goshawk is an uncommon resident with a wide distribution in the woodlands and shrublands throughout Hong Kong (AFCD, 2014b). Listed under the Protection of Endangered Species of Animals and Plants Ordinance (Cap.586), it is also recognized as rare in the China Red Data Book (AFCD, 2014b).

8.4.41    No evidence of breeding or nesting birds was recorded within the study area.

 

Table 8.4 Avifauna of Conservation Importance Recorded within the Study Area

 

Common Name1

Distribution in Hong Kong3

Level of Concern4

Protection Status in China

IUCN Red List 7

Habitat Recorded

Little Egret

Common

PRC (RC)

-

Least Concern

In flight

Chinese Pond Heron

Common

PRC (RC)

-

Least Concern

Developed area

Black Kite2

Common

(RC)

Class II5

Least Concern

Secondary woodland and plantation

Crested Serpent Eagle

Uncommon

(LC)

Class II5

Vulnerable6

Least Concern

In flight

Crested Goshawk

Uncommon

-

Class II5

Rare6

Least Concern

In flight

Eastern Buzzard

Common

-

Class II5

Least Concern

Developed Area

Common Emerald Dove

Scarce

-

Vulnerable6

Least Concern

Secondary woodland and watercourse

Collared Scops Owl

Common

-

Class II5

Least Concern

Secondary woodland and developed area

Grey-chinned Minivet

Common

LC

-

Least Concern

Secondary woodland and plantation

Rufous-capped Babbler

Uncommon

LC

-

Least Concern

Secondary woodland and developed area

Chestnut-collared Yuhina

Rare

(LC)

-

Least Concern

Secondary woodland

Ashy Drongo

Scarce

LC

-

Least Concern

Secondary woodland

Pygmy Wren-babbler

Rare

LC

-

Least Concern

Secondary woodland

Note:

1.     All wild birds are protected under Wild Animal Protection Ordinance (Cap. 170).

2.     Protected under Protection of Endangered Species of Animals and Plants Ordinance (Cap. 586).

3.     AFCD (2014b)

4.     Fellowes et al. (2002): LC=Local Concern; RC=Regional Concern; PRC=Potential Regional Concern. Letter in parentheses indicate that the assessment is on the basis of restrictedness in breeding and/or roosting sites rather than in general occurrence.

5.     List of Wild Animals under State Protection (promulgated by State Forestry Administration and Ministry of Agriculture on 14 January, 1989).

6.     China Red Data Book (Zheng & Wang 1998).

7.     IUCN (2014)

Terrestrial Mammal

Literature Review

8.4.42    Evidence of rooting (turned earth as part of foraging) by Eurasian Wild Pig (Sus scrofa) and a burrow believed to be that of Chinese Pangolin (Manis pentadactyla) were observed near the Route 8 Toll Plaza, west of the site boundary during the Route 16 from West Kowloon to Sha Tin EIA Study (HyD, 1999). Of these two species, only Chinese Pangolin is of conservation importance.

8.4.43    In a more recent survey carried out under the SCL Tai Wai to Hung Hom Section EIA Study, five mammal species were recorded and all of which are species of conservation importance (MTRC, 2011). These include Rhesus Macaque (Macaca mulatta), Pallass Squirrel (Callosciurus erythraeus), East Asian Porcupine (Hystrix brachyura), Japanese Pipistrelle (Pipistrellus abramus) and one unidentified bat species. Refer to Table 8.5 for its protection status.

 

Table 8.5 Terrestrial Mammals Previously Recorded within the Study Area

Common Name

Distribution in Hong Kong3

Level of Concern4

Protection Status

IUCN Red List 7

Habitat Recorded

Chinese Pangolin1,2

Rare

RC

Class II5

Vulnerable 6

 

Critically Endangered

Burrows recorded in woody vegetation

Rhesus Macaque1

Common

-

Class II5

Vulnerable 6

Least Concern

Secondary Woodland

Pallass Squirrel1

Fairly widely distributed,

-

-

Least Concern

Secondary Woodland

East Asian Porcupine1

Abundant

PGC

-

Least Concern

Discarded quills and dung heaps found in secondary woodland

Japanese Pipistrelle1

Abundant

LC

-

Least Concern

In flight

Unidentified Bat1

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

Roosting in a disused tunnel

Note:

1.     Protected under Wild Animal Protection Ordinance (Cap. 170).

2.     Protected under Protection of Endangered Species of Animals and Plants Ordinance (Cap. 586).

3.     AFCD (2014b)

4.     Fellowes et al. (2002): RC=Regional Concern; LC=Local Concern;  PGC=Potential Global Concern.

5.     List of Wild Animals under State Protection (promulgated by State Forestry Administration and Ministry of Agriculture on 14 January, 1989).

6.     China Red Data Book (Zheng & Wang 1998).

7.     IUCN (2014)

 

Recent Survey Results

8.4.44    A total of six species of mammals were recorded within the study area, five of which are species of conservation importance (Table 8.6 and Appendix 8.4 refer). The mammal species of conservation importance recorded, Rhesus Macaque, Pallass Squirrel, Short-nosed Fruit Bat (Cynopteris sphinx), Chinese Horseshoe Bat (Rhinolophus sinicus) and Japanese Pipistrelle, are protected under the Wild Animals Protection Ordinance (Cap.170).

8.4.45    Rhesus Macaque was recorded in three habitats namely, secondary woodland, plantation and developed area. The majority of the records occurred in secondary woodland in or around Lion Rock Country Park. Individuals were usually sighted foraging in groups along the sloped areas. Some individuals were recorded in the developed area within the site boundary. They have adapted to different types of habitats, such as woodlands, grasslands, and near urban areas (Shek, 2006). Rhesus Macaque is listed in the China Red Data Book as vulnerable (AFCD, 2014b) and is under Class II protection in China (AFCD, 2014b). Photographic record of Rhesus Macaque is provided in Appendix 8.2.

8.4.46    Pallass Squirrels were recorded in various habitats within the study area, including secondary woodland, plantation and developed area. This arboreal species was seen climbing in trees. One individual was recorded in developed area within the site boundary and another in secondary woodland within the study area. Pallass Squirrel has a fairly wide distribution in Hong Kong and has been recorded in New Territories as well as Hong Kong Island (AFCD, 2014b). This is an introduced species presumably from released or escaped pets (Shek, 2006).

8.4.47    Three species of flying mammals were recorded, two of which are microbats (mainly insect-eating bats), Chinese Horseshoe Bat and Japanese Pipistrelle. Microbats were recorded with the use of a bat detector. Most observations of microbats occurred near watercourses/bodies. One species of megabat (fruit-eating bats), Short-nosed Fruit Bat, was also observed.

8.4.48    Short-nosed Fruit Bat is very common in Hong Kong (Shek, 2006) and roost under the palm fronds of Chinese Fan-palm (Chan & Shek, 2006). One individual was observed commuting within the Sha Tin WTW near the front entrance. One active roost was recorded within the developed area of the Sha Tin WTW south of the sludge pumping station near the entrance and an inactive roost was recorded south of the filter beds (Figure 8.3 and Figure 8.4 refer). The active and inactive roosts (i.e. no bats present) were both made on the fronds of Chinese Fan-palms (Livistona chinensis). The inactive roost identified is likely to be failed attempts by inexperienced males to build and recruit females to their roosts. Photograph of the active and inactive roosts are provided in Appendix 8.2. The concerned Chinese Fan-palms were re-visited in the verification survey, but no active/inactive bat roosts were found.

8.4.49    Chinese Horseshoe Bat is very common in Hong Kong (Shek, 2006) and was recorded foraging within the vegetation along Keng Hau Road. Whilst, individuals of this species were not observed due to the vegetation cover, they were heard through the heterodyne output and later confirmed during analysis using BatScan (Shek and Lau, 2006).

8.4.50    Japanese Pipistrelle is very common in Hong Kong (Shek, 2006) and was the most abundant bat species recorded during the survey. High numbers of individuals were recorded foraging and commuting along Watercourse 4 (outside of the site boundary). A small number of individuals were recorded foraging over the treatment pools within the Sha Tin WTW.

8.4.51    Whilst all three bat species recorded are common in Hong Kong (Shek, 2006; AFCD, 2014b), they are protected under law, therefore disturbance or harm to these species would be in breach of the Wild Animals Protection Ordinance (Cap. 170).

8.4.52    No mammal species was recorded by the infrared camera.

 

Table 8.6 Terrestrial Mammals of Conservation Importance Recorded within the Study Area

Common Name

Distribution in Hong Kong2

Level of Concern3

Protection Status in China

IUCN Red List 6

Habitat Recorded

Short-nosed Fruit Bat1

Abundant

LC

Indeterminate5

Least Concern

Developed area

Chinese Horseshoe Bat1

Abundant

-

-

Least Concern

Secondary woodland

Japanese Pipistrelle1

Abundant

LC

-

Least Concern

Secondary woodland. watercourse and developed area

Rhesus Macaque1

Common

-

Class II4

Vulnerable5

Least Concern

Secondary woodland, plantation and developed Area

Pallass Squirrel1

Fairly widely distributed, common

-

-

Least Concern

Secondary woodland, plantation and developed Area

Note:

1.     Protected under Wild Animal Protection Ordinance (Cap. 170).

2.     AFCD (2014b)

3.     Fellowes et al. (2002): LC=Local Concern.

4.     List of Wild Animals under State Protection (promulgated by State Forestry Administration and Ministry of Agriculture on 14 January, 1989).

5.     China Red Data Book (Zheng & Wang 1998).

6.     IUCN (2014)

 

Butterfly

Literature Review

8.4.53    Twenty-eight species of butterflies were recorded within the study area between 2002 and 2011 in the AFCD Hong Kong Biodiversity Survey, none of which were species of conservation importance (AFCD, unpublished). A total of 37 species of butterfly were recorded during the SCL Tai Wai to Hung Hom Section EIA Study, no species of conservation interest were recorded. (MTRC, 2011)

Recent Survey Results

8.4.54    Sixty-seven species of butterflies were recorded within the study area during the current study. Amongst these, six are of conservation importance; White-banded Flat (Gerosis phisara), Lesser Band Dart (Potanthus trachala trachala), Golden Birdwing (Troides aeacus aeacus), Common Rose (Pachliopta aristolochiae goniopeltis), Cornelian (Deudorix epijarbas menesicles) and Orange Punch (Dodona egeon egeon). All six species of conservation importance were recorded in secondary woodland habitat. The highest abundance and diversity was recorded in secondary woodland. The majority of species are very common or commonly distributed within Hong Kong. Nine species have an uncommon distribution (Appendix 8.4 refers). Photographic records of butterfly species of conservation importance are provided in Appendix 8.2.

8.4.55    White-banded Flat, Lesser Band Dart, Common Rose and Cornelian are all rare species of Hong Kong (AFCD, 2014b). All of these species are widely distributed in Hong Kong, with the exception of Cornelian which is distributed in Lam Tsuen, Shan Liu, Wu Kau Tang, Pak Sha O and Fung Yuen (AFCD, 2014b). Records of these species from the recent surveys were all obtained along Watercourse 4, just outside of the Lion Rock Country Park with the minimum distance of 325 m away from the nearest boundary of the works area (Figure 8.4 refers).

8.4.56    Most records of Golden Birdwings were made in secondary woodlands and plantations approximately 125 m to 300 m south-east of the site boundary (Figure 8.3 and Figure 8.4 refer). Additionally, individuals have also been recorded in the secondary woodland adjacent to Watercourse 2 within the site boundary. Although it is distributed widely throughout Hong Kong, it is rare (AFCD, 2014b) and considered to be of local concern (Fellowes et al., 2002).

8.4.57    A single individual of Orange Punch was recorded in the secondary woodland approximately 350 m south of the site boundary. This species is rare in Hong Kong (AFCD, 2014b) and is considered to be of regional concern (Fellowes et al., 2002).

 

Table 8.7 Butterfly Species of Conservation Importance Recorded within the Study Area

Common Name

Distribution in Hong Kong1

Level of Concern2

IUCN Red List Status3

Habitat Recorded

White-banded Flat

Rare

-

-

Secondary woodland

Lesser Band Dart

Rare

-

-

Secondary woodland

Golden Birdwing

Rare

LC

-

Secondary woodland and plantation

Common Rose

Rare

-

-

Secondary woodland

Cornelian

Rare

-

-

Secondary woodland

Orange Punch

Rare

RC

-

Secondary woodland

Note:

1.     AFCD (2014b)

2.     Fellowes et al. (2002): LC=Local Concern; RC=Regional Concern.

3.     IUCN (2014).

Odonata

Literature Review

8.4.58    Survey results from the AFCD Biodiversity Survey between 2002 and 2011 recorded five species of dragonflies in the study area, none of which were species of conservation importance (AFCD, unpublished).

8.4.59    In the SCL Tai Wai to Hung Hom Section EIA Study, a total of 15 species of dragonfly were recorded during the surveys. Three of them are of conservation importance were recorded in the vicinity of the Tei Lung Hau stream (MTRC, 2011), including Indochinese Copperwing (Mnais mneme), White-banded Shadowdamsel (Protosticta taipokauensis), and Emerald Cascader (Zygonyx iris insignis). Refer to Table 8.8 for their protection status.

 

Table 8.8 Odonates Previously Recorded within the Study Area

Common Name

Distribution in Hong Kong1

Level of Concern2

IUCN Red List Status3

Habitat Recorded

Indochinese Copperwing

Common

LC

Least Concern

Natural Watercourse

White-banded Shadowdamsel

Common

GC

Least Concern

Natural Watercourse

Emerald Cascader

Abundant

PGC

Least Concern

Natural Watercourse

Note:

1.     AFCD (2014b)

2.     Fellowes et al. (2002): LC=Local Concern; GC=Global Concern; PGC=Potential Global Concern

3.     IUCN (2014)

 

Recent Survey Results

8.4.60    Five species of damselfly and fourteen species of dragonflies were recorded under the current study. Two species of dragonflies of conservation importance were recorded namely, Scarlet Basker (Urothemis signata signata) and Emerald Cascader (Zygonyx iris insignis). All other species recorded have an abundant or common distribution in Hong Kong.

8.4.61    Watercourse habitat supported the highest diversity (number of species and abundance) of odonata relative to other habitats of the study area. Abundant species found in the watercourse habitat included Common Blue Jewel (Rhinocypha perforata perforata), Black-banded Gossamerwing (Euphaea decorata), Common Blue Skimmer (Orthetrum glaucum), Common Red Skimmer (Orthetrum pruinosum neglectum), Lesser Blue Skimmer (Orthetrum triangulare triangulare) and Indigo Dropwing (Trithemis festiva); whereas Wandering Glider (Pantala flavescens) was abundant in other habitats.

8.4.62    One individual of Scarlet Basker was seen near the sedimentation tank in the developed area of the Sha Tin WTW. Although this species is regarded as of local concern (Fellowes et al., 2002), it is locally common in Hong Kong (AFCD, 2014b). Scarlet Baskers are found mainly in the New Territories, especially in area near abandoned fishponds (Tam et al., 2011).

8.4.63    Records of Emerald Cascader are scattered throughout the study area. A number of individuals were recorded in the developed area within the site boundary and in Watercourse 1 and Watercourse 2 just outside of the site boundary. Individuals were also recorded in Watercourse 4 and the small plantation patch north of Watercourse 4, approximately 450 m and 300 m from the site boundary, respectively (Figure 8.4 Refers). This species is widespread in moderately clean and fast-flowing woodland streams (Tam et al., 2011). Emerald Cascader is seen in early spring with its numbers reducing rapidly by autumn (Wilson, 1995). Although it is abundant throughout Hong Kong, they are considered as of potential global concern (Fellowes et al., 2002).

 

Table 8.9 Odonate Species of Conservation Importance Recorded within the Study Area

Common Name

Distribution in Hong Kong1

Level of Concern2

IUCN Red List Status3

Habitat Recorded

Scarlet Basker

Common

LC

Least Concern

Developed area

Emerald Cascader

Abundant

PGC

Least Concern

Plantation, Developed area; Watercourse

Note:

1.       AFCD (2014b)

2.       Fellowes et al. (2002): LC=Local Concern; PGC=Potential Global Concern.

3.       IUCN (2014)

 

Herpetofauna

Literature Review

8.4.64    Between 2002 and 2011, the AFCD Hong Kong Biodiversity Survey recorded eight species of amphibians and ten species of reptiles from the study area (AFCD, unpublished). Of which, two species of amphibians and one species of reptile of conservation importance were recorded namely, Lesser Spiny Frog (Quasipaa exilispinosa), Brown Wood Frog (Hylarana latouchii) and Chinese Mountain Snake (Sibynophis chinensis chinensis).

8.4.65    In addition, eggs and adults of Hong Kong Cascade Frog (Amolops hongkongensis) were recorded in the survey undertaken in the SCL Tai Wai to Hung Hom Section EIA Study (MTRC, 2011). Refer to Table 8.10 for their protection status.

 

Table 8.10 Herpetofauna Species of Conservation Importance Previously Recorded within the Study Area

Common Name

Distribution in Hong Kong2

Level of Concern3

IUCN Red list Status4

Habitat Recorded

Lesser Spiny Frog

Widely distributed in mountain streams

PGC

Vulnerable

Not available5

Natural Watercourse6

Brown Wood Frog

Recorded in several localities in the New Territories including Tai Shing Stream, Pak Sha O and Tai Po Kau Nature Reserve

 

LC

Least Concern

Not available

Hong Kong Cascade Frog1

Widely distributed in mountain streams in Hong Kong

PGC

Endangered

Natural Watercourse

Chinese Mountain Snake

Distributed in eastern and central New Territories, on Hong Kong Island and Lantau Island

 

LC

-

Not available

Note:

1.       Protected under Wild Animal Protection Ordinance (Cap, 170)

2.       AFCD (2014b)

3.       Fellowes et al. (2002): PGC=Potential Global Concern; LC=Local Concern

4.       IUCN (2014)

5.       Results from AFCD Hong Kong Biodiversity Survey

6.       Results from MTRC (2011)

 

 

Recent Survey Results

8.4.66    The current study recorded 16 species of herpetofauna within the study area, ten of which were reptiles and six were amphibians. Three reptiles species of conservation importance recorded included Common Water Monitor (Varanus salvator), Indo-Chinese Rat Snake (Ptyas korros), and Chinese Mountain Snake (Sibynophis chinensis chinensis). Only one amphibian species of conservation importance, Lesser Spiny Frog was recorded, the remaining amphibian species area regarded as abundant or widely distributed in Hong Kong (AFCD, 2014b).

8.4.67    Bowrings Gecko (Hermidactylus bowringii) was relatively abundant compared to other reptile species. All Bowrings geckos were recorded in developed area,

8.4.68    Dominant species of amphibians included Asian Common Toad (Bufo malanostictus) and Gunthers Frog (Hylarana guentheri). Asian Common Toad was recorded in all habitats; with most records in the developed area. The majority of observations of Gunthers Frog were recorded in watercourses.

8.4.69    One individual of Common Water Monitor was seen in Watercourse 1, near the vicinity of the western site boundary (Figure 8.3 and Figure 8.4 refer). Not much is known about the habits of native specimens (Karsen et. al., 1998). Most records of individuals are believed to the released or escaped individuals (AFCD, 2014b). This species is protected under the Wild Animals Protection Ordinance (Cap.170) and Endangered Species of Animals and Plants Ordinance (Cap.586) (AFCD, 2014b). It is listed as regional concern (Fellowes et. al., 2002) and critically endangered/extinct in wild by China Red Data Book (AFCD, 2014b). Photographic record of Common Water Monitor is provided in Appendix 8.2.

8.4.70    An Indo-Chinese Rat Snake was recorded just outside of the site boundary on the banks of Watercourse 2 (Figure 8.3 and Figure 8.4 refer). It is a diurnal species and known to hunt Gunthers Frogs in tall grass around reservoirs (Karen et. al, 1998). This species is found in many open habitats such as grassy banks of streams and reservoirs, edges of cultivated fields and ponds, dry shrubland and woodland (Karsen et. al., 1998). This species is widely distributed throughout Hong Kong (AFCD, 2014b). It is an endangered species according to the China Red Data Book (AFCD, 2014b) and is of potential regional concern (Fellowes et. al, 2002).

8.4.71    Chinese Mountain Snake occurs in moist vegetated area at high elevations (Karsen et al., 1998), and is distributed in the eastern and central New Territories, on Hong Kong Island and Lantau Island (AFCD, 2014b). An individual was recorded in the developed area within the Sha Tin WTW during the current survey. Chinese Mountain Snake is listed as local concern (Fellowes et. al, 2002).

8.4.72    Lesser Spiny Frog was the only amphibian species of conservation importance recorded. This species was recorded in various watercourses within the study area (Watercourse 2, Watercourse 3 and Watercourse 4). It is widely distributed in mountain streams throughout Hong Kong (AFCD, 2014b).

 

Table 8.11 Herpetofauna of Conservation Importance Recorded within the Study Area

Common Name

Distribution in Hong Kong1

Level of Concern2

Protection Status in China

IUCN Red List3

Habitat Recorded

Common Water Monitor

Records from Sha Tau Kok, Fanling and Kowloon Reservoir but probably released or escaped individuals

RC

Class I4

Least Concern

Watercourse

Indo-Chinese Rat Snake

Widely distributed

PRC

 

-

Watercourse

Chinese Mountain Snake

Distributed in eastern and central New Territories, on Hong Kong Island and Lantau Island

LC

 

-

Developed area

Lesser Spiny Frog

Widely distributed in mountain streams

PGC

 

Vulnerable

Watercourse

Note:

1.       AFCD (2014b)

2.       Fellowes et al. (2002): LC=Local Concern; RC=Regional Concern; PRC=Potential Regional Concern; PGC=Potential Global Concern.

3.       IUCN (2014)

4.       List of Wild Animals under State Protection (promulgated by State Forestry Administration and Ministry of Agriculture on 14 January, 1989).

 

Freshwater Communities

Literature Review

8.4.73    Previous survey results from SCL Tai Wai to Hung Hom Section EIA Study identified two freshwater fish species of conservation importance in the natural watercourses near Tei Lung Hau and Lion Rock Toll Plaza. These fish species include Predaceous Chub (Parazacco spilurus) and Vietnam Catfish (Pterocryptis anomala) (MTRC, 2011). Refer to Table 8.12 for their status.

 

Table 8.12 Freshwater Species of Conservation Importance Previously Recorded within the Study Area

Common Name

Distribution in Hong Kong1

Level of Concern2

Protection Status in China3

IUCN Red List3

Habitat Recorded

Predaceous Chub

Common

LC

Vulnerable

-

Natural Watercourse

Vietnam Catfish

Common

GC

-

-

Natural Watercourse

Note:

1.       AFCD (2014b)

2.       Fellowes et al. (2002): LC=Local Concern; GC= Global Concern.

3.       China Red Data Book (Zheng & Wang 1998)

 

Recent Survey Results

8.4.74    Freshwater community surveys conducted for this Project covered two watercourses adjacent to the Sha Tin WTW, Watercourse 1 and Watercourse 2 (Figure 8.3 and Figure 8.4 refer). Watercourse 1 is located adjacent to the north-western boundary of the Sha Tin WTW. Watercourse 2 follows the eastern and southern boundaries of the Sha Tin WTW where the southern section is included within the site boundary and the upstream reach lies adjacent to the eastern site boundary.

8.4.75    An active search of Watercourse 1 recorded a total of 27 taxa (Appendix 8.4 refers), which was dominated by caddisflies and mayflies; no fish were recorded. The absence of fish species may possibly be due to the shallow water and lack of pools in the watercourse. Aside from the increase of snails recorded during wet season, there did not appear to be a significant difference between the diversity of species between wet and dry season.

8.4.76    Survey records indicated a total of 28 taxa recorded in Watercourse 2. Shrimp (Caridina cantonensis) was the most abundant. Caddisflies and mayflies were common during both seasons in up and mid-stream. The diversity of freshwater species was significantly lower downstream. Aside from the presence of Mosquito Fish during dry season and its absence during wet season, there is no significant difference between the dry and wet season species composition.

8.5          Ecological Value

8.5.1       The ecological importance of recorded habitats has been evaluated in accordance with the EIAO-TM Annex 8 criteria, and is shown in Table 8.13 - Table 8.16 below.

Secondary Woodland

8.5.2       Secondary woodland occupies about half of the study area. This habitat comprised of mostly native vegetation and experiences little disturbance; apart from the margin where it is more shrubby in nature and subject to disturbance from road traffic, Sha Tin WTW operation, recreation uses and hunting. This habitat provides complete linkage to Lion Rock Country Park (area of ecological importance). The majority of species of conservation importance was recorded in the woodland. Based on the above observations and the criteria set in Annex 8 of EIAO-TM, ecological value of these woodland areas are detailed in Table 8.13.

 

Table 8.13 Ecological Evaluation of the Secondary Woodland Habitat within the Study Area

Criteria

Secondary Woodland

Naturalness

Largely undisturbed and dominated with native species; the woodland margin including the proposed site for the Water Treatment Works Logistics Centre is subjected to moderate levels of human disturbance.

Size

Large 97.58 ha

Diversity

Flora diversity: Moderate (197 species recorded).

Fauna diversity: Moderate (52 avifaunal species, 5 mammal species, 9 dragonfly species, 50 butterfly species and 4 herpetofaunal species recorded)

Rarity

A common habitat in Hong Kong.

Six flora species of conservation importance recorded (Ailanthus, Incense Tree, Lamb of Tartary, Hairy-fruited Ormosia, Hong Kong Pavetta and Hong Kongs Eagle Claw).

Eight species of avifauna (Black Kite, Common Emerald Dove, Collared Scops Owl, Grey-chinned Minivet, Rufous-capped Babbler, Chestnut-collared Yuhina, Ashy Drongo and Pygmy Wren-babbler), 4 species of mammals (Chinese Horseshoe Bat, Japanese Pipistrelle, Rhesus Macaque and Pallass Squirrel) and 6 species of butterflies (White-banded Flat, Lesser Band Dart, Golden Birdwing, Common Rose, Cornelian and Orange Punch) of conservation importance recorded.

Re-creatability

Reforestation would take several decades.

Fragmentation

Almost the entire habitat is continuous.

Ecological linkage

Directly linked to Lion Rock Country Park.

Potential value

The habitat is mature.

Nursery ground

No breeding/nesting were recorded during survey

Age

Unknown, but trees are relatively mature.

Abundance/ Richness of Wildlife

High

Ecological Value

Generally high, but the directly affected area at the peripheral of the habitat, which was more shrubby and disturbed, has reduced value

 

Plantation

8.5.3       The plantation habitat comprised of a small portion of the study area with exotic, planted species. There is a high level of disturbance in these habitats due to human activities such as leisure farming and recreational uses. Small, scattered patches of plantation habitat are scattered throughout the study area and occur on the modified slopes between developed areas and secondary woodland. Based on the above observations and the criteria set in Annex 8 of EIAO-TM, ecological value of these plantation areas are detailed in Table 8.14.

 

Table 8.14 Ecological Evaluation of the Plantation Habitat within the Study Area

Criteria

Plantation

Naturalness

Planted man-made habitat with exotic species; subjected to high level of human disturbance.

Size