Peninsula Link travels through The Pines between Bollarto and Skye Roads. Parks Victoria has prepared a Master Plan for the Pines to help guide its future management. It recommends that the main goal for The Pines should be ecological conservation, balanced with visitor access and recreation.
The design of Peninsula Link and the project’s Environmental Management Plan has carefully considered these recommendations.
The Pines is considered to be an important ecological and biological site due to the diversity of species and vegetation communities that it contains. The wetland habitat in the Pines is home to native fauna, including Swamp Skink and Dwarf Galaxias.
Seven categories of native vegetation areas of high ecological value are contained in The Pines. The original Peninsula Link alignment was changed in order to ensure the protection of areas of higher quality vegetation.
One flora species of national significance, River Swamp Wallaby Grass, has been identified in the alignment area, growing around Tamarisk Creek wetland. Approximately 0.04 hectares of this species was impacted by the construction of the freeway, however seeds were collected from existing plants prior to construction and used for future revegetation of River Swamp Wallaby Grass.
The design of the alignment incorporated a range of measures to reduce impacts to vegetation and fauna habitats.
Two 30 metre wide fauna underpasses and several smaller crossings were constructed to allow animals to continue to move between the areas on either side of the roadway.
Tamarisk Creek has been channelised in the past, which has reduced surface water flows. The creek has been realigned to ensure that there was a more natural flow of water into the area. This has potentially created new habitats for indigenous flora, particularly Dwarf Galaxias. The crossing over the creek has been designed to allow for the passage of fish during a range of water flows.