8                ECOLOGICAL MONITORING

 

Monitoring of Measures to Minimise Disturbance to Water Birds in Ng Tung River, Sheung Yue River, Shek Sheung River and Long Valley

Monitoring Requirements and Protocol

8.1          As required under Section 12.3.2.5 of Updated EM&A Manual, where development under the NDAs project is undertaken within 200m (the maximum distance at which it is predicted there may be some disturbance, and hence a reduction in numbers, of large waterbirds) of Sheung Yue River and Long Valley, weekly transect at both high and low tides should be followed (It is considered high tide when the tidal levels are above 1.5m and low tide when the tidal levels are below 1.5m at Tsim Bei Tsui Station).

 

8.2          The purpose of the survey was to identify and enumerate all bird species utilizing the river channels and Long Valley Nature Park (LVNP) and identify any sources of actual or potential disturbance to birds due to construction activities throughout the construction period according to Methodology specified in Table 12.1 in Updated EM&A Manual.

 

8.3          Monitoring in Long Valley should follow the methodology adopted by the regular HKBWS bird monitoring programme in order to obtain comparable results and complete coverage of the area in the shortest time possible.

 

Monitoring Frequency

8.4          High tide and low tide avifauna monitoring is required to be carried out on weekly basis.

Additional night-time avifauna monitoring in Long Valley is required to be carried out twice monthly from September to April.

Date of avifauna monitoring:

8th , 15th , 22nd ,29th  September 2020

Date of night-time monitoring:

22nd , 29th September 2020

 

Monitoring Location

8.5          The avifauna monitoring was carried out at Sheung Yue River and Long Valley in Reporting Month according to construction works. The transect routes in the Reporting Month were as follows:

 

       T3. Sheung Yue River

       T5. Long Valley

 

For Sheung Yue River, only one bank of the river was followed as the waterbirds utilizing the river channel were easily visible.

 

8.6          The location of Transects T3 and T5 is shown in Figure 7 for reference.


 

Monitoring Parameters

8.7          The monitoring parameters and survey methodology for each transect are described below:

 

       Abundance of birds

       Types of habitat which birds in use

       Notable bird behaviours such as roosting, feeding, nesting and presence of juveniles

       Birds heard though birdcalls that could not be located would be marked as “heard”, while birds flying over the survey area would be marked as “flight”. Species of conservation significance would be specified.

 

8.8          Other information at the time of survey such as weather condition, tidal condition, tide level and noticeable natural or anthropogenic activities would be documented.

 

8.9          For Avifauna survey, Ornithological nomenclature would make reference to The Avifauna of Hong Kong (Carey et al. 2001), The Birds of Hong Kong and South China (Viney et al. 2005), and the most recent updated list from other sources (e.g. Hong Kong Bird Watching Society).

 

Monitoring Result

 

8.10       In total, 53 species of birds were recorded during the bird surveys within assessment area. Among the recorded birds, there were 19 species of waterbirds. The detailed list of waterbirds and all recorded birds are shown in Appendix H1k and H1l respectively.

 

8.11       Among the two transects, the transect T5 had a higher species diversity and abundance due to its diverse habitat types within Long Valley. Species such as Ardeola bacchus and Egretta garzetta were commonly found roosting and foraging at wetland habitats such as agricultural lands and shallow water habitats. Juveniles of Gallinula chloropus was found in shallow water habitat.

 

8.12       Along the transect T5 in Long Valley, species with conservation interest such as Himantopus himantopus which is a passage migrant, and Tringa glareola, which is a passage migrant and winter visitor, were also commonly observed in shallow water habitat. A high abundance of Himantopus himantopus and Tringa glareola were found roosting at night-time in wet agricultural lands and shallow water habitats. Passage migrant and winter visitor Gallinago gallinago and Anthus richardi, winter visitor  Ardea cinerea, Charadrius alexandrines and Saxicola stejnegeri, passage migrant Sturnia sinensis, and scarce passage migrant Hydrophasianus chirurgus were observed in Long Valley for the first time since the first monitoring month. Human disturbances including soil turning with excavator was noted on 8th , 15th  and 22nd  September 2020, vegetation clearance was observed on 22nd  September 2020, and bird repelling alarm was heard on 29th September 2020.

 

8.13       Transect T3 was conducted along the Sheung Yue River. Bird species such as Ardeola bacchus, Actitis hypoleucos and Egretta garzetta were commonly noted. Fishing activities were observed along the river during the survey.

 

8.14       Avifauna monitoring in construction phase was conducted during the reporting month and the detailed results are attached in Appendix H1.

 

8.15       For avifauna monitoring’s high tide session at Transect T5 on 15th September 2020, a small part of the transect route was inaccessible due to active construction site. The transect route was adjusted to cover and complete the area included in the original transect. The adjusted route are shown in Figure 7.

 

Photo 1. Inaccessible part of transect T5 during high tide avifauna monitoring session on 15th September 2020

Monitoring of Measures to Minimise Impacts to Ma Tso Lung Stream and Siu Hang San Tsuen Stream, and Long Valley

Monitoring Requirements and Protocol

8.16       As required under Section 12.3.2.14 of Updated EM&A Manual, aquatic faunal monitoring should be carried out during the construction phase.

 

8.17       Larger organisms such as fish would be monitored by direct counting, while kick-netting and sweep-netting would be used for invertebrate sampling. There would be three replicates for invertebrate sampling at each sampling point. For kick-netting, the net would be placed with the opening facing the water current, and the substrate would be disturbed by kicking to dislodge organisms from the stream bed. Sweep-netting would be conducted when kick-netting was not feasible, such as in area with no water current. Small organisms that could not be identified with naked eye would be brought to the laboratory for identification under the dissecting microscope.

 

Monitoring Frequency

8.18       Quantitative aquatic fauna replicate surveys of stream fauna is required to be carried out on monthly basis during wet season. Three replicates for invertebrates sampling and direct counting of fish fauna would be performed respectively.

Date of aquatic fauna monitoring:

23rd  September 2020

 


 

Monitoring Location

8.19       During the Reporting Month, the monitoring location carried out in Ma Tso Lung Stream according to construction works are as follow:-

             MS_01

             MS_02

             MS_03

             MS_04

             MS_05

             MS_06

             MS_07

             MS_08

             MS_09

             MS_10

8.20       The location of Monitoring Stations shown in Figure 8 for reference.

 

Monitoring Parameters

8.21       The monitoring parameters and survey methodology for each monitoring station are described below:

       Species composition

       Abundance

       Distribution for invertebrates and fish fauna

       Species of conservation significance would be specified

 

8.22       Other information at the time of survey such as weather condition and noticeable natural or anthropogenic activities would be recorded.

 

Monitoring Result

8.23       In the survey of aquatic fauna, total 18 aquatic invertebrate species were found, including worms, snails and insects, were recorded in Ma Tso Lung Stream. 5 fish species were recorded including Oreochromis niloticus and Barbodes semifasciolatus. No aquatic macroinvertebrate species of conservation importance were recorded.

8.24       Aquatic faunal monitoring in construction phase was conducted during the Reporting Month and the results are attached in Appendix H2 to H3.

 

Monitoring of Measures to Minimise Impacts on Ecological Sensitive Habitats from Disturbance and Pollution

Monitoring Requirements and Protocol

8.25       As required under Section 12.3.2.17 of Updated EM&A Manual, monitoring of measures to minimize impacts should be carried out during the construction phase.

 

8.26       The purpose of survey is to monitor the effectiveness of measures to minimize impacts on ecologically sensitive habitats from disturbance and pollution by standard faunal transect surveys.

 

Mammal survey

8.27       Mammal survey would be performed during both day and night times, in areas along the transect routes which may potentially be utilized by terrestrial mammals. Field signs such as droppings, footprints, diggings and burrows left by larger terrestrial mammals would be observed. Mammals directly observed would be recorded, and identification would be made as accurate as possible form the field signs observed.

 

8.28       Bat survey would be conducted along the transect routes shortly after sunset, with the use of a bat detector to record the echolocation calls. The relative abundance of the species encountered would be estimated using a scale from one (single individual recorded) to five (very abundant). Nomenclature of mammal will be based on Shek (2006).

 

Herpetofauna survey (Amphibians and Reptiles)

8.29       Amphibian surveys would be conducted whenever possible on evenings following or during periods of rainfall, focusing on areas suitable for amphibians (e.g. forest, shrublands, grasslands, streams, ponds, marshes, etc.). Calling amphibians would be recorded, supplemented by visual observation of eggs, tadpoles, adult frogs, and toads.

 

8.30       Active searching of appropriate microhabitats such as stones, pond bunds, crevices and leaf debris would be performed mainly. Observation of exposed, basking and foraging reptiles would also be conducted. Nomenclature of amphibian and reptile will be based on Chan et al. (2005) and Karsen et al. (1998), respectively.

 

Insect survey (Butterfly and Dragonfly)

8.31       Butterflies and dragonflies observed along the transects would be identified and counted. Preferable habitats of the insects such as watercourses, fishponds, and vegetated areas would be observed with special attention. Nomenclature and protection status of the species will be based on Lo et al. (2005) for butterflies and Tam et al. (2011) for dragonflies

 

Monitoring Frequency

8.32       Monitoring surveys of ecological sensitive receivers such as mammals, insects (butterflies and dragonflies), and herpetofauna will be undertaken on a monthly bases.

Date of Monitoring surveys of ecological sensitive receivers:

18th , 25th September 2020

 

Monitoring Location

8.33       The transect routes in the Reporting Month according to construction works are as follows:

           T1. Ma Tso Lung riparian zone and associated wetland habitats;

           T1. Green belt areas E1-8, D1-8 and G1-3 in KTN NDA;

           T1. AGR one C2-4 and C2-2 in KTN NDA;

           T1. Area north of Ng Tung River;

           T4. South side of Fanling Highway and Castle Peak Road in the vicinity of Pak Shek Au;

           T5. Area west and east of the southern limit of the FLN NDA work area; and

           T6. Areas in the western part of KTN

8.34       The location of Transects is shown in Figure 9 for reference.

 

Monitoring Parameters

8.35       The monitoring parameters and survey methodology for each transect are described below:-

       Species composition

       Abundance

       Distribution for fauna observed

       Species of conservation significance would be specified

 

Monitoring Result

Mammal

8.36       During the survey, a total of 3 mammal species were recorded from transects T1, T4, T5 and T6. Domestic cat, Felis catus was found at T1, and Domestic dog, Canis lupus familiaris, was found at T1, T4, T5 and T6, where associated with human settlements.

8.37       Bat species, Cynopterus sphinx was observed roosting in the tent-shaped shelter under fronds of Chinese Fan-palm during daytime survey of birds and herpetofauna, and found in flight at nighttime at T1, T4, T5 and T6.

 

8.38       According to EIA, echolocation calls of bats were recorded. The structure of the echolocation calls from these recordings was later analysed to identify species as far as possible (the lack of literature on echolocation call structure makes the field identification of some bat species in Hong Kong impossible, and some species remain unidentified from the recordings).

 

Herpetofauna (Amphibians and Reptiles)

8.39       Along the transects, total 13 herpetofauna species were observed. Species including toad, frog, gecko and lizard were noted near wetland habitats and watercourse. Transect T1 has higher species diversity and abundance than other transects.

 

Insects (Butterfly and Dragonfly)

8.40       During the insect survey, total 27 butterflies species and 14 odonata species were recorded from transects. Transect T1 had higher butterfly species diversity than other transects. Uncommon species Iambrix salsala and Neopithecops zalmora were found in transect T1 and T5 respectively.

8.41       Transect T1 and T6 had higher dragonfly species diversity than T4 and T5. Most of the dragonfly species recorded were also common and abundant in Hong Kong.

8.42       Ecological sensitive receivers such as mammals, insects (butterflies and dragonflies), and herptofauna monitoring in construction phase was conducted during the reporting month and the results are attached in Appendix H4 to H7.

 

Results and Observation

Details of the Influencing Factors

 

Major Activities

8.43       During the survey of Monitoring of Measures to Minimise Disturbance to Water Birds in Sheung Yue River and Long Valley, anthropogenic activities such as grass cutting in Long Valley and fishing at the river banks were observed.

8.44       The anthropogenic activities affected only a small area of habitat in Long Valley during the monitoring, but might sill pose minor disturbances to the birds. It was observed that Egretta garzetta utilized the agricultural land with soil turning in progress, and that Charadrius dubius and Charadrius alexandrines were found on the agricultural land in close proximity to the bird repelling alarm.

8.45       During the survey of Monitoring of Measures to Minimise Impacts to Ma Tso Lung Stream and Monitoring of Measures to Minimise Impacts on Ecological Sensitive Habitats from Disturbance and Pollution, no major anthropogenic disturbances were observed. No major environmental pollution was found during the monitoring. However, litter such as tissue paper was found in the monitoring station MS_06 and MS_07.

 

Weather Conditions

8.46       During the Monitoring of avifauna on 15th September 2020, Amber Rainstorm Warning Signal and Thunderstorm Warning were hoisted during low tide. In addition, according to the observation during survey, temperature and the rain flow record in the Reporting Month (Reference: http://www.weather.gov.hk/wxinfo/pastwx/metob202009.htm), weather condition might pose influence towards the monitoring result.

8.47       Since the Final Baseline Ecological Monitoring Report has not been issued yet during the Reporting Month, the Action and Limit Level of ecological monitoring will be compared with the monitoring results in the Reporting Month and track back exceedance reporting (if any) after the Final Baseline Ecological Monitoring Report has been issued.

8.48       The detailed Ecological monitoring results are attached in Appendix H.