Transpower New Zealand commissioned Wildland Consultants Ltd in December 2012 to carry out an ecological survey and assessment of effects of the proposed clearance rectification for a span of the Benmore to Haywards A (BEN-HAY A) High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) transmission line.
The assessment identified that an area of the limestone ridge scheduled for earthworks provided habitat for two lizard species: Canterbury gecko (Woodworthia aff. brunnea) and common skink, Oligosoma polychroma (Clade 3). It was also thought that a third species may occur at the site: McCanns’ skink (Oligosoma maccanni). Canterbury gecko and common skink are both classified as “At Risk-Declining”, and McCann’s skink as “Not Threatened”.
Transpower subsequently obtained a Wildlife Act Authority 35723-FAU from the Department of Conservation to salvage all three species of indigenous lizards from the works site, and to then release them within 500 m of the collection point.
In May 2013, Wildlands staff salvaged 26 Canterbury geckos and five common skinks from the works area and relocated them to high-quality crevices nearby. Recommendations were also provided on when to undertake works to minimise adverse impacts on common skink.