A range of environmental mitigation strategies and actions were employed to protect Heard Island’s environment during the 2003–04 expedition. In particular, a detailed environmental assessment was prepared prior to the expedition, pursuant to the Heard Island Wilderness Reserve Management Plan. The assessment identified a number of possible environmental impacts:
- the introduction of alien species to the island
- disruption to wildlife populations
- trampling of vegetation and disturbance to soil
- pollution from chemicals and wastes
- effect of human activity on cultural heritage
- temporary loss of wilderness and aesthetic values from the establishment of base camps.
Specific actions to mitigate these environmental impacts included:
- strict quarantine measures such as the purchase of new equipment, non supply of fresh fruit and vegetables, and rigorous cleaning and inspection regimes on all cargo
- presence of restricted areas and controls on vehicle movements, field camp locations and wildlife approach distances
- deployment of Unusual Animal Mortality Response Kits in the event of a disease outbreak
- deployment of field fuel spill kits to prevent and clean up fuel spills
- reduced packaging on all cargo to minimise waste prior to departure
- removal of solid waste from current and previous expeditions, and proper disposal of liquid waste
- preparation of an Environmental Code of Conduct
- a comprehensive environmental training programme for all participants
- an environmental reporting regime while on the island and upon return.
For more information contact the Operations environment advisor at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Environment Advisor — Operations Branch,
Australian Antarctic Division