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Port augusta b RS

The retired coal-fired power station at Port Augusta has provided a particularly complicated 320 Ha restoration  site.  This is a world first recovery program on an ash pit, using a soil cap and vegetation to establish a stable, self sustaining and resilient system on the edge of the regional city of Port Augusta.  A high risk of dust pollution is associated with the site and its ash as well as the fine particulate soil used for the cap.

The site comprised:

  • 273 Ha Ash Storage Area (ASA)
  • 15 Ha Coal Stockpile (CS)
  • 30 Ha Borrow Pit (BP)


tractor b RSA 15 cm soil cap was spread across the ASA and CS and a ground-up revegetation approach was applied, focussing on native coloniser species (including to the BP with no cap).  Over 6,000 kg of native seed was spread onsite from June 2017 to October 2018.  Despite poor rainfall in 2017, 2018 and 2019, more than 4 million plants have been established. These plants produce masses of seeds such that the site continues to recover without ongoing intervention.  During one survey month over $70,000 worth of new seed was produced by just three native colonising species, for example.

Succession Ecology has worked closely with site managers and the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) and Native Vegetation Council (NVC) to facilitate the recovery of the site and its compliance with regulatory requirements. 


Our services for this project include:

  • Seed ‒ collection, cleaning and supply
  • Seeding ‒ direct seeding of all areas
  • Seedbanks ‒ seed viability and seedbank assessments
  • Plant growth ‒ root growth and survivability assessments
  • Trials ‒ soil roughening, barley and rye, watering, surface polymers (dust suppressants)
  • Dust management ‒ surveys, interventions and reporting
  • Vegetation ‒ NVC Clearance assessment, monitoring, benchmark surveys and reporting
  • Risk Assessments and Options Assessments
  • Weeds ‒ weed surveys, risk assessments and controls, including Buffel Grass Control Program
  • Monitoring ‒ design and establish monitoring program, detailed surveys and reporting
  • Community ‒ liaison and engagement, media


For more information see:

Horner et al. (2019) Bang for your Buck; revegetating arid sites using coloniser species, Proceedings from Mine Closure 2019

Christie et al. (2019) A ground up approach to reveg in the arid zone, Proceedings from Mine Closure 2019

Succession Ecology (2019) Environmental Management of Arid Landscapes.pdf

Please contact Glenn Christie or Briony Horner to discuss your project  

  Arid site b RSArid reveg a RS



Who we’ve worked with...

Government Departments
Mining and Engineering Companies
Renewable Energy Projects
Local Councils
Plant Nurseries
Other Environmental Organisations

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We can help take your project from beginning to end...

Project design and management
Addressing legislative requirements and compliance, site assessments and approvals
Research trials and development
Site revegetation, restoration and monitoring

A Successional Approach

Our unique approach to revegetation involves a ‘ground up’ methodology, which floods a site with seeds of native colonising species. The use of colonising species provides rapid site stabilisation and initiates the process of recovery to build ecosystem function. These species add organic carbon to the soil, attract invertebrates, deposit seed, compete with weeds and provide cover. Colonising species in the arid zone can reproduce within 6–8 weeks of rainfall, bolstering the seedbank. These attributes provide a great catalyst for building ecosystems in the arid zone.

Learn more about us

We are passionate about applying ecological processes to achieve cost effective outcomes for our clients. These processes comprise more than just biodiversity services, they can be harnessed to improve business productivity and address complicated site issues.

Our business provides personalised attention to each project and high-quality outputs. The diverse nature of our business enables development of well-rounded, pragmatic outcomes, tailored to site-specific requirements.