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Keywords:

  • adaptive management;
  • collaborative effort;
  • roadside conservation;
  • threatened species rescue

Summary  In 2004, the Roads and Traffic Authority (RTA) undertook a road realignment project near Lidsdale in the Central Tablelands of New South Wales. However, the RTA had not detected a population of the threatened Purple Copper Butterfly within the footprint of the project. The RTA responded promptly when notified of the butterflies’ presence by stopping works, and preparing and implementing a butterfly management programme. This programme included modifying the realignment (and reducing the development footprint), supplementary planting of habitat, habitat rehabilitation and translocation of individual caterpillars from within the final footprint area. These actions seem to have safeguarded the population at least in the short term; however, further active management of the site will be needed to ensure its long-term viability. The project reinforces the importance of thorough predisturbance assessment of a site at the early planning stages, and the results and observations could be particularly informative in planning for introduction, reintroduction and translocation proposals involving the Purple Copper Butterfly.