Having built a 26-year career in conservation planning, impact assessment, environmental approvals, and ecological investigations, Darren is a highly-respected scientist. Throughout his career, he has acquired excellent project management skills and led multi-disciplined teams on significant projects throughout Queensland and New South Wales. His state government roles enabled him to pioneer various conservation planning tools, now widely entrenched in Queensland's regulatory and planning processes. Notably, he was a key figure in developing two critical conservation mapping and planning decision support tools, namely Biodiversity Planning Assessments (BPAs / BAMM) and Aquatic Conservation Assessments (AquaBAMM). He also co-authored AquaBAMM, which his team used in various catchments such as Queensland Murray-Darling Basin, Lake Eyre Basin, Brisbane City Council, and NSW Murray-Darling Basin.
Dr Fielder is also a nationally recognised expert in freshwater turtles and aquatic ecology, having conducted research into several threatened turtles across Queensland and New South Wales. He continues to conduct research and publish peer-reviewed scientific journal articles, and he regularly receives invitations to contribute to national and state programs. He has provided expert input to numerous government programs, including Expert Panels for BPAs and ACAs, Sustainable Rivers Audit, Ground Water Dependent Ecosystem mapping, Saving our Species program (NSW), Murray Darling Basin Fish Strategy, among others. In 2019, he chaired an Independent Expert Scientific Panel that assessed the development risks to the ecological values of the Free Flowing Rivers of Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre Basin (Qld) for the Queensland Department of Environment and Science. Additionally, he has facilitated several scientific workshops and delivered over 30 two-day workshops for more than 230 scientists, including the Scientific Expert Panel on Lake Eyre Basin in 2019.
Furthermore, Dr Fielder has extensive experience in fauna and flora survey and habitat assessment from his career as an ecologist. He is a Suitably Qualified Person under the Nature Conservation (Plants) Regulation Act 2020 and an accredited DES botanist. He has undertaken preclearance surveys along major infrastructure projects, including new and existing road corridors, CSG and energy projects. In 2016, he led a team of fauna specialists for a major EIS across 67,000 ha cattle station in far north Queensland where he recorded threatened species such as black-throated finch (southern subspecies), koala, ornamental snakes, and squatter pigeons (southern subspecies).
Dr Fielder has personally conducted over 550 individual flora and fauna habitat assessments generating over 40,000 records. This includes numerous quarries, road networks, floodways, urban vacant land, crown land, rivers and wetland surveys, vegetation assessments, and threatened species survey and quantification. He has also conducted numerous property fauna assessments involving various survey techniques such as timed bird surveys, pitfall trapping, direct searches, camera traps, Elliot traps, koala surveys, spotlight surveys, and meander transects.
Australian Society of Herpetology