Tag Archives: environment


who – or what – is to blame for declining trout population?

In the following piece from The Weekly Times anglers accuse the environmental policies of the Victorian government for “ruining the state’s trout fishing areas in the high country”.

According to the Times,

“Anglers say the past season was disastrous in terms of lost brown and rainbow trout populations, and fear famous trout rivers are now years from recovery. “It was the worst trout fly fishing season in living memory,” Greenwells Fly Fishing Club at Albury president Des Walters said.

Many blame the widespread removal of non-native willows and poplars on public land under government environmental policy as the chief cause.

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Mt Buller is already over developed. Is the road part of a plan to see similar development on Mt Stirling?

$5m road ‘beginning of end’ for Mount Stirling

For background on the road proposal, check here.

If you don’t support secretive decision making by governments, or a new and unnecessary road in an alpine environment, you may want to send a message to the Minister who will take the decision:

Twitter:           @MatthewGuyMP

Email:             matthew.guy@parliament.vic.gov.au

The following update comes from Clay Lucas at The Age.

A move by the Napthine government to decide behind closed doors the fate of a controversial new road linking Mount Buller to Mount Stirling could be the first step in the development of the mountain as a new ski resort, a conservation group says.

Environment groups fought a long-running battle with property heavyweight Rino Grollo from the 1980s over his ultimately withdrawn plans to develop Mount Stirling as a downhill skiing resort.

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GFNP map

Victoria’s Great Forest National Park. It’s Time

The vision for a Great Forests National Park, proposed for the mountains east of Melbourne, is gaining momentum.

logoThe Great Forests National Park proposal is a vision for a multi-tiered parks system for bush users and bush lovers alike.

The tallest flowering trees on Earth grow north-east of Melbourne. In their high canopies dwell owls, gliders and Leadbeater’s Possum, Victoria’s endangered faunal emblem, that lives only in the ash forests of the Central Highlands.

These mountain ash forests have flourished along the Great Divide under rich rainfall patterns. They provide most of Melbourne’s drinking water. They have been shown to be among the most carbon-dense forests on Earth due to the relatively cool climate and rapid growth.
GFNP map
The Park, stretching from Kinglake through to the Baw Baws and north-east to Eildon, will protect the forests of the Central Highlands. It will be a world class reserve in Melbourne’s backyard.

It is time for this great vision to be turned into a National Park.

More information here.


Mt Wellington. Image: The Mercury

Wellington Park Management Trust weighs up cable car expansion request

The following comes from The Mercury newspaper. Journalist is Michelle Paine.

You may want to add a comment to The Mercury article.

For background to this issue, please check here.

A CABLE car on Mt Wellington is a step closer as the public is called to comment on extending the summit’s development zone.

The Wellington Park Management Trust has agreed to evaluate the proposal to enlarge the Pinnacle Specific Area, which allows development.

The Mt Wellington Cableway Co requested the boundary be moved to accommodate a cable car.

Trust chair Christine Mucha said it did not mean the trust was supporting any particular development.

The change would extend the area by about 60m east of the observation shelter.

Dr Mucha said that after consultation, the trust would prepare a report for the Tasmanian Planning Commission.

“While we recognise the strong sentiment against the potential for future development in the Pinnacle Specific Area, the trust believes that the management plan enables such proposals to be considered and assessed in accordance with the performance standards contained in the plan,’’ Dr Mucha said.

MWCC project lead Adrian Bold said it was a positive step.

“We’re following proper process. They had to agree with our rationale. Now there will be a process that involves the public,’’ Mr Bold said.

He said enlarging the boundary was extra work but would mean the cable car would have less visual impact.

Residents Opposed to the Cable Car spokesman Ted Cutlan said he was appalled at the trust’s “rubber stamp’’.

“They’re bending the management plan to fit the development,’’ Mr Cutlan said.

“This is one step along the way. The developer has to put in a development application that would fit the plan.’’


Alpine Researchers honoured for contributions to parks

This is from a few weeks ago, but is good acknowledgement of the efforts of researchers working to remove Hawkweed and control willows on the Bogong High Plains. Thanks to David Turner for spotting this one.

The release below is from Parks Victoria.

orange_hawkweedTwo Victorian researchers have been recognised for their outstanding contribution to managing highly invasive weeds in Victoria’s Alpine National Park.

Parks Victoria Chief Executive Dr Bill Jackson today acknowledged The University of Melbourne’s Dr Nick Williams, and Dr Joslin Moore from Monash University, as joint recipients of Parks Victoria’s inaugural Nancy Millis Science in Parks Award.

Dr Jackson said the award was being presented to the two researchers for their outstanding contribution to fostering excellence in applied science for the benefit of park management.

“Both projects demonstrated the researchers’ strong willingness to work closely with park managers to understand the extent and challenge of the weed problems. They also demonstrated leading edge science in solving difficult problems.”

“The work of Dr Williams and his team from The University of Melbourne has helped to protect the Alpine National Park’s biodiversity and transformed hawkweed control into a cutting edge and targeted program. This research partnership between Parks Victoria and Department of Environment and Primary Industries staff has significantly reduced Hawkweeds in the Alpine National Park, and the goal of eradicating it altogether is now a real possibility.”

“Dr William’s research and the work being done by all the partners on this project also benefits private landowners as hawkweeds have the potential to invade agricultural land and significantly affect agricultural production.”

Dr Jackson said Dr Joslin Moore and her team had achieved great results in controlling willow on the Bogong High Plains and as a result has had a major impact in protecting the Bogong High Plains environment.

“Willows are highly invasive and following the 2003 fires began germinating in large numbers. This posed a significant threat to an area within the Alpine National Park that is particularly important for its high biodiversity and landscape environment.

“As a result of a 7 year partnership with Parks Victoria, local Catchment Management Authorities and Falls Creek and Mt Hotham resorts, Dr Moore’s work has been fundamental in improving efforts to control willows on Bogong High Plains.”

Dr Jackson said both researchers had extensively documented their research in scientific publications, adding to the international body of work on effective methods of managing these extremely invasive weeds.

“I warmly congratulate Dr Williams and Dr Moore, and their teams who have contributed to this work, on making a real difference to managing invasive weeds in Victoria’s iconic Alpine landscapes.

“Caring for our parks is a complex task that involves many challenges including climate change, population increases and threats such as invasive pest plants and animals.

“We need innovative solutions and a good scientific understanding of how best to tackle these issues and how best to care for these important natural environments. Dr Williams and Dr Moore’s projects are part of Parks Victoria’s Research Partners Program that fosters collaborative applied research with universities and other research organisations.

The Nancy Millis Science in Parks Award

This award presented by Parks Victoria honours the late Professor Nancy Millis who was Chair of Parks Victoria’s Science and Management Effectiveness Advisory Committee since its inception 1997 and a member of Parks Victoria Board’s sub-committee on Environment.

The Minotaur and Mt Gould

more private development in Tasmanian World Heritage Area ?

As the Tasmanian and federal governments are being internationally criticised at the World Heritage Commission meeting in Doha over their attempt to de-list 74,000 hectares of forest from the Tasmanian World Heritage Area, a new threat to the integrity of Tasmania’s reserves has come to light.

A Tasmanian government website is calling for Expressions of Interest from investors w ho have “ideas (for development) in the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area as well as our National Parks and Reserves”.

It says the government wants to “unlock its natural areas to allow exciting new tourism experiences that are complemented by sensitive and appropriate tourism infrastructure”. In other words, more private development in conservation reserves.

Specifically, it says that the Government is looking for “developments which broaden the range of exciting and unique experiences on offer in our state by improving access for tourists while maintaining the integrity of our natural areas”.

It suggests that “sensible and appropriate” developments in the Wilderness World Heritage Area, National Parks and Reserves might include “resort-style accommodation. It might include walking tours, helicopter flights, mountain-bike riding, river cruises, new interpretative experiences or even luxury camping escapes”.

The Government is initially looking for ideas for the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area as well as our National Parks and Reserves. In the longer term it will consider other protected areas including Crown land and State Forests.

The first round for putting in an EOI is open until 21 November 2014.

With the anti-green agenda of the Tasmanian government it is very hard not to see this as a dangerous development which will undermine the ecological integrity of the reserve system.

The Greens have opposed this process. Greens’ Parks and Tourism spokesperson Nick McKim said in May that “the Liberals have an irrational and ideological desire for development at any cost, and they simply cannot be trusted to safeguard the natural and cultural values of Tasmania’s National Parks.”


Introducing The Watershed

6a00d8341d07fd53ef01a3fd06febb970b-500wiAs we wait patiently for cooler weather and serious snow falls, you may enjoy this one. Its the pilot issue of a newsprint publication.

The previous one focused on all things snow and was called The Drift.

The Watershed is a collaborative newsprint publication between The Usual (‘The Usual is a creative team with a penchant for the outdoors’) and Patagonia to celebrate the joy of simple fly fishing, healthy rivers, dam busting, and sustainably sourced food.

The Watershed features Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard, Patagonia fly fishing ambassador April Vokey, DamNation producer Matt Stoecker, director Travis Rummel, 1% for the Planet co-founder Craig Mathews, dam buster Katie Lee. With contributions by Malcolm Johnson, Jeremy Koreski, Paul Greenberg, Jeanine Pesce, Keith Malloy, Trevor Gordon, Stefan Knecht, Jim Mangan, and others.

Pick up your  Spring/Summer 2014 copy at select Patagonia stores worldwide.

You can read it here.

Leaves From An Australian Forest Protest

Ron coverIn the late 1980’s the campaign to save the majestic forests of the South East New South Wales hinged on a Base Camp set up at Reedy Creek to provide a jumping off point for Direct Action.

The forest protests were having limited effect and getting very little media. Late one night, around the campfire, a small group of greenies discussed their ’perfect’ action. It turned out that each of us dreamed the same dream; getting away from the mass arrest protests of the day where people simply presented themselves en-mass for arrest and moving up into the trees where the Police couldn’t reach us and staying there – that is how the first long-term tree action on mainland Australia was born.

This is a poetic memoir of the actions that followed by Ron Fletcher, who was a central figure in the campaign. As Ron notes “while much of those forests has since been sacrificed to the wood chippers greed, the spirit and skills developed through Nullica and subsequent SE forest protests continued and grew to be followed by many powerful platform protests and protestors”.

You can read a review and order the book here.

Alpine grazing. It’s not just a bumper sticker, it’s a hypothesis

fire damage on Great Alpine Road
fire damage on Great Alpine Road

Its just not a credible one.

Latrobe University recently hosted a significant event organised by the Research Centre for Applied Alpine Ecology on the much contested topic of alpine grazing and whether it is a useful management tool to reduce fire intensity.

It featured two researchers with long term research backgrounds in the realm of fire and grazing.

A report is available here.


challenge to alpine grazing

The following update comes from the Victorian National Parks Association.

Today we lodged papers in the Supreme Court of Victoria challenging the Napthine Government’s reintroduction of cattle grazing to the Alpine National Park.

The whole idea of national parks is to conserve nature for future generations, and for its own sake. These natural environments are irreplaceable – a gift to the present, and a legacy for the future.

But by insisting on putting cattle back into the Alpine National Park the Victorian Government is ignoring the intention of the law that established national parks.

Now that all other avenues of protecting the national park have been thwarted we have been forced to take legal action.

Both the state and federal governments have failed in their duty to protect the Alpine National Park.

This is a legal test case. No one has ever tried it before, so we can’t guarantee we will win.

But in our view there is no other option. We have to take this brave step.

Ensuring the integrity of national parks is an investment in the future. Whether we win or lose this legal test case, the idea and importance of national parks as a haven for people and nature must be defended.

To fight this campaign we need to raise money from visionary people in Victoria. We’re hoping you are one of those people.

This campaign is vital. It’s not just about stopping cattle, it’s also about putting a stop to all the other attempts to exploit and commercialise our national parks in ways that irreversibly damage them for future generations.

We have to take this legal action now.  In March this year, 60 cattle were rushed back into the Wonnangatta Valley, part of the heritage-listed Alpine National Park, by your government as part of a flawed fire management trial.

These ‘cattle grazing trials’ have been roundly criticised as flawed science that will contribute little, if anything, to our understanding of fire management. The evidence speaks for itself, you can read it on our website.

We have to stop them going back in again over the coming 2014-15 summer when more cattle (up to 300) will do even more damage!

The mountain cattlemen have clearly said they want to return cattle to the entire Alpine National Park, and that this ‘trial’ is just the starting point.

With a looming state election, the Napthine Government and the Labor opposition must clarify their policy on these ‘scientific’ cattle grazing trials.

Victorians have a right to know before the next state election if they are voting for a small-scale scientific trial, the full-scale return of cattle grazing to the Alpine National Park or for the exclusion of cattle from the park once and for all.