Mountain Journal

Environment, news, culture from the Australian Alps


alpine environment

Dinner Plain ‘village green’ update

At a recent meeting the Alpine Shire has confirmed that the ‘Village Green’ planned for Dinner Plain near Mt Hotham will not proceed in its current form. However it will continue to look into options for a ‘lower impact’ public space in the village.

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Impacts of Feral Horses on the Bogong High Plains

Feral horses pose a threat to and damage the environmental values of the Victorian alps, including areas of the Bogong High Plains. This impact has been well documented in the past.

To address this threat, Parks Victoria has for some time undertaken a trapping program to reduce the number of horses, and hence the damage they have on sensitive alpine flora and fauna.

A new report has been released based on assessments of impacts on a number of locations across the Bogong High Plains in north eastern Victoria, and how these impacts have changed over the last decade.

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Mount Stirling in 2030 – Draft for Consultation

Mt Buller and Mt Stirling Resort Management and the Mount Stirling Stakeholder Group are preparing a contemporary vision for the Mount Stirling Alpine Resort. Mount Stirling 2030 is a vision that reflects community and stakeholder aspirations, celebrating the social and environmental values of the mountain and addressing challenges of climate change.

Mt Buller Mt Stirling Resort Management seeks your feedback on Mount Stirling 2030, which is being prepared to guide future management decisions for the Mount Stirling Alpine Resort.

The consultation period is open between Monday 18 December 2017 and 5pm Sunday 21 January 2018.

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Alpine Council suspends further work on Dinner Plain ‘village green’ for time being

At the Council meeting on December 18, Alpine Shire Council voted to suspend further development of the current feasibility work for the ‘village green’. Council will leave open the option of a village oval for future development once they have done the required vegetation offsets for Lot 3 (see below). Lot 3 is the land to the south of the village which is currently undeveloped.

Separate to this project, a planning permit has recently been granted for the construction of 7.1 km of new mountain bike trails in Dinner Plain, and the estimated cost of delivering this project is $400,000. Trail construction work is planned to commence in early 2018.

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Falls Creek Hawkweed Eradication Program Volunteer Surveys.

As you may know, Hawkweeds are a highly invasive pest plant species which could cause major environmental damage in alpine and sub-alpine areas of Australia if not eradicated early.

For several years there have been summer field trips where volunteers join with Parks Victoria to identify and remove Hawkweed from the Bogong High Plains. They will be on again this summer and you can register now.

Continue reading “Falls Creek Hawkweed Eradication Program Volunteer Surveys.”

Alpine Tasmania

If you love the natural environment of Tasmania you need to subscribe to Tasmanian Geographic (TG), an online journal covering “exploration, research,science outreach, adventure & expedition journalism, educational mapmaking, documentary filmmaking, ecological & experiential & educational tourism, historical musings, museum studies, project updates, and more”.

In their most recent edition, there is an announcement about a book on the alpine environment of this island paradise.

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More frequent fires threaten snow gums

Fire has had a significant role in shaping mountain ecosystems in Australia for millions of years. But climate change is making our fire seasons more extreme and longer in duration.

What this means is that we are seeing more and more areas being burnt more frequently. In the case of the Victorian mountains, I have seen some areas of alpine ash and snow gums that have been burnt three times in a decade. Each year it feels like the world is getting poorer as these forests are impacted time and again, potentially beyond their ability to recover.

It’s the same story everywhere. Who can forget the devastating fires in Tasmania over the summer of 2016?

As we hear warnings that this summers fire season may be a bad one, massive fires are raging across much of western North America, causing many people to flee from their homes and communities. Vast areas of land are being burnt. For instance one fire in California swept through an area called Nelder Grove, which is home to 2,700-year-old giant sequoia trees. Human assets like historical buildings are also being threatened or destroyed.

There are fires across much of the rest of the northern hemisphere too. Check the incredible maps in this article entitled ‘This is how much of the world is currently on fire’.

Recent research here in Australia demonstrates that fire impacts are growing on snow gum forests and will continue to do so in future. Mountain Journal has reported on a number of these reports in the past. A new report from researchers at Melbourne University has a shocking message: ‘over 90% of the Victorian distribution of snow gums has been burned at least once since 2003. What is of greater concern though, is that each of the large fires of the last 15 years has overlapped to some extent, leaving thousands of hectares of snow gums burned by wildfire twice, and sometimes three times’.

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Significant forest destruction proposed for Dinner Plain

Mountain Journal has previously reported on a plan to clear 1.8 hectares of Sub-alpine Woodland just adjacent to the Dinner Plain village to create an ‘Elite Training Facility’ (now called the ‘Village Green’).

The current proposal is to create a ‘large flat open grassed area approximately 90 m wide and 150 m long’. An access road and car parking along two sides of the grassed area are proposed, as well as public toilet facilities. A report prepared for Council describes it ‘as a community space (which) is large enough to facilitate sporting events such as polo, horse riding, and high altitude elite athlete training.’

Alpine Shire Council has committed to the delivery of $1,500,000 worth of capital works projects within Dinner Plain by 2027; and says that this will be funded by the Dinner Plain reserve (currently approximately $1,000,000) and additional funds as allocated by Council.

It now needs to decide whether to proceed with the proposal.

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The Mountain Legacy Project

The Mountain Legacy Project, or MLP, is “an interdisciplinary collaboration focused on exploring change in Canada’s mountain environments. Utilizing over 140,000 images taken by land surveyors from 1861 – 1953, MLP researchers seek to re-photograph these images as accurately as possible and make the resulting image pairs available for further investigation”.

It compares the original landscape shown in the early photos with ones taken in the same place over the past few years. It allows you look at the changes in many thousands of places – mountains, valleys and so on – over time. And the results are incredible. While it documents the development of towns, roads, changes in land management, the impact of logging operations and wildfire, etc, the most striking aspect is the change to snowpack and ice fields during this time.

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