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Mountain Journal

Environment, news, culture from the Australian Alps

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land management

‘Kosciuszko National Park is lurching towards a crisis’

Wild horse populations pose a significant threat to alpine and sub alpine areas across the Alps. However in NSW, a campaign to have the horses protected because of their ‘cultural’ status means that impacts are growing significantly within Kosciuszko National Park. Now horse removal from the park has stopped for a second year in a row because of an intervention by NSW Deputy Premier, John Barilaro.

Andrew Cox, the Invasive Species Council CEO, has called this a “shameful back-down for a government claiming to prioritise protection of the environment.”

Continue reading “‘Kosciuszko National Park is lurching towards a crisis’”

National parks need ‘at least one per cent of state expenditure’.

As the issue of feral horses in Kosciuszko National Park demonstrates, winning protection of an area in a park is only the first bit of protecting wild places. They need adequate funding to allow land managers to protect their ecological values. This has been highlighted recently by the Victorian National Parks Association (VNPA), who have pointed out the many threats to parks (weeds and pest animals such as deer, pigs, foxes and cats, and human visitation, plus climate change).

The Coalition cut funding for parks while they were in power in Victoria and while funding has increased under the current ALP government, the VNPA believes funding needs to double if parks are to be adequately managed.

Continue reading “National parks need ‘at least one per cent of state expenditure’.”

Australia’s conservation reserves under threat from commercialisation

Millions of Australians have worked hard to gain protection of our wild places over many decades. The national parks and other conservation areas that have been created as a result of these efforts protect some of our wildest and greatest landscapes.

In recent years it has become clear that climate change poses a grave – and in some cases existential – threat to many of these places. Then there is the threat of invasive plant and animal species, fragmentation of habitat due to clearing and logging in areas next to reserves, etc.

A more insidious threat has been the slow shift by both state and federal governments to consider, or actively support, commercial operations in our conservation reserves.

This is well underway in Tasmania, with private commercial developments along the Overland Track, and plans for other operations in many parts of the state.

Recent examples include the plan to allow ‘helicopter tourism’ and a small commercial operation inside the Walls of Jerusalem national park in Central Tasmania and a plan to build a cable car into the famous Dove Lake, near Cradle Mountain. In some instances, land is being removed from parks to allow various forms of development.

A recent report shows the scale of this threat.

Continue reading “Australia’s conservation reserves under threat from commercialisation”

Former fire chiefs demand urgent action on ‘escalating climate change threat’

We know that climate change is already impacting on Australia’s high country through longer and more intense fire seasons and increasingly erratic winter snow.

What is perhaps less obvious is the fact that emergency services are not adequately resourced to defend the mountains from worsening bushfire seasons.

This has been highlighted in the case of recent fires in Tasmania, where – even with interstate and international support – emergency services were not able to control fires in Tasmania’s world heritage areas over the summer of 2018/19. This had previously been the case in Tasmania in 2016, when precious areas of fire sensitive vegetation were destroyed. Additionally fires in the Victorian high country burnt some areas for the third time in 10 years, with the possibility of significant long term ecological impacts.

Now 23 of Australia’s most senior former emergency service bosses have come together in an unprecedented show of unity, calling on the Prime Minister to ‘get on with the job’ of reducing greenhouse gasses.

They also highlight the fact that Australia currently lacks the resources we need to fight wild fire effectively.

Continue reading “Former fire chiefs demand urgent action on ‘escalating climate change threat’”

“Reining in feral horse numbers should be top of Matt Kean’s to-do list”

The re-election of a conservative government in New South Wales sends a worrying signal to people who are concerned about climate change and the environment. They have already announced that the Office of Environment and Heritage will cease to be a ‘stand-alone independent body’ and environment issues will be absorbed into a new planning and industry department, while heritage will be moved into premier and cabinet. The Nature Conservation Council responded to this move by saying the government has ‘been at war with nature and environmental protection since it came to power in 2011’.

Reclaim Kosci, an advocacy group which is campaigning to ensure the Kosciuszko National Park is protected through tackling the number of feral horses running rampant in the park, says this issue should be the number one priority for the new energy and environment minister, Matt Kean.

Continue reading ““Reining in feral horse numbers should be top of Matt Kean’s to-do list””

‘Save Kosci’ walk finishes at Mt Kosciuszko

More than 600 people joined sections of the 36 day walk from Sydney to the summit of Mt Kosciuszko which aimed to raise awareness about the negative impacts of feral horses in the Kosciuszko national park. The walk finished on December 9. The five people who did the whole walk from Sydney were joined on the final day by 178 people, walking from Jindabyne, Thredbo or with the main group from Charlotte Pass.

Continue reading “‘Save Kosci’ walk finishes at Mt Kosciuszko”

Volunteer Hawkweed eradication programs in the Snowy Mountains

Mouse-ear hawkweed (Hieracium pilosella) is an invasive perennial herb in the daisy (Asteraceae) family. It is native to Europe and Asia but now occurs as a serious weed in New Zealand, Canada and USA.

A small infestation of mouse-ear hawkweed was discovered in December 2014, near Charlottes Pass in the Main Range of Kosciuszko National Park. The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) has an active control-and-detection program under way to eradicate this threat.

The National Parks and Wildlife Service in NSW is organising a volunteer program in the Snowy Mountains from January until March 2019. Volunteers help with identifying the location of hawkweed infestations.

Continue reading “Volunteer Hawkweed eradication programs in the Snowy Mountains”

‘Hooves off our Alps.’ Public forum in Melbourne

NSW wants to protect its feral horses. Why Victorians should be worried?

You’re invited to this free forum hosted by the Invasive Species Council in Melbourne, on Wednesday, 28 November 2018 from 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm

Continue reading “‘Hooves off our Alps.’ Public forum in Melbourne”

‘Save Kosci’ walkers to start their 560 km journey

On the 3rd November, a group of bushwalkers will start a 35 day walk from Sydney to the summit of Mt Kosciuszko, to highlight the damage being caused by feral horses.

If you live in Sydney, please consider attending the ‘send off’ as they leave for Kosci.

Saturday Nov 3 at 9am.

Continue reading “‘Save Kosci’ walkers to start their 560 km journey”

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