Here is a note I received from my friend Jackie French, internationally renowned writer of stories about wombats. There is a lovely part of the world near Majors Ck in NSW where they used to dig for gold and they want to do it again which will kill every marsupial in a 50 km radius or something like that. I mentioned this problem to the Greens but they haven't stopped it so what good are they? Really.
So you dear reader, should do something or tell someone.
The Department of Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population & Communities has just listed the proposed Dargues Reef Development for assessment under the EPBC Act, and approval before it can proceed. This means there will be a brief ten day period where the public can make submissions. I know this is short- both State and Federal legislation these days gives the public and independent investigations into developments no time to make proper assessments.
What happens now:
The Department has asked the developer for further information. Once that has been provided, the public will have its ten day chance to comment again. This may be in about three weeks time, but it may be longer. It may also be possible to have an extension to comment of the developer's submission, but it is unlikely that this will be more than a few days- not enough time for a full environmental assessment to be done.
What needs to be done now:
This will probably be the last chance to establish what rare, endangered and critically endangered species exist 1-6 km below the mine site, and how they may be affected by the mining, the loss of water to ore processing, and the chemicals used in that processing. There have been many studies done of this area in the past thirty years, but I haven't kept a record of them, or even of those who did them. If you know of any flora or fauna studies that have been done in the Araluen Valley, Major's Creek Reserve, Deua national park, or Araluen, Deua or Moruya rivers, could you contact me?
If any students, or experts on any area, would like to spend a day walking through an almost bewildering beautiful gorge, to note or photograph the species there, could you contact me? We would happily provide accommodation, and pay any expenses involved. A night's study of frog calls or noting the various species of bat here would also be wonderful, or help assessing the developer's submission. The Major's Creek State Reserve and the Araluen gorge is a place of wonder, with more than thirty rare and endangered species, from the Araluen gum to endangered fish, powerful owls, and the green and golden bell frog, that have survived in its shelter and microclimates. It's unlikely though that they can survive a mine and ore processing centre just upstream of them.
If you can help, please do contact me, and many many thanks, Jackie French.
Here is a bit of additional info about the area.
It includes the following rare or endangered species that exist below the Dargue's Reef Mine site: -Powerful Owl (Ninox strenua), Barking Owl (Ninox connivens), Majors Creek Leek Orchid(Prasophyllum sp. Majors Creek)Brush-tailed Rock Wallaby (petrogale penicillata), Gang-gang Cockatoo, , Bettong, Red Goshawk, Little Pied Bat, Squirrel Glider (Petaurus norfolcensi) the Araluen python (Liasis sp.) not yet formally identified but visually distinct from any other known python species, and the Araulen Grasslands Community, listed as threatened by the NSW Government.
Federally listed animals within four kilometres directly downstream of the mine site include:
New Holland mouse (Pseudomys novaehollandiae)
Zieria adenophera (Araluen Zieria)
Button Wrinklewort (Rutidosis leptorrhynchoides)
Araluen Gum (Eucalyptus kartzoffiana)
Grey Deua Pomaderris (Pomaderris gilmourii var. cana)
Spotted-tailed Quoll (Dasyurus maculatus)
Threatened Community Listing
Littoral Rainforest and Coastal Vine Thckets of Eastern Australia
The Major's Creek Gorge, 1.5-4 Km downstream of the proposed development, contains one of the few existing remnants of the Backhousia myrtifolia, Ficus Coronata and tree fern rainforest, with it's many dependent species. While other small remnants remain elsewhere, the Major's Creek gorge is probably the most extensive. Due to the inaccessibility it has survived increased settlement and feral animal invasion as well as long periods of extreme drought, so has an excellent chance of continued survival, unless affected by a change in ph of the groundwater.
If you want to contact Jackie about this, send me an email.