Feds threaten sustainability – catchment assessments begin

As if the sun has suddenly dawned, ABC Radio National quoted parliamentary secretary  for forestry Senator Richard Colbeck last week saying ‘the issue about the long-term sustainability of our forests is one that we need to confront and address’.

Suggesting  the new RFA’s need to ensure logging quotas are be sustainable  he adds ‘I suspect that in some places there will be some very difficult decisions that need to be made around the availability of timber, and particularly in some cases in the context of contracts moving forward.’

The quotes are part of a lengthy article on north coast logging, also questioning Forestry Corporation NSW’s Nick Roberts about problems with resource estimates.  Mr Roberts doesn’t  think there is a problem indicating ” I think the resource estimates are … sound in so far as we need them to be.”

Much of the article is devoted to logging contractors, all of whom seem to share the opinion that forests have been trashed under the RFAs.

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Back in the shire, Bega Valley Shire Council has secured funding from the Office of Environment and Heritage to undertake ‘rapid catchment assessments’ of Cuttagee Lake, Nelson Lagoon and Middle Lagoon.

Unfortunately Council’s Coastal Management Officer, Kyran Crane, doesn’t refer to the major problem in the catchments, soil dispersion, but suggests “ . . . It is crucial that good water quality is maintained in these ICOLLs, not only for recreation purposes but because Nelson Lagoon is also an oyster growing lake which relies directly on the quality of the water.”

Perhaps because governments have a generally poor appreciation of the environment, consultants have been engaged to undertake the assessments.

One of the issues with intermittently closed and opened lakes or lagoons is the differing views on how these catchments work. Several local residents have suggested that logging is responsible for the sediment that collects and intermittently closes the lakes.

However, a closer look at Cuttagee below, coupled with the understanding that soils have been dispersing from the catchment for a least several decades, provides a different understanding.

As indicated the main blockage is at the ocean/lake interface, where beach sand has slowly been filling the front end of the lake. This sand is not derived from the catchment, but is likely to collect in greater volumes because base water flows in the catchment have reduced, along with soil water holding capacity. In this case the influx of beach sand has blocked water flows from and to the smaller lake on the south side, where many trees died last year.

Exactly what will come from the assessments is unclear,  past assessments haven’t acknowledged the main issues or addressed them.

However, consultants Elgin Associates are calling for input and ” Project manager Dr Nicholas Yee can be contacted directly on 0400 365 234 or at nick.yee@elgin.com.au or interested residents, stakeholders and community members may complete an online survey via the following links.”
Cuttagee Lake   https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/Cuttagee_Lake
Middle Lagoon   https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/Middle_Lagoon
Nelson Lagoon   https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/Nelson_Lagoon

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