A koala protection act, or business as usual?

Finishing off a week when the Federal government released its new climate targets, based on keeping the coal industry viable, the government’s own Climate Change Authority saying Australia isn’t doing enough and the Labor party’s pledge to scrap Emissions Reduction Fund. The Australian Koala Foundation has written to 128 federal politicians asking if they can image an Australia without koalas.

To address the extinction issue the AKF have proposed a “Koala Protection Act’ and are asking relevant pollies where they stand on the matter.

According to AKF CEO Deborah Tabart OAM, ” the KPA is based on the American Bald Eagle Act and has been drafted by brilliant national and international legal minds. The KPA will not be an impediment to industry, particularly if it does the right thing. It is time industry was put on notice to produce excellent science as part of its environmental assessments.”

On the issue of environmental assessments Bega Valley Shire Council is seeking community comment on its Draft Coastal Processes and Hazard Definition Study.  The detailed study points to ‘Climate variability at decadal time scales (10-30 years)’ and confirms La nina as a ‘notable component influencing east coast lows, higher rainfall and associated flood activity.’  Climate variables influence wind and wave direction, along with the pattern of sand distribution on beaches, with sand generally moving north during La nina and south during El nino.

El nino years

 

However, the deposition of beach sand into coastal estuaries is supposed to be balanced by the ‘scouring’ effects of floods. The problem with this historic view is that it does not take account of the known increase in rainfall runoff. Given this increase and associated increased potential for estuary mouths to migrate, the question remains why beach sand in estuaries is increasing.

The graphic above, from ‘Longpaddock’, is employed in the study to show times of above average rainfall, although in this case relatively recent periods of dry weather are indicated. At a local scale, the major weather difference between these dry periods was their duration. The 1983 and 2002 events dragged out for a couple of years, although the 1998 event, the first time extensive canopy die-back was observed, only last a few months.

With an El nino, described as a ‘great godzilla’ brewing in the Pacific, it would be reassuring to think such issues were at the forefront of bipartisan political thinking.

Also on koalas, I understand Cooma Monaro Council will be releasing its ‘comprehensive koala plan of management’ this week. One CMS councilor suggested on ABC radio that the plan is less than comprehensive. Have to wait and see, but it does have the ring of business as usual.

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