Rapid catchment assessments – an opportunity for appropriate management?

Early this month the Green’s David Shoebridge and Labour’s Penny Sharpe asked several forestry associated questions in NSW parliament. Included in the issues were koalas, the ‘Murrah Reserves’, their management and the following questions from Ms Sharpe.

(1) What steps is the Environment Protection Authority taking to ensure that the principles of Ecologically Sustainable Forest management are implemented in accordance with the Integrated Forestry Operating Approval, to redress Bell Miner Associated Dieback?,
(2) What actions have been taken to identify and map all affected and susceptible areas? (a) What is the timeframe in which this will happen

Answers to the questions aren’t due until April 13. However, next week Bega Shire Council and the OE&H will be holding ‘community drop-in sessions‘, providing progress on the Rapid Catchment Assessments for Cuttagee Lake, Nelsons and Middle Lagoons.

forests and koalas middle and nelsons

According to Council’s Coastal Management Officer, Kyran Crane “ . . . The aim of these assessments is to target environmental issues within the estuary and catchment and to suggest targeted actions to remediate these issues,”
Exactly what can be expected from the assessments is unclear, although it would be unacceptable if issues like BMAD or extensive canopy die-back across tenures, as in the graphic above, were not considered.
So it was interesting to read a letter from the South East Timber Association, concerned that turning State Forest into reserve may not help koalas. According to association president Stephen Pope ” . . . SETA will be taking great interest in what changes will be made to current reserve management systems to ensure long term survival of koalas on the NSW South Coast. ”
SETA can be assured that others also have an interest in management systems aimed at beginning to address the known threats to koalas.

Of course this proposed management will require funds and according to the latest Australia Institute report on native forest logging, current funding continues to prop up a doomed industry. So it seems reasonable that these funds could be diverted to more appropriate management.

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