Friends of Grasslands
supporting native grassy ecosystems
PO Box 987
Civic Square ACT 2608
Phone: 02 62.. ....
Ms Julie Pearson
Brown Consulting (ACT) Pty Ltd
PO Box 5004
LYNEHAM ACT 2602
Dear Ms Pearson
Please find attached comments from Friends of Grasslands (FoG) on four proposed fire trails in Namadgi National Park and Bullen Range Nature Reserve. You will be aware that FoG participated in a recent discussion on these proposals with other local community environment groups, organised by Trish Harrup, Director of the Conservation Council of the South East Region and Canberra.
FoG is a non-profit organisation incorporated in the ACT and dedicated to supporting threatened grassy ecosystems in south-east Australia. FoG advocates, educates and advises on matters to do with conservation of grassy ecosystems, and carries out surveys and other on‑ground work. FoG has over 200 members, most from the ACT and SE NSW, including professional ecologists and others associated with natural resource management sciences, farmers, landowners and managers, members of Landcare and Parkcare groups, and dedicated conservationists. FoG members are familiar with the areas on which the trails are proposed, and with the significant ecological values of both the park and reserve which could be put at risk by inappropriate management.
FoG understands that fire trails are required to provide acces to isolated areas, including to allow for hazard reduction and back-burning. However, trailworks cause both initial and ongoing impacts along their alignment and in adjacent areas, which require careful management. FoG is concerned, that without adequate information on vegetation communities and other environmental values likely to be affected by the proposed works, it is not possible to make an assessment of the likely impacts.
18 May 2007
FoG comments on proposed fire trails within Namadgi National Park and Bullen Range Nature Reserve
FoG is concerned that for each of the proposed trails:
- inadequate information has been provided on the vegetation communities and other environmental values in these areas on which to make an assessment on the impact of the proposed trail
- by putting fire trails through these areas
- there may be damage to, or destruction of, aboriginal sites
- access by pest species (e.g. foxes) could be opened up
- phytophthora and weeds might be introduced, and sources of erosion might be opened up
- illegal vehicle access might be facilitated, which in turn would exacerbate other impacts.
Specific comments on each of the proposed trails follow
Bullen Range Fire Trail
FoG members who are very familiar with this area are concerned that the background justification for this trail, given its location, has not been sufficiently established.
Orroral Tors Fire Trail
· that there are a number of threatened and rare species that might be jeopardised by this trail
· rock areas are important peregrine falcon nesting sites, and these might be compromised by opening up the area
FoG is concerned that a fire trail through this area may damage tors.
FoG members who are very familiar with this area strongly oppose this proposed trail being built. FoG understands that current trails might be used as the basis of an alternative route.
Stockyard Link Fire Trail
FoG is concerned that:
- as the slopes in any fire trail would be steep, this would require a large amount of disturbance to build the road; additionally, future runoff might cause significant erosion problems in this significant catchment
- a fire trail through this area may compromise the Bimberri Wilderness area
- the steepness of the area may prevent fire fighting benefits being achieved, e.g.
- large water-filled trucks are unlikely to be able to use the trail
- slopes are likely to exceed hazard reduction or backburning slope thresholds.
FoG members who are very familiar with this area are very concerned about this proposed fire trail.
Spencers Border Fire Trail
FoG members who are very familiar with this believe that, given the existing trail on the NSW side of the border, the ACT Government should wait to see if access problems currently created by one private landholder can be resolved.