Friends of Grasslands
supporting native grassy ecosystems
PO Box 987
Civic Square ACT 2608
Phone: 02 62.. ....
Mr Craddock Morton
National Museum of Australia
GPO Box 1901
CANBERRRA ACT 2601
In July one of our office bearers was informally approached by a consultant working on behalf of the Museum to provide initial views on the option of locating a new storage facility at Yarramundi Reach. The FOG representative indicated that we would consult and respond with more considered views, but we have not had the opportunity to do so. Consequently I am writing now to offer our opinions on the proposal.
Friends of Grasslands is a community group based in Canberra and region, and our mission is to promote the conservation of threatened indigenous grassy ecosystems. Under a partnership agreement with the National Capital Authority, FOG is providing volunteer assistance to restore the native temperate grasslands at Yarramundi Reach. This grassland ecosystem and a number of threatened species recorded from the site are listed as matters of national environmental significance under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. FOGs’ work on site thus far involves weed control and scientific monitoring activities. FOG is also involved in the Southern Tablelands Ecosystem Project (STEP) to establish on disturbed lands a garden of indigenous plants as part of the adjacent Arboretum development.
We are under the impression that the Museum is considering proposing the establishment of a facility on the former pine plantation section of Yarramundi Reach. We are not aware of the size of the facility proposed, nature of activities to be carried out there, or whether visitors are anticipated to access the facility.
FOG’s first concern is the conservation of all of the remaining native temperate grassland on the larger, eastern half of the Yarramundi Reach site. Conservation of this site would require that:
- It is not overshadowed;
- There are no utility easements cut through the site (which bring weeds);
- Stormwater is drained elsewhere;
- The site can still be burnt as required for ecological vigour;
- Weeds are controlled; and
- Visitor access is managed.
Having said this, and even if a development proposal could meet the above conditions, we consider that the disturbed lands at Yarramundi Reach are a poor choice of location for a museum storage facility:
- Placing a large shed in between two arboretums, a nationally significant native grassland and Black Mountain Nature Reserve is incompatible in our view with the developing conservation landscape of the precinct;
- The site is fire prone, having been threatened twice this decade by severe bushfires;
- It is a long way from services.
FOG is very sympathetic to the Museum’s demand for better storage facilities, but we consider that such a facility would be better located in other parts of Canberra.
Thank you for the early opportunity to put our views on this proposal. For further information please contact FOG’s Yarramundi Reach project coordinator, Mr Jamie Pittock, on 0407 265 131 or Jamie.firstname.lastname@example.org.
14 August 2009
cc. Mr Gary Rake, National Capital Authority