Subject: Action: NCA referral - removal of trees on national land
Received: Tuesday, 22 December, 2009, 2:27 AM
Thank you for the opportunity to discuss the National Capital
Authority's EPBC referral (2009/5204, 19 November 2009) for
removal of trees on national land last Friday. As the submission
date has past, I write to offer some informal views from Friends
of Grasslands to guide DEWHA and the Minister on conditions that
you may consider in granting any approval.
Friends of Grasslands is a community group based in Canberra
that promotes conservation of grassy ecosystems
(www.fog.org.au). Stirling Park where some of the tree removal
is proposed is the habitat of EPBC listed grassy woodlands and
the endangered plant, Button Wrinkle Wort. Yarramundi Reach,
also managed by the NCA, is habitat of EPBC listed temperate
grasslands. Management of both NCA lands needs to improve if
thesevalues are to survive.
In their referral, (s. 4) the NCA say that this action is for
emergency removal of unsafe trees, that they are "preparing a
detailed program ... for long term management of trees on
National Land." Regarding removed trees it goes onto say that
"the NCA intends to replace them as soon aspossible .... where
possible all trees removed will be replaced like for like ..."
The NCA propose a new referral for these additional activities.
FOG makes the following points:
1. FOG supports removal of any dangerous trees and does not
oppose the proposed action, rather we ask that consideration be
given to additional ecological conditions.
2. The NCA should be obliged to base their tree removal program
in part on their 2009 management plans for Stirling Park and
Yarramundi Reach (attached) which are not cited in the referral.
3. Regarding Stirling Park, the exotic trees they propose to
remove are in the ecologically disturbed area of Unit 7
(attached NCA management plan). FOG believes that:
- Long term management of disturbed areas in Units 1, 2, 4, 6
and 7 should be addressed, including by planting indigenous
grassy woodland species in order to: a) restore ecological
connectivity, b) supress weeds, and c) reduce fire risk from
exotic grasses and trees;
- In particular, FOG advocates that the removed trees should be
offset by restoring a woodland corridor between Units 3 and 5
across "The Gap" in Unit 4;
- There are other exotic trees in ecologically significant units
(1, 3, 5) that should be systematically removed, such as large
Cootamundra Wattles, and a Willow in Haines Creek;
- The provision oin the National Capital Plan for a site for a
new Prime Ministerial Lodge should be relocated from
ecologically significant units (1, 3, 5) to ecologically
disturbed lands (Units 6 & 7), and the proposed tree management
actions should be undertaken with this future possible use in
4. At Yarramundi Reach the NCA has not proposed any urgent tree
removal but DEWHA should consider requiring this. In the past a
number of ornamental tree plantings have unwittingly impacted on
the grasslands and should be reduced or removed. In particular
we point out that the NCA's attached management plan:
- Identifies a small number of Willows planted in the endangered
Poa wet grassland community (Unit 5) as a priority for removal;
- Suggests longer term removal of inappropriate plantings in
Units 6 and 7 and replacement of exotic vegetation along this
section of the lake with indigenous species (Unit 7).
5. In our view DEWHA should discuss with the NCA more secure,
longer term conservation management options for these two
ecologically significant site on National Lands.
Jamie Pittock, on behalf of Friends of Grasslands