Friends of Grasslands
supporting native grassy ecosystems
PO Box 987
Civic Square ACT 2608
Mr Peter Beutel
Asset Manager, Estate Management
National Capital Authority
GPO Box 373
CANBERRA ACT 2601
Dear Mr Beutel,
Management of trees on national lands
We write further to our letter dated 10 March 2010 to Mr Rake, and in response to the NCA’s notice is published pursuant to Section 95A of the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) for assessment by preliminary documentation of removal of trees on national lands (EPBC 2009/5204).
FOG supports the NCA’s work to enhance public safety and replace trees nearing the ends of their lives as proposed in the referral. We write to request:
Additional removals of trees impacting on the natural values of national lands; and
Replacement of some of the removed trees with indigenous vegetation.
FOG is concerned that a number of existing trees in the Stirling Park, Scriveners Hut and Yarramundi Reach sites are inappropriately located and impacting on the natural heritage values of your lands. Controlling the impact of many of these trees has been adopted as management actions in the NCA’s 2009 Conservation Management Plans. For example:
A large firethorn hedge by the Howie’s Hut site in Stirling Park appears to be a major source of weed infestation.
Desert Ash and Chinese Pistachio trees near the Westlake site are key sources of weed invasion in Stirling Park.
Birch and Poplar trees have over-run the creek line at Scriveners Hut and are spreading into adjacent woodland.
Exotic trees along the lake at Attunga Point overshadow and impact on the fenced population of endangered Button Wrinkle Wort at Attunga Point.
Exotic trees along the lake at Yarramundi Reach are in very poor condition, collapsing on threatened grasslands and appearing to harbour rabbits, hares and weeds.
A small number of willows (one recently collapsed and four others appear diseased at the base) planted by the creek line at Yarramundi Reach are increasingly impacting on the endangered wet Poa grassland community.
FOG would like to work with the NCA to help identify opportunities to strategically remove such additional trees to enhance the natural heritage values of National Lands.
Re-establishment of indigenous species
We do not believe that there is a public demand or heritage conservation need to replace removed exotic trees like-for-like at Stirling Park, Scriveners Hut and Yarramundi Reach. Further, we believe there are cleared NCA lands at Stirling Park (management plan units 2, 4, 6 and 7) where re-establishment of locally indigenous woodland trees (mainly Eucalyptus) and understorey would help by: suppressing flammable, herbaceous weed growth; contributing to a lower fire risk; and further enhancing natural heritage values. We ask the NCA to invest in re-establishment of locally indigenous woodland species as mitigation measures for the necessary tree removal works at Stirling Park and Scriveners Hut.
Further, the NCA’s referral mentions:
a) “The proposed tree removals represent the first phase of a larger, longer-term tree management strategy for trees on National lands.”; and
b) “The NCA will make a subsequent referral concerning replacement of the trees to be removed.”
We ask that these measures further consider opportunities to replace inappropriately located exotic trees at Stirling Park, Scriveners Hut and Yarramundi Reach with locally indigenous species.
We would appreciate opportunities to assist your staff to incorporate these proposals in the NCA’s programs. Your staff may contact Jamie Pittock at FOG to follow up these measures on m. 0407 265 131 or Jamie.firstname.lastname@example.org
5 November 2010