Friends of Grasslands
supporting native grassy ecosystems
PO Box 987
Civic Square ACT 2608
Phone: 02 62.. ....
Dr Maxine Cooper
Commissioner for Sustainability and
PO Box 356
Dickson ACT 2602
Canberra Nature Park investigation
Friends of Grasslands (FOG) would like to comment on the paper by Mr Ian Pulsford, Should Goorooyarroo, Mulligans Flat, Mount Majura and Mount Ainslie become a National Park or remain as discrete Nature Reserves as part of Canberra Nature Park, recently released as part of your investigation of Canberra Nature Park.
FOG has been arguing for years that native grassland and grassy woodland conservation in the ACT needs to be on a landscape basis, with consideration given to connectivity between high quality areas as well as conservation of the high quality areas themselves. The current approach of piecemeal development proposals is resulting in a gradual decline in grassy ecosystem sites across the ACT. FOG also considers that natural temperate grasslands and yellow box-red gum grassy woodlands are poorly represented in national parks. Adding the proposed reserves to the national park system will have the important effect of increasing the perceived status of these ecosystems in the governments’ view and improve community awareness of their importance. For these reasons, FOG supports the proposal that Goorooyarroo, Mulligans Flat, Mount Majura and Mount Ainslie become a National Park in the ACT, principally on the basis of recommendation 7 that such an amalgamation be managed with a whole of landscape/ecosystem approach so that the reserves remain viable ecosystems the long term.
FOG also supports recommendation 5 that the proposed park be managed to showcase world class science and to guide best practice woodland recovery and management. Perhaps any such work could be displayed at or linked up with the STEP developments at the National Arboretum Canberra, thus considerably broadening the potential visitor audience reached?
Having said this, FOG considers as critical the report’s recommendations (4 and 6) that this proposed amalgamation not be at the expense of reduced management of other high-conservation-value reserves in Canberra Nature Park, and that these existing reserves in Canberra Nature Park are not neglected and starved of resources.
Finally, FOG wishes to amplify the discussion point 3.1.10 that this proposed amalgamation be considered, from the outset, as just the core for larger scale connectivity and conservation across and beyond the ACT. There is great potential to link, for example, to the west across the top of the rapidly expanding northernmost ACT suburbs to the proposed Kinlyside Reserve, and beyond to the north and west into NSW. A northern national park could also take in the northern grassland reserves, including Dunlop. As well, FOG sees value in other current proposals to incorporate nature reserve areas in the ACT south of Lake Burley Griffin as part of a national park. Other options are a Murrumbidgee River Corridor National Park and a Molonglo River Corridor National Park (Molonglo River downstream of Coppins Crossing through to Black Mountain in the east).
John Fitz Gerald
16 May 2011