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Upper Catchment Issues Vol 1 No 2 Section 2b

Author: Tasmanian Community Resource Auditors Incorporated

MAEMG Findings - Impacts on fauna:

Reserved habitat

Actual Damage

Potential Damage

Unreserved habitat

Actual damage

Potential damage

As well as the above, there are serious questions surrounding the boundaries of the two reserves on Mt Arthur listed in the Regional Forest Agreement (RFA). The Mt Arthur reserve, as listed in the RFA, includes the area above the Mt Arthur Road, defined by the variation to the FPP. The management prescriptions for E. orramakunna were established with the understanding that this area would be subsequently gazetted by the State Government, and therefore much of E. orramakunna habitat would be afforded protection from forestry operations (see appendix 13). The gazetted reserve was in fact 200 ha smaller, losing the area known as prime crayfish habitat (this issue is further considered in section 5). MAEMG repeats Dr. N. Doran, (quoted in Mr. Nelson's letter 22/5/01 to Mr. Brereton of the Threatened Species Unit, DPIWE) who says:

and further repeats Mr. Nelson who concluded:

Given the listed key threats to E. orramakunna, and given that the area within the variation to the FPP was considered integral to the species' ongoing viability, MAEMG concludes that the future of E. orramakunna has been further threatened due to logging operations on Mt Arthur. The consequences for the species' ongoing survival warrant further investigation, with probable revision of the species' threatened status both in Tasmania and nationally.

Northeast Forest Snail

As above, the Threatened Fauna Manual lisle Mapsheet identifies an actual site fur the NE forest snail within the area defined by the variation to the FPP. As with E. orramakunna, non-identification of streams within the area defined by the variation has placed this species under further threat. The provisions in the FPC, and FPP based on the Threatened Fauna Manual's prescription for the species were inadequate, because the streams were not identified, and therefore not protected.

Wedge Tailed Eagle

The FPP states, (section D.2):

Mismatches with MAEMG audit relating to Wedge Tail Eagle:

MAEMG therefore concludes that yet another threatened species habitat was likely destroyed, diminished or disturbed due to harvesting operations on Mt Arthur.

Cultural Heritage

MAEMG contends that the upper catchment area of Mt Arthur is of unusually high significance, due to the interplay of so many cultural and environmental aspects unique to this area. Not only has the area been:

In the light of these stated objectives, this forthcoming audit will assess the planning and research of cultural heritage sites within the coupe, and the management prescriptions in place to protect the integrity of this value. The results of this forthcoming investigation will be published in the public domain within 60 days of the release of this preliminary audit.

Mismatches with MAEMG audit relating to Aboriginal Heritage:

Contrary to the stated principles above, throughout all stages of forest management of the area within Coupe LI 126C, members of the local community had declared their special interest in the area, and requested to be consulted. Yet, despite two independent meetings by Mr. S. Wearne (March 2000) and Mrs. F. Withopf (April 2000) with the FT senior planner for Bass District (where the unique cultural significance of the Mountain was outlined) the importance of these values was neither acknowledged in the planning process nor addressed during the operations. Each time a representation was made by members of the local community (Mrs. Withopf made a second approach to FT in November 2000), the verbal assurance was given that the integrity of the Mountain, with its unique blend of ecological and cultural values would be protected and that the clearing of the rainforest would not extend to Mt Arthur Road. Thirty members of the community met with Mr. P. Rosevear on the 6th of March 2001, reiterating the significance of the Mountain to the community. Mr. Rosevear accepted that these aspects had been overlooked in planning, and that this was "regrettable".

The level of community involvement and interest increased through 2001, culminating in both a community forum of over 300 people, and the unanimous Launceston City Council, each requesting an immediate cease to all forestry activities in the Mt. Arthur upper catchment. These, and further requests for consultation regarding aerial spraying by Mrs. Withopf (appendix 21), were ignored. Harvesting in the Coupe LI 126C did cease in late March due to the first significant rain event although plantation establishment proceeded.