Yurangalo Inc

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Inside Cover



Inside CoverJanuaryFebruaryMarchAprilMayJuneJulyAugustSeptemberOctoberNovemberDecember

 

 

Once again, we say, this is possibly Yurangalo’s last calendar. As we send the 2012 edition to the printers, the future of Western Yurammie is under

threat more than ever. The Government has said it has made a decision.

 

Looking northeast from the village of Wyndham you’ll see the Chalkhills…from the high point of the range, follow the forested skyline to the gap that leads to the

ocean. This forest is the watershed for two rivers, the Pambula River to the east and the Towamba River in the west. It consists of five forestry compartments (963 -

967) in Yurammie State Forest; three compartments are on the Wyndham side and two are near Goodenia Rainforest in the east.

This is Western Yurammie.

 

Last year, as we went to print, the Minister for Forests was Steve Whan MP. He decided to authorise a peer review of the Forests NSW hydrology report which was

modeled on other catchments because there was no accurate data for Western Yurammie (WY). Not surprisingly, the Forests NSW report had concluded that logging

would not have an adverse impact on Wyndham’s water supply. Not surprisingly, the peer review hydrologist, who had strong links to production forestry, had

already made up his mind, before meeting the community, that logging would have no impact on the water supply. However, having said this, he then suggested that

it would be better if the town put in place water storage in the form of tanks, rather than rely on what the forest currently supplies. How one of NSW’s few

community-owned and managed water schemes might finance this was not discussed. The other scientist from CSIRO had no input from or contact with the

community despite requests for such.

 

In March 2011 the Liberals won the NSW State election and there was yet another Minister for Primary Industries unfamiliar with the WY issue. Every effort was

made to brief the Minister and her advisors with the campaign to protect WY. This included information that documented the history of the campaign from the early

1990s onwards when community members began lobbying the NSW Government to protect WY from the threat of further woodchipping. During the 1998 Regional

Forest Agreement, community pressure resulted in these five compartments being designated a Special Prescription Zone. Further, the NSW Government has

received two petitions requesting the permanent protection of this forest in 1998 and 2001. It has also received thousands of letters asking it to protect the

community’s interests by placing WY in the reserve system.

 

This briefing also covered the significant community actions of 2010, which many of you will have been involved in, to show the NSW Government how important

WY is to the local community. At very short notice, over 400 people gathered at the Wyndham Sportsground in early March to demonstrate their opposition to the

possibility of logging. In April, the community was invited to a day held in WY itself to highlight the assets of this precious forest (including a guest appearance by a

pair of Powerful Owls). Each time the government called for submissions in response to Forests NSWs’ proposals and their hydrology report, the community

responded accordingly, making their support for the protection of this forest abundantly clear.

 

In 2011, Yurangalo seized the opportunity of the peer review and the new government coming to grips with its responsibilities to undertake a research project to

check on the fauna of WY using remote sensing cameras. The fauna (and flora) of WY, after two rain abundant years, are in fine form.

In late August, Wyndham community groups were advised that Katrina Hodgkinson, the NSW Minister for Primary Industries (including Forests), would be available

for an extremely brief meeting. We were very uncertain about the nature of this meeting, but attended in good faith, only to find out that this would be our only

opportunity to brief the Minister in person.

 

In mid-November, Minister Hodgkinson sent a letter in which she indicated that, despite the history of lobbying and strong public displays of support for WY, she

would not intervene to prevent logging. She has stated that logging would conform to the plan proposed by Forests NSW last year, that is, 50% canopy retention

over the three western compartments and 30m buffers on the western sides of their rainforest gullies. Do you think that’s adequate to protect the values of WY?

The values of WY that the NSW Government needs to recognize have not changed.

WY and its future is significant to Wyndham and the surrounding area for a number of important reasons.

Firstly, this forest and its rainforest gullies form a significant part of Wyndham’s water catchments. They feed directly into the Myrtle Creek. It is noteworthy that in

the summer of 2002 – 2003, when trees were dying elsewhere, there was no sign of tree death in this forest. As the district grows, as the demand for water

increases, it is vital that the Wyndham community permanently protects its water catchments.

Secondly, as appreciation of the area increases, WY offers easy visitor access to mature forest and rainforest gullies along the Kingfisher and Goodenia Roads. This

place is a tourist asset. The superb panoramic view from the top of the Chalkhills in WY stretches down to the coast in the east, across to the rocky faces of Jingera

Rock and the forested hills of the Coolangubra in the south, over the village and the cleared lands of the Wyndham valley in the west, and to the Tantawangalo in

the north.

 

Thirdly, the biodiversity of WY is invaluable. Its diverse flora includes temperate rainforest and tall, moist forest eucalypts including species usually found on the

escarpment to the west, such as the brown barrel (Eucalyptus fastigata). WY is home to a wide variety of fauna, including at least ten threatened species –

giant burrowing frogs, potoroos, yellow-bellied gliders, powerful owls, barking owls, sooty owls, glossy black-cockatoos, gang-gang cockatoos, tiger quolls, little

bentwing bats and golden-tipped bats. The lack of tree death in the 2002 -2003 drought highlights this forest’s importance as a refuge for both flora and fauna.

We wonder what small local rural communities have to do to influence government policy when so many years of lobbying and over 400 voices at one

rally seem to be not enough. The NSW Government needs to hear what your response will be should they proceed with their decision to log. What will you do?

We still maintain WY is still worth more locally and nationally, intact, than as a pile of woodchips and a few sawlogs.

 

Please contact the NSW Minister for Forests and the Minister for Environment and Heritage and request permanent protection for Western Yurammie (the

Yurammie Special Prescription Zone Compartments 963 – 967).