Logging has devastated so much of the Central Highlands, to the northeast and east of Melbourne. A strong hold of Mountain Ash forests, the public lands outside the national park estate are logged heavily.
In recent decades this logging has been intense in the northern sections of the Central Highlands, to the east of the well known Cathedral Range, which is popular with bushwalkers and rock climbers. The Blue Range and Royston Range have been heavily logged, causing significant fragmentation of Mountain and Alpine Ash forests. Now logging is being intensified in the Snobs Creek Valley.
Forests Forever Films reports:
‘The Tullip Coupe (288-513-0004) on the flank of Torbreck Mountain and at the headwaters of Snobs Creek Valley is going to be logged this month or next.
We believe it is one of the key sources of water for the Snobs Creek River.
It is a small coupe of about 20? hectares but has AT LEAST six springs and myriad waterways coming out of the ground. The place is riddled with streams but no environmental survey has been done.
Vicforests is keeping it a secret because they know how sensitive the area is.
They cannot possibly log there without harming the springs and myriad streams and an ancient sassafras grove (see picture)’.
Snobs Creek flows into the Goulburn River. There are fears that logging in the upper valley will impact on The Snobs Creek Fish Hatchery near Eildon, which provides fish for over 200 waterways and breeds the threatened Murray cod and the endangered Macquarie perch and trout cod.
Deforestation upstream and the loss of native biodiversity is already causing increases in turbidity in Snobs Creek. Turbidity of water is a major factor in successful fish breeding.
“Highly turbid water makes fish breeding almost impossible” said local Snobs Creek resident Rod Falconer.
Tim Curmi, President of Native Fish Australia Victoria branch, said that turbidity levels have been averaging 2 times higher than the level regarded as being safe. At this rate, the hatchery will find it increasingly difficult to properly function.” he said.
“The clear-fell logging is the main problem. After logging, vast areas of soil are exposed to the elements. Heavy rainfall can wash much of this soil into Snobs Creek via logging infrastructure such as roads and drains. Forestry increases the risk of silting up our waterways.” Mr Falconer added.
“Furthermore, the logging will severely decrease water yield over the coming years. In excess of 1500 ha of the catchment is earmarked to be logged and we fear that lack of rainfall due to climate change and logging will cause massive drops in water volumes coming down Snobs Creek, particularly in drier months of the year. There is a real possibility that if the Andrews Government logging agency are allowed to go ahead with their plans to clear-fell 23 coupes in the catchment (of which 3 have been completed), that during drier summer months, the creek could stop flowing entirely. We are really concerned about our future” Mr Falconer concluded.
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IMAGES: courtesy of FFF.