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Mountain Journal

Environment, news, culture from the Australian Alps

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feral species

Kosciuszko National Park Wild Horse management plan released

The long awaited draft Kosciuszko National Park Wild Horse Heritage Management Plan was released today. A wild horse management plan was attempted in 2016 but NSW Nationals leader John Barilaro opposed the plan and prevented it from being implemented. Instead, in 2018 he introduced the Wild Horse Heritage Act, which protects the brumbies.

The draft plan has been released for public comment until November. Compared with previous management plans, it does provide a breakthrough in that it has an emphasis on horse removal from certain areas, but it also allows for the retention of 3,000 horses in the park. In an ecological sense this is clearly unacceptable.

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Traditional owners concerned with plan to dump spoil in Kosciuszko National Park

Threats to the Snowy Mountains continue: Amendments to the Kosciuszko National Park Plan of Management have been published for public feedback, which set out the ‘desired changes’ to the area over the next 40 years (the submission timeline has now closed).

If approved, the plan would see a huge amount of development, including several thousand extra beds in resorts and new areas, occurring within this precious and fragile alpine park.

Meanwhile, Snowy Hydro pushes ahead with its plan to excavate approximately seven million cubic metres of earth for the project’s tunnels and subterranean power station.

That spoil will then be dumped on 55 hectares across four sites within Kosciuszko National Park.

Now a Traditional Owner representing the Ngarigo Nation in southern New South Wales says she has received no consultation about a plan to dump tonnes of waste spoil on her Country.

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Parks Victoria releases feral horse action plan for comment

Parks Victoria (PV) have released an updated draft action plan outlining feral horse management intentions over the next ten years.

You have until Friday 23 April to provide comment on the plan.

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Where the Water Starts

Richard Swain loves the bush and wildlife of the southern ranges of New South Wales, where he was born. Richard’s deep connection to country and skill as a river guide led him and his partner, Alison to set up Alpine River Adventures. A successful business is now threatened by low water levels in the Snowy River. They both consider climate change is impacting the environment they love.

Where the Water starts is a film that explores connection to place and the impacts of climate change and feral animals on the Snowy Mountains.

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A new year. The old threats continue.

Well, we’re on the other side of New Year. Phew. I hope that you’re enjoying some good mountain time over summer and getting a recharge. There’s lots to do this year.

There are a range of environmental issues that have been bubbling away over the last year, and each of them have campaigns which could use some extra support if you have the time or resources. Here’s a sample of what’s going on. 

Continue reading “A new year. The old threats continue.”

2020. It’s been fun. Let’s move on.

Wow. What a year. Crazy summer fires. Covid lockdowns. Terrible winter snow pack, but also some incredible snow storms. Lots of fighting over our mountains, including the endless culture war argument about horses. Kind of glad it’s almost at an end.

We all know the story: a dry winter and spring led to a horror summer, with massive fires across the eastern Victorian high countrySnowy Mountains and Brindabellas. Luckily Tasmania got off easy last summer.

Then the lockdown(s), which hit mountain and valley towns in Victoria especially hard, isolated Tasmania, and closed the NSW/ Victorian border. The economic impacts of these events will last for a long time.

And then there were the ongoing arguments about how to treat our mountains. It felt like issues were widespread this year. Here’s a few of them:

Continue reading “2020. It’s been fun. Let’s move on.”

What does the Victorian budget provide for mountain environments?

We know that the mountains we love face an existential threat from climate change: less snow, more fire, less streamflow are all starting to transform vegetation communities and the look and feel of mountain environments.

The Victorian state government released it’s budget for 2020/21 yesterday. Apart from the welcome climate and energy measures (which will help the state to play its part in reducing its contribution to further climate change), there are a number of allocations that are relevant to mountain environments.

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Namadgi feral horse plan released

Wild horses pose a major threat to the Australian High Country. One of the dilemmas faced by land managers is that horse populations can cross borders to recolonise ecosystems if populations are removed in one state. Cross border collaboration between Victoria, NSW and the ACT is a key part of dealing with the problem.

The ACT Government has sent a strong message to its NSW and Victorian counterparts with the release of the Feral Horse Management Plan for Namadgi national park, which was devastated in last summer’s fires.

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Feral deer moving into World Heritage Parks in Tasmania

Australia has enormous problems with large invasive species like feral pigs, horses and deer. These species have negatively impacted huge sections of the continent. Yet self interest sometimes over rides the need to remove these populations. For instance, hunters sometimes argue that animals like deer should be left in wild places like national parks to allow continued hunting. And there is a huge campaign to see feral horse populations retained in the Australian Alps on spurious ‘cultural’ grounds.

Public debate has focused strongly on wild horse populations over the past few years. The threat poised by deer in lutruwita/ Tasmania is set to become a major public issue as the size of the feral deer population becomes clear. It is obvious that deer are moving into new habitats, and will bring enormous ecological impacts as they do so.

Continue reading “Feral deer moving into World Heritage Parks in Tasmania”

‘Deputy premier’s attack on NSW parks service condemned’

As the long debate over management of wild horse populations continues, the NSW deputy premier John Barilaro has launched an extraordinary attack on the state’s National Parks and Wildlife Service and NSW environment minister Matt Kean.

Campaign group Reclaim Kosci has condemned the comments and says that there is a risk that the public debate could be reduced to a ‘slanging match on talkback radio’ rather than a mature, policy focused conversation.

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Court clears way for Kosciuszko post-bushfire horse removal

A hearing is taking place this morning, Thursday 9 July, in the NSW Land and Environment Court regarding the management of feral horses in Kosciuszko National Park.

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Poll shows Eden-Monaro voters want action on feral horses

A new poll of Eden-Monaro voters released today has found that most people want feral horses removed from Kosciuszko National Park, where horse numbers have tripled in the past five years.

Ahead of the July 4 by-election, an independent poll asked 643 Eden-Monaro voters what should be done about feral horses, which are devastating Kosciuszko National Park’s unique plants and animals and destroying its once pristine waterways.

Continue reading “Poll shows Eden-Monaro voters want action on feral horses”

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