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Environment, news, culture from the Australian Alps

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Kosciuszko National Park

A quick look at the Kosciuszko National Park Plan of Management

In 2021, the New South Wales government released its 40-year plan to turn the Snowy Mountains into a ‘year-round tourist destination’. There were two aspects to these plans – a draft Special Activation Precinct plan, which outlined options for future growth in and around Jindabyne, and proposed amendments to the Kosciuszko National Park Plan of Management (background available here).

The Park Plan proposed substantial new developments within the Kosciuszko National Park. Environmental groups expressed strong opposition to many of the plans outlined in the document. The NSW National Parks Association described the plan as ‘reckless proposals (which would) overturn more than 40 years of careful planning and management of the park.” 

Now, the final Kosciuszko National Park Amendment to the Plan of Management Snowy Mountains Special Activation Precinct has been released (available here).

Continue reading “A quick look at the Kosciuszko National Park Plan of Management”

‘Feral horse removals in Kosciuszko must ramp-up significantly’

There has been a long struggle to get feral horse numbers managed properly across the mountains of south eastern Australia. The ACT, NSW and Victoria all manage the issue differently, but in NSW the need to manage numbers of feral animals has been caught up in a culture war narrative that has slowed and blocked meaningful action for many years.

The recent release of feral horse removal data for Kosciuszko National Park since February 2022 has highlighted the need to significantly increase removal efforts to protect one of Australia’s most important national parks.

Continue reading “‘Feral horse removals in Kosciuszko must ramp-up significantly’”

Alpine plants are on the move

We know that climate change poses an existential threat to the mountains that we know and love.

A new study, looking at 36 species of alpine plants, looks at one aspect of the changes that are already underway. It shows that ‘elevational shifts’ are occurring rapidly in the Australian alpine zone. Plants are moving higher (a number are also moving downslope) to find optimal conditions to grow. The authors of the report Alpine plants are on the move: Quantifying distribution shifts of Australian alpine plants through time say that ‘this may allow species to persist under climate change. However, if current warming trends continue, several species within the Australian alpine zone will likely run out of suitable habitat within a century’.

Continue reading “Alpine plants are on the move”

Launch of ‘Where the Water Starts’

The film Where The Water Starts aims to reveal how the fragile alpine region of the Snowy Mountains, particularly Kosciuszko National Park, is seen by a number of Indigenous and non-Indigenous people who were born or live in the southern mountains area, or who care deeply about it.

The launch of this important film will happen on Thursday October 28th at 6.30pm followed by Q&A with

  • Richard Swain, Indigenous Ambassador with the Invasive Species Council,
  • Professor David Watson, Environmental Scientist, and
  • the filmmakers, Mandy King & Fabio Cavadini

Continue reading “Launch of ‘Where the Water Starts’”

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.

Continue reading “Kosciuszko National Park Wild Horse management plan released”

Major cost blow out in Snowy Hydro 2.0 scheme

The proposal to build Snowy Hydro 2.0 to strengthen capacity for energy storage seemed like a good idea at first. But as the details of the project emerged, especially the likely direct physical footprint of the project, more and more people and groups started to oppose it. (Background stories on the issue are available here).

After the release of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) the NSW National Parks Association said that the plan ‘proposes a completely unacceptable level of damage to Kosciusko National Park’.

However the federal government continues to pursue the proposal. The project received all approvals and is now being constructed.

Now it has emerged that there has been a significant cost blow out in the project, related to one of the major transmission links that is key to deliver its storage services to the rest of the grid.

A new report suggests different that different grid routes could be considered to either save costs, or increase benefits, including a new connection point that will reduce the environment impact on the national park.

Continue reading “Major cost blow out in Snowy Hydro 2.0 scheme”

NSW National Parks Association and Nature Conservation Council launch campaign against ‘massive’ commercial development in Kosciuszko National Park.

The NSW National Parks Association and the Nature Conservation Council have launched a campaign to stop a massive intensification of commercial development within Kosciuszko National Park.

The NSW Government is proposing to increase the cap on resort beds by more than 40% (up from 10,915 to 15,360), build new and expanded carparks, allow helicopter flights onto the ski fields, and open walking tracks to four-wheel drive vehicles.

“These reckless proposals overturn more than 40 years of careful planning and management of the park,” NSW National Parks Association Executive Officer Gary Dunnett said.

Continue reading “NSW National Parks Association and Nature Conservation Council launch campaign against ‘massive’ commercial development in Kosciuszko National Park.”

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.

Continue reading “Traditional owners concerned with plan to dump spoil in Kosciuszko National Park”

14 million cubic metres of spoil to be dumped in Kosciuszko National Park

The proposal to build Snowy Hydro 2.0 to strengthen capacity for energy storage seemed like a good idea at first. But as the details of the project emerged, especially the likely direct physical footprint of the project, more and more people and groups started to oppose it. (Background stories on the issue are available here).

After the release of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) the NSW National Parks Association said that the plan ‘proposes a completely unacceptable level of damage to Kosciusko National Park’.

The project received approvals and is now being constructed. However documents tabled in the NSW Legislative Council reveal that the NSW Government will only receive $1.65 million from Snowy Hydro Ltd for the dumping of 14 million cubic metres of spoil in Kosciuszko National Park.

So, a large section of the Kosciuszko National Park (fifty-five hectares) will be impacted by the dumped waste, yet the NSW Government will receive barely 1/1000th of commercial waste disposal rates.

Continue reading “14 million cubic metres of spoil to be dumped in Kosciuszko National Park”

Major new developments planned for Kosciuszko National Park

The New South Wales government has released its 40-year plan to turn the Snowy Mountains into a ‘year-round tourist destination’. The draft Special Activation Precinct plan outlines options for future growth in and around Jindabyne.

The public is encouraged to submit feedback on the draft plan by mid-August. Amendments to the Kosciuszko National Park Plan of Management have also been released for public feedback. This proposes substantial new developments within the Kosciuszko National Park. It is also open for public comment.

Continue reading “Major new developments planned for Kosciuszko National Park”

Post fire recovery in Kosciuszko National Park

Since the fires of last summer there has been a lot of conservation recovery and rehabilitation work carried out in and around Kosciuszko National Park. Recently the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) hosted an update on the work that has been done, through a forum called Conservation in Action, which was held in Tumut.

As we know, a lot of Kosciuszko National Park was heavily impacted by the fires. Dan Nicholls, from the NPWS gave an outline of some of the work carried out since then, which includes:

Continue reading “Post fire recovery in Kosciuszko National Park”

Subalpine forests struggle to recover after 2019-20 bushfires

The Bushfire Recovery Project, led by five scientists, is tracking forest regrowth in NSW and Victoria after last summer’s fires, using data gathered by citizen scientists.

Their report has found that while low elevation forests on the NSW south coast appear to be recovering well, forests in some subalpine areas ‘near Mount Kosciuszko and in Victoria’s East Gippsland region are struggling to recover from the 2019-20 bushfires’.

This is consistent with everything we already know about the impact of climate driven fire seasons on the higher elevation Alpine Ash forests and Snow Gum woodlands.

Continue reading “Subalpine forests struggle to recover after 2019-20 bushfires”

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