Today I learnt that the SCA has just slashed the open grassland areas along Tourist Road. Sure, these areas have been slashed on a regular basis, but to do it in the first weeks of Spring is outright environmental vandalism.
Right when the community has had its last chance to "comment" on the proposal to drain the Kangaloon Aquifer, they have gone ahead and prepared Tourist Road for clearing, as if it is a deliberate bare earth policy, so that there will be no obstacle to them hacking their way along the length of Tourist Road, to lay pipes down, or to put up power lines along that road, to power their bores and pumps. It is totally pre-emptive of any last vestige of consultation.
That patch of land is home to literally millions of small "perennial" plants, little native plants such as Ground Orchids, which nearly all flower in spring. By slashing now, the SCA will very likely have chopped off the flower heads of these plants, preventing them from flowering this Spring, and importantly, preventing these plants from setting seed this year, in order to try and keep on perpetuationg their species.
This is an absolutely barbaric, insensitive, stupid and ignorant act on the part of the Government body which is charged with management of this area.
(amended ID by Mark Clements in 2012)
An appointment has been booked with the Endangered Species Officer of the NPWS to visit Tourist Road in mid-October, to join in a search for the Wingecarribee Leek Orchid. (An ID as Prasophyllum appendiculatum was received on 7 March 2012) Well, after today's news, that will be almost certainly a futile exercise. The chances of this plant flowering this year are miniscule.
*****The SCA has been aware of the presence of several Threatened Species along this section of Tourist Road. That has been made clear to them throughout the "consultative process". Yet they went ahead and slashed the area anyway.
This is NOT justifiable as a reasonable bushfire prevention act. That would have been appropriate in the depth of winter, when there are no plants flowering in the area. But that would not do for the SCA. No!
They have been so totally stupid as to slash the area right at the critical growth period for the millions of small flowering plants. Short of actually bulldozing the area, they could not have chosen a more damaging action to take.
It is environmental vandalism.