Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Wingecarribee Leek Orchid - endangered species

In the last two days I have been out searching for the rare and endangered Wingecarribee Leek Orchid (Prasophyllum uroglossum or P. fusca - depending upon which Orchid expert you follow).

((( DJW Edit: I have been advised that this plant is NOT the Wingecarribee Leek Orchid. But it does not appear to have been properly identified, or possibly it has not yet described. Dec 2010.)))

Prasophyllum appendiculatum 
Amended ID

These plants have now been identified by Dr Mark Clements
(CSIRO Centre for Plant Biodiversity Research)
Prasophyllum appendiculatum Nicholls,
Victorian Naturalist 66: 212, f. F-J (1950).
Type: ‘Victoria, Genoa Creek’, 13 Nov.1949, N.A.Wakefield s.n. (holo MEL).

Thanks to Nick Corkish for the advice, 
as of 7 March 2012.

Nick Corkish
Project Officer
Growth Centres Biodiversity Offset Program
Biodiversity Survey & Assessment Section, Metropolitan Branch, 
Office of Environment and Heritage  (NSW)

I am pleased to announce that these rare flowers have been found again - 10 days earlier than last year. They are growing along the edge of Tourist Road, East Kangaloon.

Prasophyllum appendiculatum
They are an endangered species, listed for protection, under the NSW Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995.

In view of the amended ID for these plants
the reference to them being an Endangered Species 
is no longer supported.  
DJW 7 March 2012

Of course, as regular readers know, this is the key area of the Kangaloon Aquifer borefield, where the SCA wants to drill and pump water from, to help "drought proof" Sydney.

Prasophyllum appendiculatum
amended ID.

The risk to these particular plants is at least as much from physical disturbance by trucks and pipelines, as from the draining of the Aquifer. The construction of the bore field will require a lot of construction work, with pipes, power lines and a lot of trucks driving up and down the grassed area, along the edge of Tourist Road, where these plants are growing.

And they are vulnerable because they are all but invisible, camouflaged amongst the grass. This why they have not been recorded as growing here, before - they are very hard to see. (Click on the photo at left, and look just below the typed in marker (WLO !) on that photo.
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Ironically, on the very day when this endangered plant is trying to flower, just down the road the SCA workers are busy putting in a new "test bore". Judging by the size of the high quality stainless steel pipes being used, this one looks like it is destined to become a "production bore", not merely be a test bore.

Of course, this is yet another sign that the SCA is pushing ahead to drain the Kangaloon Aquifer, at the earliest possible opportunity. Meanwhile, the Community Reference Group is still deliberating over what response it should make to the latest Environmental Assessment which has been produced by the SCA's consultants. Yet, the boys are still happily drilling away down there.

It makes a nonsense of community consultation.

Tonight I heard NSW Minister for the Environment speaking eloquently about the issues of conservation, and environmental sustainability to an audience in Wollongong. The main speaker was Dr David Suzuki (and he was great value). But I had great difficulty sitting there listening to Minister Debus, (who is the person charged with responsibility for protecting the endangered Wingecarribee Leek Orchid), knowing full well that his own employees - the SCA people, are today drilling yet another bore, to drain the Kangaloon Aquifer - a process which could seriously threaten the future of the Wingecarribee Leek Orchid and other endangered species of plants - known to be found in the Kangalooon Aquifer area.

It was all I could do to stop from jumping up and calling out - "What about the Kangaloon Aquifer?" - but I knew I would embarrass myself more than Minister Debus.

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