Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Monday, March 10, 2008

A visit to Stockyard Swamp

Today John Ross and Donna Sowry from the Sydney Catchment Authority took several of us to see Stockyard Swamp. This was a long-promised tour of the most sensitive area on the Upper Nepean Borefield.
Part of Stockyard Swamp - "perched swamp"
A sedge/rush complex primarily.
I have not taken many photographs, as I sensed that it would not have been welcomed by the SCA if I took lots of photos to "use against them".
Powerline easement - looking east, from near Stockyard Swamp.
Slashed heathland.
In fairness, I would have to report that John Ross gave us a fairly straight run-down on the bores and pumping results to date, out near Stockyard Swamp. This pumping continued to late January 2008. This is much later than the main pumping which occurred along Tourist Road. This pumping was intended to be a second stage trial after the first trial pumping was "deemed a success" (their words, not mine). The SCA also considered this pumping trial was necessary to establish the potential damage (if any) to Stockyard Swamp which the environmental consultants (SMEC) had originally identified as the area on the borefield which was the most sensitive to disturbance by pumping of groundwater.
Powerline easement, looking back past Tourist Road
The ridge on the Moresby Hill area is visible.
Naturally we asked some pointed questions about the effects of "drawdowns" from bores on the local vegetation. John Ross was of the opinion that the pumping would have no effect on the vegetation, and more generally on the environment.

Naturally, I am not inclined to support that view, coming to the issue as a naturalist. To me it is obvious that water is the very essence of this environment, and to take out large volumes of groundwater must surely compromise this environment. Such issues are not subject to "human" assessments as to whether or not there is water "to spare" here. This is not a "equity" issue - it is a matter of how the local environment is mean to work. You cannot look at it and decided that it has more water than it needs or is "fair". Such concepts are simply not appropriate.

We understand that the SCA's Environment Assessment will be available for public comment in April.

Here is a photo looking back towards the top of Mount Murray. It serves to show how close this borefield is to settled areas around Robertson. Click on the photo to enlarge it.

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