Monday, November 30, 2009

logging our water catchments, it’s still going on

Recently a concerned local resident from Upwey organised Sounds of Change, an environmental awareness raising day at Earthly Pleasures Café in Belgrave. Around 50 people came to hear local artists and speakers.

I, along with Chris Taylor and Keith Sarah of Warburton Environment, talked about logging of Melbourne’s Water Catchments from our various perspectives.

I talked about the motion supported by the Shire of Yarra Ranges council in late 2007 to oppose logging in our water catchments.

“That Council supports a public statement opposing logging of water catchments in Yarra Ranges, and further that Council also makes representation to the Premier, the Minister of Environment and Minister of Water, and I propose that the statement is:

The Shire of Yarra Ranges does not support logging in water catchments.

Council recognises that:

1. Logging has a dramatic and detrimental effect on water yield in catchments.
2. Young re-growth trees need more water to grow thus releasing less water into catchments.
3. Logging reduces stream flow and yields to water catchments.
4. It takes 150 years for water yields to return to their pre logged status.
5. It is poor water policy to continue to log our water catchments.
6. Logging of water catchments adversely affects water quality through increasing sediment as does road construction through logging coupes.

We urge the government to consider a policy of no logging in water catchments.”

Yarra Ranges has the privilege of containing 51% of Melbourne’s water catchments and logging them continues to put Melbourne’s water supply at risk. After Yarra Ranges supported that motion in 2007, 14 other municipalities supported our position throughout 2008. This is an issue I have long been concerned about, click here for a speech I made at a rally in Warburton pre logging season last year.

Post 2009 bushfires, the forest in the burnt areas of our water catchments is in a far more fragile state. The best thing for Melbourne’s water supplies, fauna and flora would be to let the forest naturally regenerate however salvage logging is going on at an alarming rate in our water catchments right now.

I have recently heard that these salvage logging operations are creating fires and it has been determined that logging operations in these regions must stop by midday each day to mitigate the risk of bushfire.

Our communities are at risk of fire by salvage logging operations, already they are stressed by logging trucks continually passing through their townships and now they have the added concern of fire from salvage logging. No longer can we continue to put at risk our water supply and our endangered species. The time has come to close Melbourne’s precious water catchments to logging.

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