Protect the headwaters of the Kalang river now

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Sign this petition to create a Nature Reserve over Oakes and Roses Creek State Forests, protecting the head waters and tributaries of three important NSW rivers; the Kalang, Bellinger and Nambucca. Creating a wildlife corridor between Baalijin and Juugawaarri Nature Reserves and Gumbaynggirr National Park, ensuring biodiversity and clean water in the rivers for the families downstream.

Recently residents of the Bellingen Shire community were notified that Logging is to commence in the headwaters of the Kalang River, Roses Creek State Forest Compartments 138-140 in May 2017, and Oakes State Forest Compartments 141-144, in January 2018 (more compartments adjacent were announced simultaneously after enquiry by concerned residents to Forestry Corporation NSW)

These mature native forests provide a safety and buffer zone to old growth trees and rain forested areas at the head waters of the Kalang River and its tributaries, filtration to the river system, as well as habitat for a myriad of threatened and endangered flora and fauna such as Porsonsia dorigoensis, Koalas, Brush tailed phascogale, Rufous scrub bird, Glossy black cockatoo, Giant spiky crayfish, Giant barred frog, Sphagnum frog and many more. Logging in this steep fragile environment with a high annual rainfall will inevitably, as it has historically, result in heavy run off and sedimentation of the pristine Roses Creek and the Kalang River. This increased turbidity and associated sedimentation reduces water flows through siltation and smothers aquatic flora and fauna. It is detrimental to aquatic crustaceans, invertebrates, eels and fish including the larvae and crayfish that platypus feed on in the Kalang River system.

Environment groups, community members, businesses and the residents of the Kalang valley, some of whom rely on the river’s clean water for drinking, cooking and the watering of organic crops and stock are united in their goal to have these areas so vital to preserving a healthy water supply protected from an inevitable damage.

 In 1992 a Department of Land and Water Conservation (DLWC) report found the Forestry Commission and its contractors had repeatedly breached soil-erosion control guidelines, creating several major landslips on Catbird Road in Oakes State Forest. DLWC estimated that over 88,000 tonnes of soil had been mobilised towards the headwaters of the Bellinger River near Mt Killiekrankie on the NSW Mid North Coast.  In places, whole sections of land and vegetation moved en masse as the foundation rocks sheared. The river's tributary creeks downslope of roadworks and logging operations were choked with spoil and rubble six feet deep in places. Downstream the creeks ran red with sediments. Evidence of this is still visible today. 

There is not necessarily any more protection from Forestry Corporation NSW breaches with modern equipment, as in February 2015 the community was horrified by a botched logging operation at Tuckers Nob followed by a high rainfall event which saw serious erosion again on a large scale resulting in 180,000 tonnes of soil being dumped into the Never Never River Catchment (Bellingen Shire) for which Forestry Corporation was fined a mere $15,000.  The public has lost faith in the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to monitor and regulate continual and serious breaches by FC NSW.

 The steep terrain and tone of the proposed logging operation in Oakes and Roses Creek SF, is again setting the scene for another possible mass erosion event.

The Chairperson of the Bellingen Environment Centre (BEC) Ashley Love commented that, “Since the recent changes by the NSW Government to the Biodiversity laws including Land Clearing, Forestry Corporation is now able to log on steeper slopes, and buffer zones to fourth order streams have now been halved to get to the big, old trees so vital to our threatened species. Extensive forests of big trees are the seed banks for making rain and we need greater protection for our waterways, not less.”

The proposed logging by Forestry Corporation in the Headwaters of the Kalang River (Rose’s Creek State Forest Compartments 138-140 and Oakes State Forest Cpts 141-144) is inconsistent with the protection and conservation of forest values, water quality, water quantity, guaranteed biodiversity and carbon storage required by the Bellingen community.

We therefore call on the NSW Government to create a Nature Reserve over Oakes and Roses Creek State Forests to protect the head waters and tributaries of the Kalang, Bellinger and Nambucca rivers in perpetuity.