Snowy 2.0 doesn’t stack up

Gary Dunnett, Executive Officer, National Parks Association of NSW

In Australia the Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric Scheme stands head and shoulders above every other nation building project, with the possible exceptions of the Harbour Bridge and Opera House. It shouldn’t be any surprise that, back in 2017, Prime Minister Turnbull responded to Snowy Hydro’s pitch by proudly announcing the ‘electricity game-changer’ Snowy 2.0 project. Virtually no environmental impact, just dig a tunnel and build an underground power station and what you get is massive storage to counteract the Achilles heel of renewable generators, intermittency. A wonderful new chapter in the nation building saga of the Snowies.

How private conservation is assisting our burnt bush

Sharon Fulcher, Owner of Two Rivers Catchment Reserve

This a story of devastating fires. Fires that have impacted personal life, communities and our natural environment, the silent casualties – plants and animals.

Crowdy Bay Bush Regen Site Devastated by Fire

Sue Baker, Mid North Coast Branch

This time last year we were celebrating 40 years of bush regeneration work by the Mid North Coast Branch at Crowdy Bay. In December 2019 the area was hit by devastating fires, which also destroyed the new hut facilities at Kylie’s Beach. There is, however, good to come from the ashes. This year’s bush regen camp will be able to make a strong impact on previously difficult to access weed infestations.

The following article first appeared in the Mod North Coast Branch newsletter. This version has additions from Sue Baker.

The bits that didn’t burn -NSW’s unburnt parks as biodiversity arks

Gary Dunnett, Executive Officer, National Parks Association of NSW

Fire has played a central role in human history, an essential part of the tool kit that enabled a naked ape to spread across the globe. We are all linked by our individual experiences of fire, from an infant’s wonder to the shared pleasure of sitting around a campfire. Fire has influenced human history far beyond our individual experiences. In Australia, more so than anywhere else in the world, fire has shaped the landscape, vegetation communities and species. The arrival of humanity on this continent coincided with a sharp increase in fire frequency and a broad trend towards more fire tolerant vegetation types.

Smokescreen

Ian Brown, Environmental consultant and former national park manager (6 December 2019)

Note: an earlier version of this article first appeared in the Colong Bulletin no. 277, December 2019

As I write (on 6 December), fires in the north and south of the Blue Mountains are merging into mega-fires, driven by severe dryness, strong winds and parched air. Forty per cent of the million-hectare Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area has burnt so far. Millions of people are smothering in smoke. North-eastern NSW has already seen devastation. The NSW toll stands at six lives, more than 500 houses and over two million hectares. Already. Numerous wilderness areas and conservation reserves have been impacted, with many national parks burnt completely. Key koala populations have been decimated and ancient rainforests burnt (at least their edges and at ground level). There is no doubt this is the biggest fire season in the recorded (white) history of the state. And it will get worse before it rains.

Blue Mountains World Heritage and Bushfire

Roger Lembit, Ecologist

The National Parks of the Blue Mountains, which form the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area, have been the site of extensive and unprecedented bushfires, which have raised concern internationally about the status of these parks.