Masked, Powerful, Sooty and Barking Owl Habitat Trashed in Lake Macquari

Subject: Masked, Powerful, Sooty and Barking Owl Habitat Trashed in Lake Macquarie
Date: Sat, 20 Jun 2009 13:29:09 +1000 (EST)
Hi all,

Yet more bad news from the Lake Macquarie area for those of us interested
in forest owls, large and small.  Another open cut and auger mine proposal
is threatening remaining tracts of bushland in the region, but in the
meantime a 4km road has been ripped through a crucial green corridor
supporting owl habitat in the area.

An area of bushland identified by independent scientists such as Mick
Todd, and even a few "ecological consultants", plus the Department of
Conservation and Climate Change in NSW, as being part of important large
forest owl habitat has been destroyed and fragmented by construction of
yet another coal haul road facilitating coal export infrastructure in the

The road cuts through a significant section of bushland that will be
familiar to all those who've had the fortune to have taken a wander
through the area, perhaps chasing a rare sighting of male Masked Owls
engaging in their fascinating courtship flights and so on. Amazingly, one
group of ecological consultants who worked on the assessments also called
in a Barking Owl which I think to be a very rare record for the area, but
further testimony to why it was and still is considered important and
worthy of conservation.

On a more troubling note, what I would like to bring everyone's attention
to as well is the way that public scrutiny of these sorts of actions is at
increasing risk of being shut down: anyone interested might have a look at
some of the documents supporting the company's referral under the
Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act. The link is

and tiny url

The Government in their wisdom decided that the proposal was not a
controlled action, so the destruction of bushland was not illegal, and of
course the matter of owl habitat could not be considered under the EPBC
Act as they are not federally listed species under that legislation. But
... although birders may not be interested in the threatened flora
assessment they might be interested in the disclaimer in that report which

"This report is the property of  [insert name of proponent/mining company]
and must not be referenced or reproduced without permission"

If the public is unable to reference any report that is submitted as part
of a public development application and approvals process without
permission we are in serious trouble if any credible scientist or
consultant or interested member of the public wishes to investigate and
legitimately challenge aspects of such reports.

Go check it all out on line though as I can't actually take the legal risk
of naming the reports in this email. Thoughts and discussion welcome in
the interests of birds and conservation.




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