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

Subject: Masked, Powerful, Sooty and Barking Owl Habitat Trashed in Lake Macquarie
Date: Mon, 22 Jun 2009 13:27:41 +1000 (EST)
Thanks for the comments about this matter, and I thought it worthwhile for
the record to make sure that the central issue in this specific case was
pinged again: this area has over the years clearly sustained varying
populations of all four large forest owls (and of course Barn & Boobooks).
The few people "on the ground" in the area who know about these things
have been pushing hard to publicise the presence of this suite of owls as
part of more broadscale arguments favouring actions that faciliate

That this coal haul road construction has been able to get through all the
various loopholes involved in NSW Governmental policy and threatened
species legislation while the area has had a "pending" decision on
reserves and conservation management under the Lower Hunter Regional
Conservation Strategy seems utterly incredible to this observer.

Anyone with contacts to DECC NSW or Threatened Species Networks, please
forward my emails as you see fit. Big hi to Steve Debus and Rod Kavanagh
if they still lurk somewhere online! And to Mick Todd as well who should
know about what they have done to his old stomping ground.



> 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
> area.
> 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
> here:-
> 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
> states:
> "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.
> cheers
> Craig
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