I read/scanned the report last night. Just in case someone is aiming to spend serious time on this I offer some possibly significant points …
1. As FOG say, they plan to offer 37 hectares of the land on the other side of Mugga Lane as the offset, to balance out the 9.8 hectares identified as ‘White Box-Yellow Box-Blakely's Red Gum Grassy Woodland and Derived Native Grassland’ that will be eaten up by the expansion. This is supposed to represent a ratio of 3.8:1 (3.8 offset to one affected area), but this 9.8 hectares is only part of the approx 36 or 60 hectares to be used in the expansion (depending on which part of the report you read). So the offset is only 60% or 100% of the actual land to be taken over under the proposed expansion, not 380% as suggested by a superficial reading. They argue there is no impact on the other 25- 50 hectares … low quality, so nothing to compensate for.
The report mentions other estimates to suggest there is actually 12 hectares of WBYBBRGGW involved, while yet another part mentions 8.2ha.
“The northern half of Area 5 contains approximately 12 ha of ACT Yellow Box-Red
Gum Grassy Woodland which is an endangered ecological community. This could
present a significant constraint to the use of this part of this area”.
“The referral was based on the proposed action being likely to result in the removal of 8.2ha of Box-Gum Woodland which may have a significant impact on a listed Critically Endangered Ecological Community”.
The point might be that the issue is confused and the areas under consideration don’t seem to be well characterised.
2. The provision of the offset may not be certain since rezoning of the offset area has been separated out from the rezoning needed for the development.
“However, the Commonwealth have not fully considered the proposed offset
area at this stage. For that reason, the rezoning of the offset area is to be subject to a
separate variation to the Territory Plan.”
Though it doesn’t seem likely, this implies there is a finite risk that the offset never occurs at all.
3. The offset land is to be an extension to Isaacs Ridge NR, but lies almost entirely within the existing Landscape Buffer zone of 500m around the existing tip perimeter. Very little development could have occurred there anyway, and you have to question the usefulness of the proposed offset. i.e. what is the environment getting that it would not get anyway?
On the other hand it would be a positive outcome to get that land incorporated into Canberra Nature Park, though I think the area should be greater, especially since the proposed offset area is actually smaller than the area of the proposed new development.
4. On the east side, the existing Mugga tip boundary is about 500m from Canberra Nature Park (Barron Woodlands or Jerrabomberra Woodlands, whatever it is actually called). The existing Landscape Buffer (the buffer area around the tip) extends to almost exactly the reserve boundary, as you’d think it should since it is designed to keep smells and wind-borne particulate matter out of ‘sensitive areas’, which I would say CNP is. I guess this might have determined the original boundary of CNP at that point. But under the proposal the new tip boundary will be less than 200m from CNP and the buffer zone will then overlap a significant area of good quality bush inside CNP (roughly 10 ha). Should this loss of buffer be ‘offset’ as well? I say it should, particularly since it covers the best bit of bush in the reserve.
(By good quality bush I mean it is good bird and animal habitat, not necessarily the most original WBYBBRGGW. This small area is the best I’ve found in the whole Callum Brae/Jerra Grasslands/Jerra Woodland reserve. This area hosted the last two Wedge-tailed Eagle nests in the area that I knew about, surely they won’t remain when the tip activity moves to within a couple of hundred metres. The older nests in the northern part of Callum Brae/Quarry haven’t been used for a few seasons, it seems the eagles have been forced south by increasing activity (us) and now will be forced to move yet again).
From: Tony Lawson [
Sent: Tuesday, 25 June 2013 16:32
To: COG chatline
Subject: [canberrabirds] Expanding Mugga Lane Tip
FOG did a submission on this proposal to expand the tip. This is what our advocacy co-ordinator had to say:
Isn’t this the EPBC referral FOG did a while ago – the one where we did a tour of the area (and the offset site)? I suspect that it is, and that the media report is not very good, e.g. they’ve called it “endangered box-woodland” whereas in fact it is low quality box-gum woodland – some old trees but mostly exotic understorey with a couple of patches of some native understorey.
The offset block is across the road – they’ve already started remedial work and it is to be added to Canberra Nature Park.
The link to our submissions on this are at http://www.fog.org.au/Submissions/20121204.htm and http://www.fog.org.au/Submissions/20130306.htm.
I read the report up on the ABC news internet site, and thought that it was probably this referral but very badly reported.
(FOG Advocacy Co-ordinator)
In addition I note that the area identified for offsets over the road contains old mature trees.
I also think that the reference to ridgelines is a more general reference to the Canberra Nature Park system, not to this particular offset site. It is probably an attempt to say that there is plenty of this threatened/endangered woodland in the Reserve system.
Sent: Monday, June 24, 2013 6:40 PM
Subject: RE: [canberrabirds] News
Like Margaret I’m baffled by this whole thing. Does the term “endangered box-woodland” actually mean anything if you are allowed to destroy it? A little bit here and a little bit there and before long, hey presto we don’t have any left so we don’t need to worry about conserving it. To say they will conserve a bigger area on ridges, where a hell of a lot of the ACT’s nature reserves are already situated is defeating the purpose of declaring the box- gum woodlands on the lowlands which is what the area around the Mugga tip is. I find the whole scenario of so-called “offsets” similar to something that comes out the rear end of a male bovine!
I had seen reference to this before but thanks to Chris Hastir for bringing it to our attention.
1. This doesn’t tell us much about where they are going to clear from.
2. It doesn’t tell us where they are going to develop the additional bushland.
3. It doesn’t explain how they will create old trees with hollow branches in a newly planted stand of replacement trees.
4. The map was useless. It is just a Google map with a pointer halfway between Tharwa and Corin Dam.
Does anyone know contact details of the Project manager so that one might seek answers to these questions?
Push to expand Mugga Lane tip – from ABC Website
The ACT Government says about 10 hectares of endangered box-gum woodland will need to be cleared in order to expand Canberra's Mugga Lane tip.
A proposal to expand the tip by 37 hectares is in its final stages of approval.
It would cater for Canberra's waste disposal needs for another 30 years but could affect nearby woodlands.
Project manager David Roberts says part of the project would involve developing a larger woodland for endangered species.
"A rarer type of woodland in the current nature reserve system which is mostly on the ridges and therefore quite attractive. It's three-times the size," he said.
"It needs a little bit of management, which we're prepared to do in terms of managing woodland and controlling feral animals, but we think that once we've done that it'll be a far better fit for the nature reserve."
ACT No Waste director Chris Ware says the Territory is also on track to reach a 90 per cent recycling target over that time.
"There comes a point in time when some materials we generate just can't be recycled," he said.
"Asbestos is certainly a big one, there'll always be some of that, that you can't do anything with."
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